I'm so with you Jeanie! Please let me know if you find any real studies on the subject, or how to support such research. Amanda@mythirstylife.com
Read The Science of Yoga by Wiliam J Broad for a comprehensive overview of this subject. You don't have to buy everything written, but do some research on his research, and you will be informed on this matter.
Love what you do; do what you love.
For me the choice is inclusive, saying YES to both, yoga and other practices.
As a Yogini with 10+ years of practice experience, including a daily practice of between 20 minutes - 1 hour per day, I fully believe in the health benefits stated in the article; however, I wish Yoga Journal would cite the actual dates of the studies and include studies that include more people. A study with just 3 people doesn't fly as "proof" to most people. Also, I wish YJ would stop citing the 2001 UC Davis study by Amsterdam which has been highly criticized by William J. Broad in The Science of Yoga because the 7% gain in VO2 gains by (merely 10) subjects is minimal compared to the 50% gained by endurance training. Personally, I have dropped more than three dress sizes since my practice began more than 10 years ago. I attribute my weight loss to yoga asana, and also to the mindfulness a regular practice brings about--I am more careful about the foods I eat and how I treat my body. I am interested in the science aspect of yoga though and find the small amount of studies interesting. Although the funding for the studies is limited (it's not like drug companies want to find and advertise the benefits of yoga), I would really like to see published university studies that include at least 200 test subjects, more controls, and for a longer period of study…at least a year.
Yoga isn't going to make you look like a bodybuilder, and I think thats why a lot of people (esp. men) feel they need to lift weights. They have a fantastical perception of what fitness is. To them it's more aesthetic than functional.
I'm currently approaching my 1 yr anniversary to starting yoga. I have worked my way up to practicing nearly every day. I have not only noticed that I'm fitter than I've ever been! (and this is just the beginning:) but that no matter how hard I work at doing the poses (I do both Ashtanga and Hatha), to the point where I am literally soaked with sweat (I look like I jumped fully clothed into the pool, lol) that I"m rarely sore the next day! I am a guy with tight hamstrings and hips, which I feel loosen a little with every passing day! I always sleep well, don't need caffiene to wake up, I have better dreams, and I'm even more easygoing than ever. (people sometimes don't know how I stay calm)
I now ride my bike to yoga every day, 7+ miles over hilly, bumpy city streets, it's been 10 years since I've ridden regularly and I'm not even saddle sore. Yoga has convinced this motorhead that he doesn't need a car! Imagine that ! I can't begin to think about all the good things yoga has done for me, it's the best thing that has ever happened to me and I can't wait till I have 5, 10, 50 or more years experience! Here's to being 35 and feeling younger than I did when I was 21! I've always been in somewhat-decent shape but I look at pics of myself from 5 years ago (when I got out of active military duty) and hardly recognize them! (the only giveaway is that my hair is thinner, but it's healthier! (and much longer, lol! :) My weight hasn't changed much (I'm 5'6 and 158) but my bodyfat percentage is slowly, steadily going down! I'm at the point where I need to diet if I want to see it go much lower (and now It's what I want, before I was content with 18% bodyfat, now I want single digits.) Yoga for life and Namaste!
While it can make you fit, it is not a fitness class. Yoga treats the whole person. It is truly amazing to peel back the layers both personally and as a teacher, to see my students evolving in their practice as it deepens. Gen Green is right on the mark with her comment.
People should realize that Yoga imparts not only the physical discipline but also spiritual and value based living. The mental peace and the contended living cannot be gotten from exercises. I can attribute this to the fact that Yoga is the subject of Gods! Yatra yogeshwara krishna is the declaration in Bhagavad-Gita by Lord Krishna Himself. All the other exercises are man made. So, the limited benefits...
First of all, society focuses too much on the physical and this focus is limiting and imbalanced. Think of all the athletes loaded up on pain killers (dangerous drugs) with joint problems. When yoga is done properly, it heals joint problems. So what's more important? Physical fitness or spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional WELLNESS? NOTHING helps us achieve wellness better than consistent mind body practices focused on total well being for ourselves and all others. Wellness is ALL that counts because to be well, you must be fit, but, to be "fit", you are not necessarily well. No matter how fit your body looks or performs, if you are not coming from a spiritual place, you are missing out--BIG TIME. Spirituality is the unseen energy from which all else follows, which is ALWAYS revealed to those TRULY seeking it. Real yoga is a way of life, and when you let go of all limiting concepts, your life will be transformed into a higher state of consciousness WAY beyond fitness. So, do you just want to keep up with the herd and have a hot body that can run jump and swim well, or do you want to TRANSFORM into a divine being of Love and Light? If you want to transform, then you need to break free from the norm!. May we all be wise and focus on WELLNESS. Om Namah Shivaya! Namaste.
I do Baptiste Vinyasa yoga and my pulse goes up to 145 and is over 110 for about 30 minutes. I burn around 500 calories in 70 minutes. It's not going to give me a body builder's muscles or enable me to win the 1500 meter gold medal but is a great workout to maintain vitality.