I’ve often wondered if I could get by with doing yoga and only yoga as exercise. Yoga teacher friends have told me this over the years, but I have remained sceptical, unsure how yoga would provide the aerobic benefits of jogging. So I decided to do a little digging.
The Yoga Journal refers to research undertaken at ball State University that “looked at how 15 weeks of twice-weekly yoga classes affected the lung capacity of 287 college students. All of the students involved, including athletes, asthmatics, and smokers, significantly improved lung capacity by the end of the semester.”
Why and how this happened is up for debate, although most researchers in the field agree that more vigorous poses such as The sun salutation increase the heart rate. While the focus on breathing boosts lung capacity
However, when Long Island and Columbia Universities looked into cardiovascular effects on yoga they came to the conclusion that an average session of yoga represented low levels of physical activity, similar to walking on a treadmill at 3.2 kph…” Yoga practice incorporating sun salutation postures exceeding the minimum bout of 10 minutes may contribute some portion of sufficiently intense physical activity to improve cardio-respiratory fitness in unfit or sedentary individuals.”
Perhaps Bikram yoga, power yoga performed in a heated room, would provide the work out I crave, the one hit wonder (I can hear the accumulated sigh of all purist yogis ), but the thought makes me feel faint. I am unconvinced that yoga is giving my heart a work out. So I will take up jogging or haul myself off to the pool unless someone can convince me otherwise? If only there was more time in a day…