Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 2914745, 11 pages
Research Article

A Different Weight Loss Experience: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Behavioral, Physical, and Psychosocial Changes Associated with Yoga That Promote Weight Loss

Department of Nursing Research and Translational Science, National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA

Received 17 February 2016; Accepted 13 July 2016

Academic Editor: Amie Steel

Copyright © 2016 A. Ross et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Yoga interventions improve obesity-related outcomes including body mass index (BMI), body weight, body fat, and waist circumference, yet it is unclear whether these improvements are due to increased physical activity, increased lean muscle mass, and/or changes in eating behaviors. The purpose of this study is to expand our understanding of the experience of losing weight through yoga. Methods. Semistructured interviews were qualitatively analyzed using a descriptive phenomenological approach. Results. Two distinct groups who had lost weight through yoga responded: those who were overweight and had repeatedly struggled in their attempts to lose weight (55%, ) and those who were of normal weight and had lost weight unintentionally (45%, ). Five themes emerged that differed slightly by group: shift toward healthy eating, impact of the yoga community/yoga culture, physical changes, psychological changes, and the belief that the yoga weight loss experience was different than past weight loss experiences. Conclusions. These findings imply that yoga could offer diverse behavioral, physical, and psychosocial effects that may make it a useful tool for weight loss. Role modeling and social support provided by the yoga community may contribute to weight loss, particularly for individuals struggling to lose weight.