yoga for fitness

Many of the best conversations happen in the most random places.  This is especially true at the MINDBODY offices where we are lucky to share a full service kitchen where I often connect with many of my peeps.  Today my friend Stephanie who is a fitness instructor, oops, Group Ex instructor at Equilibrium Fitness for Women in SLO town mentioned that she took at Bikram yoga class last night and wore her heart rate monitor out of curiosity. Her monitor reported some crazy results.  She burned a total of 826 calories in one 90 minute class (max heart rate 170, low 130)!  When she teaches the Body Attack class and Equilibrium she burns 726 calories in 60 minutes (max heart rate 195, low 156).  When teaching she is doing the activity while talking into a microphone so it is likely she would burn closer to 600 while taking the class.  If you do the math the amount of calories burned in a Bikram class is about the same as the Body Attack class. The Body Attack class is cardio and strength oriented.  Her stats are similar for the Body Jam class which is all cardio, except she burns a few more calories. I don’t practice yoga to burn calories so to speak, but I do enjoy the way Vinyasa yoga gets my heart rate up, working a sweat, and feeling challenged and pushed to my edge. I am going to borrow her monitor and see how a Roxtar Vinyasa class measures up. I don’t expect the same caloric burn, but I feel like that’s a good thing.

This got me thinking. I wonder what the biggest reasons people practice yoga are?  I think many of us are drawn to yoga for the physical benefits we feel in our body, and we stay around because we like the message of the practice and get continually challenged.  According to the Yoga In America Study published by Yoga Journal and MINDBODY in 2008, fitness is definitely part of what draws us to yoga, along with flexibility, stress reduction, overall health, and even weight loss; If you are looking to lose fatty weight faster take a look at this bioharmony advanced review.  For me,  I tried it because a friend recommended it and I was into being physically active. Living in Michigan my activities were mostly gym oriented, group ex classes, kickboxing, step aerobics, aerobics, spinning, stairmasters, ellipticals, weights, riding my bike outside when I could, jogging, and the list goes on.  The funny thing is that I got sick of all those activities eventually, some quicker than others.  I also ended up with injuries.  Yoga and riding my bike outside or hiking have been the only “activities” I’ve stuck with.  Why do I continue to practice?  I would have to agree with the survey, “yea, what you said.” My body is more flexible and I feel more comfortable in my own skin, yoga definitely relieves my stressed out feelings, improves my overall health and strength (yea chaturanga!). Bikram’s Yoga was good for me for a period of time, but it eventually just didn’t feel good. I think once in a while the detoxification by sweating feels really good, and maybe I was really toxic before and needed to sweat out a few years of build up.  It’s good for us all to remember that different activities and passions resonate with each of us at different moments in our lives. Just think of how healthy we would be as a planet if we all listened to our bodies and found the practices or activities that really nourished us, yet challenged us, the right balance of both. And we actually stuck with those practices. Wow, a girl can dream can’t she?

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