The simple truth is that multiple studies have shown that yoga reduces base metabolism. But is that all the truth? On the flip side, almost every study done on weight loss has shown that yoga is effective for weight management. That is probably the key feature you have been searching for. But what does this mixed data suggest?
Overall, yoga is a low intensity exercise. No, this doesn’t mean it is an easy exercise, but it does mean that the heart rate doesn’t get as high as in many traditional exercises. Most studies have determined that the highest heart rate tends to be that of a brisk walk. (One exception to this was found by practitioners practicing Surya Namaskar wearing heart rate monitors; however, they were told to exercise up to a particular heart rate range vs. seeing the heart rate range while doing yoga already planned.) This also means it is burning less calories than you think.
Yoga is keeping the heart rate low, but gaining flexibility and strength. Yoga has also been proven to be extremely efficient at reducing lipids in the blood stream (for diabetes) and blood pressure. Lots of good benefits!
Some studies studying weight loss have suggested that yoga helps to manage the appetite as well. Unlike other exercises where people want to go and eat a lot of calories afterwards, with yoga bringing awareness to the body, people are more aware and making better choices when they are eating. Another suggestion is that the muscle build helps to burn calories over extended durations of time and practice.
My best suggestion: Yoga can and should be a piece of the program for health and weight loss, but you want to try to make sure you get 3-4 days a week of cardio in too. (If you are viewing this page as a runner, cyclist, or triathlete, keep it up & add yoga for its added benefits. It will also keep you limber & less likely to lead to injury.)