Yoga fact or fiction?

I do a lot of yoga since a studio is on my block and it’s clearly good exercise. But half of what the instructors say is obviously complete nonsense. I wonder about the following benefits of doing yoga in a 105 degree room as listed on their website:

Doing yoga in a hot room makes me sweat a lot, but other than that I can’t tell. Does anyone have the expertise to determine whether the above claims are true? How the hell could being in a 105 degree room improve your coordination?

As a yoga lover and soon-to-be instructor; most of what they say is BS woo, and it drives me nuts. The above looks like a bunch of totally unsubstantiated claims to me! Whether the room is 100 degrees or 75, and no matter how hard you’re working out, your muscles stay around your normal body temperature - you just sweat a ton to maintain that temp in a hot room.

I’ve never done ‘hot’ yoga as I prefer to sweat as little as possible.

How about ‘rinsing the spine’ ‘massaging the liver to get rid of toxins’, etc? I love yoga, tolerate the spiritual stuff because everyone has different spiritual needs but the pseudo-medical nonsense drives me crazy. Is all of this part of traditional yogic philosophy or was it added at some point?

My favorite bit of yoga woo, ‘cells are round, we should be round, too.’ Where’s that vomit smiley when you need it.

Unless you’re well hydrated, working out in 105F is likely to perfuse your muscles less, as your body will be busy prefusing the skin.
Temperature does not have such a dramatic effect compared to the previous factors, but hyperthermia causes a rightward shift, while hypothermia causes a leftward shift.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen-haemoglobin_dissociation_curve#Temperature

My personal experience is that heat does loosen me up, but whether that’s muscle changes or tendon and ligament changes I don’t know.

Yes, I find I am much more flexible during summer, if the room I do yoga in is warmer, and certainly after ‘warming up’. Not sure why this is the case though.

It’s stretching. Whether you stretch and hold the position for fifteen seconds or fifteen minutes makes little to no difference. If you personally find it relaxing or whatever, go for it. But don’t anything more out of it. The stuff you quoted in your OP is new age woo bullshit.

Edit: You say that yoga is “clearly good exercise”. I disagree. But the crap being claimed by the people you quoted is even more insidious. They’re using the same nonsense science babble that you’d find in a late night infomercial.

Well, it depends on the type of yoga you’re doing. If you’re thinking of very low-key relaxation/meditation yoga styles where you basically just sit or lie around with some mild stretchy gestures, then yeah, not much physical exercise there.

However, poses and styles that focus on more aerobic effort, including sun-salutations, handstands, and so forth can definitely qualify as strenuous exercise. AFAIK the Ashtanga and Bikram schools are especially keen on “exercise-y” type yoga.

This is the same BS that applies to any ONE thing and those who try to use it as a cure all.

Yoga is valuable, for what it is, but it isn’t a substitute. You still need to do cardio and weight lifting ALONG WITH yoga.

Stretching and flexibility is what you gain through yoga and this really helps you perform better and more importantly SAFER, when you do cardio workouts and weight lifting.

Yoga also is beneficial as it teaches you relaxation techniques which we all could use.

I’m sure yoga in a hot room does all thing in the original post said it does. But so what? I would say yoga in a colder room probably does exactly the same thing.

It’s like saying, “Use Motrin, no other ibuprofen workers better.” Well this is true, but what it leaves out is all the rest of them work EQUALLY as well, just not better :slight_smile:

Also a lot of these claims are probably true at minute levels.

Heat is a vasodilatater, but so is aspirin. How much does it dialate? Probably only in minute amounts so there is no difference.

A lot of claims for various things work but only at small levels. For instance, yo-yo dieting does slow metabolism down. To the tune of about 250 caloroes a week. And that is for people who yo-yo diet for 10 or more years.

250 calories a week is a candy bar. That’s nothing, it’d be 14 weeks to be a pound and weight loss isn’t necessarily accumulative.

I have used yoga and it DOES help, but like everything else in life, it is PART OF not a substitute for a total health program.

As for hot or cold it’s an individual matter.

For instance, some people LIKE to run in the cold. Some people run when it’s HOT. As long as they’re careful about getting fluids and keeping warm, it’s really a matter of personal preference.

Unless your a full time athlete training for the Olympics don’t worry about the nuances of programs. Do the one that keeps you interested and coming back so your body stays healthy.

Boredom is what kills people’s fitness programs.

I challange you to get up from your computer right now get into the ‘downward dog’ posture (one of the basics and achievable for most people) and hold it for 15 minutes. I predict you will make it less than 3 minutes, and even then you might feel it the next day.

There are yoga classes that are just streching and meditation. There is also yoga that is an ass-kicking workout. I take Ashtanga/Anusara classes and I always enjoy bringing people who think that yoga is just pussy woo bullshit, to watch them shake uncontrollably and drip sweat. :smiley:

Here’s a video demonstrating the kind of Cirque de Soleil shit we do at my studio. Of course, most of us aren’t as advanced as this lady. It takes a great deal of muscular strength and tension to get into and hold those postures and support the weight of your body, and it takes tons of time and discomfort to achieve her level of flexibility, for most people.

I “practice” Bikram yoga which is taught in a 105F room and is a type of yoga that is pretty much devoid of woo. It’s a damn hard 90 minute workout and after five years of doing it twice a week or so I am in by far the best shape of my life at the age of 47.

A Bikram instructor will make three claims about the heat. I believe two of them. They claim that the hot room makes you more flexible and less likely to injure yourself. Makes sense. They claim that the heat makes your body work harder so you get more of an aerobic workout. That makes sense too. Finally, they claim that you will sweat out toxins. I think that that is bullshit.