A counter to the whole ‘yoga makes you fat’ idea

Just days after we learn that a major book on yoga — by a New York Times science writer, no less — is going to argue that yoga, in fact, makes you fat, a piece appears on Yahoo! Sports that highlights three kinds of yoga to help you lose weight.

And Ashtanga comes at the top of the list. Here’s the key description:

Ashtanga is the perfect type of yoga for those looking to lose weight because it provides a cardio effect. It flows nonstop from one move to the next. Men looking for yoga classes should try Ashtanga. It was originally created with teenage schoolboys in mind. Ashtanga is an advanced form of yoga that is known for demanding movements.

That’s pretty close to what I’ve said before about the practice, that on a purely physical level it works as well as weight training.

The other two forms of yoga are Power (which is rightly described as a Western offshoot of Ashtanga) and, of course, Bikram.

The argument from the New York Times writer’s perspective, if you’ll recall, is that yoga ultimately helps people slow their metabolism, which is what causes the weight gain. I wonder if that is perhaps more true of asana practices that focus on relaxation (yes, I’m looking at you, Iyengar classes). It’s hard to believe if you’re doing Ashtanga at even 75% effort that you won’t keep fit.

Posted by Steve