‘Yoga appears to be too gentle physically to be anyone’s lone exercise’

That quotation is from the New York Times’ “Well” blog, as part of an answer to this question: “Is yoga sufficient strength exercise for optimal health, or do I have to lift weights in a fitness center?”

Say it with me, now: “TRY ASHTANGA!”

Amazingly, some apparently did. Check this out from the answer:

Consider the results of a 2012 study of premenopausal women who were randomly assigned to yoga or to a control group. The yoga group completed twice-weekly, 60-minute sessions of Ashtanga yoga (which consists of sequential, standardized postures), while the control group continued their normal activities. After eight months, the yoga practitioners had developed more powerful legs compared with at the study’s start and with those of  the control group, but had not increased strength in other muscles or improved their cardiovascular fitness.

I find that, frankly, impossible to believe. Unless those in the study didn’t do any vinyasa and no chaturangas. It is just, well, it is totally unbelievable.

If I haven’t made it clear, I’m in disbelief. Have these folks seen “our Ashtanga?”

Anyway, here’s more to dissuade you of the idea that your Ashtanga is enough:

In one of the most interesting studies of the activity to date, experienced yoga enthusiasts performed their favorite type of yoga for an hour in a metabolic chamber that tracked their caloric usage and heart rate. The volunteers then sat quietly in the chamber and also walked on a treadmill there at a leisurely 2 miles per hour and a brisker 3 m.p.h. pace. In the end, the measurements showed that yoga was equivalent in energy cost to strolling at 2 m.p.h., an intensity of exercise that, the authors write, would “not meet recommendations for levels of physical activity for improving or maintaining health or cardiovascular fitness.”

For whatever it is worth, it sounds like that yoga was “beginner’s level.” Again: Not “our Ashtanga,” right?

What’s the Times final conclusion? “So if you downward dog, jog occasionally as well, and visit the gym to build full-body strength and wellness.”


Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

11 thoughts on “‘Yoga appears to be too gentle physically to be anyone’s lone exercise’”

  1. I would love to have seen what ‘ashtanga’ they practiced if only their legs got stronger. Poor ashtanga – always misunderstood. 🙂

  2. Hahaha I would just as soon keep Ashtanga low key. Obviously it’s really not the physical aspect that keeps us going- what about those other 7 limbs? So once again the point is completely missed. Not even worth a reply is it?

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