A wee bit more on whether yoga makes you fat

It turns out — surprise! — that people are interested in whether yoga makes you fat.

Our blog’s little search term counter during the past few days has turned up a bunch of variations on “yoga makes you fat.” It is by far the most searched term for people who are happening, via search, onto the site.

Well, I have a little more to offer you on this. It’s not me, but a fellow Ashtangi we met this year at Tim Miller’s Mt. Shasta retreat, Jennifer Pilotti. She has a degree in exercise physiology and is a Health Fitness Instructor via the American College of Sports Medicine. You can find out more about her here.

Here’s what she wrote on Facebook in response to one of our “does yoga make you fat?” posts.

Instead of working on my paper re: high intensity exercise and weight loss, I ran a pubmed search on yoga and weight loss. I found an interesting study performed by Mody (2011) that examined the acute effects of surya namaskar on the cardiovascular and metabolic system. While the study was quite small (6 individuals), the researcher found the participants were performing SN at 80% of heart rate max, which is high enough to cause a cardiorespiratory effect. 30 minutes of sun salutations burned an average of 230 calories for someone weighing 60kg. As long as the person isn’t consuming large quantities of chai tea after practice, this should lead to weight loss, not weight gain.

60kg, for those who don’t have the calculation right in front of you, is about 132 pounds.

I think this is in the same vein as my earlier point: Maybe this — yoga makes you fat (because, you’ll recall, it eventually slows the metabolism) — is true of asana practices that focus on relaxation and stretching and calming. But Ashtanga? No way!

Of course, we all consume mass quantities of chai, right? (After all, no wheat in it!)

Posted by Steve