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03 Feb 2004

Ashtanga Yoga not 'excersise' ???
Dear Yoga Doc,

We are in our early 30's and part of our company's 'health incentive' for execs is that we pariticpate in regular excercise programs. Problem - we do 4 - 5 hours of Asthanga per week (every week, no cheating!) and apparently the 'health and fitness' fraternity see yoga as beneficial for flexibility but having no real fitness benefits. Is this true or are we dealing with an ill informed 'fitness' assessor?

Would LOVE to hear opinions from other, regular Ashtanga practitioners too!
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Expert
Yoga
yoga

01 Jan 0001

Dear P 'n P - I would strongly suggest that you are dealing with an ill informed fitness assessor - don't worry I have the same with the medical aids. I suggest you show him the following quote: "Ashtanga yoga is the most complete and balance routine of physical training for the development of stamina, strength, and flexibility."
Dr. R. Calvo, President of the Texas Center for Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Surgery, or, better yet, get him to do a class and then repeat the assertion!
Regards
Chris

More research: "Putting Yoga to the Test
In one of the first studies done in the United States that examines the relationship between yoga and fitness, researchers at the University of California at Davis recently tested the muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, cardio respiratory fitness, body composition, and lung function of 10 college students before and after eight weeks of yoga training. Each week, the students attended four sessions that included 10 minutes of pranayama, 15 minutes of warm-up exercises, 50 minutes of asanas and 10 minutes of meditation. After eight weeks the students’ muscular strength had increased by as much as 31 percent, muscular endurance by 57 percent, flexibility by as much as 188 percent and VO2 max by 7 percent – a very respectable increase, given the brevity of the experiment.

One study, conducted in Secunderabad, India, compared a group of athletes taught pranayama (breathing exercises) to another group who were not. After two years, those who practiced pranayama showed a larger reduction of blood lactate (an indicator of fatigue) in response to exercise; in addition they were more able than the control group to increase their exercise intensity as well as the efficiency of their oxygen consumption during exercise. Other smaller studies also done in India have found that yoga can increase exercise performance and raise anaerobic threshold. (Anaerobic threshold is the point at which your muscles cannot extract enough oxygen from your blood and therefore must switch from burning oxygen to burning sugar and creatine."

From: Yoga Journal
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