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Over 3 calories per minute, but less than 4 calories per minute, is about the maximum number of calories you can burn with Hatha yoga, according to a study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
These calorie-burning poses are:
- The backbend Bow Pose, Upward Wheel or Dhanurasana
- An intermediate variation of the inversion Plow Pose or Halasana II
- The series Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar
Burn 3.03 Calories per Minute with Dhanurasana
Bow pose, also known as upward wheel or dhanurasana, is one of the 3 yoga poses that burn the most calories per minute. This Hatha backbend asana burns approximately 3.03 per minute.
Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha (APMB) recommends repeating Bow Pose 3 to 5 times and holding the pose for “as long as is comfortable.” If you repeat Bow Pose 5 times and hold it for 1 minute each time, about 10 to 12 breaths, you would achieve approximately 15 yoga calories burned.
Contraindications for Bow Pose, as stated in APMB, include, but may not be limited to:
- a weak heart
- a hernia
Burn 3.05 Calories per Minute with Plow Pose II
The plow pose variation hands-to-toes, also known as halasana II, is a Hatha yoga inversion pose that is one of the 3 yoga poses that burn the most calories per minute. This Hatha inversion burns approximately 3.05 calories per minute.
To perform this version of plow pose, first, master a stable and strong halasana pose. Then reach your hands back to grasp your toes, instead of using your them to support your back.
AMPB recommends yoga beginners perform Halasana II for 15 seconds to 1 minute, while intermediate and advanced level yoga practitioners can hold this pose for 10 minutes or more. Achieve 10 yoga calories burned for every 3.5 minutes you hold this version of the plow pose.
Contraindications for Halasana II, as stated in APMB, include but may not be limited to:
- high blood pressure
- arthritis of the neck
Burn 3.79 Calories per Minute with Surya Namaskar
The yoga series Sun Salutation, or Surya Namaskar, burns 3.79 calories per minute or 13.9 calories per round. What is Surya Namaskar? Surya namaskar is a series of 12 Hatha yoga poses done in rhythmic sequence and in sync with your breath.
Beginners. To burn 55 calories, complete 4 rounds.
Intermediate / Advanced. To burn between 83 to 139 calories, complete 6 to 10 rounds
Contraindications for Surya Namaskar, as stated in APMB, include but may not be limited to:
- being pregnant for 12 weeks or more
- back conditions
- coronary artery diseases
*As a general rule, people who weigh more burn more calories during a given exercise than people who weigh less. Therefore, your calories burned may vary.
References for 3 Hatha Yoga Poses that Burn the Most Calories
1. Ray, U. S., Pathak, A., & Tomer, O. S. (2011). Hatha yoga practices: Energy expenditure, respiratory changes, and intensity of exercise. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2011, 1–12.
2. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology; Energy Cost and Cardiorespiratory Changes During the Practice of Surya Namaskar; B. Sinha, et al.
3. Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, by Swami Satyananda Saraswati.