In January, I decided that I wanted to do an experiment doing yoga. Would daily yoga be enough exercise to maintain (or lose) weight by creating a greater sense of self awareness and allow me to tune in to my actual hunger levels?
Studies have shown that yogis tend to be leaner than non practicers. But how can this be when on average you burn less than 300 calories per 90 minute session? The study suggested that it allows your mind to become more aware of how your body feels, like allowing you put down that fork when you are actually full or know the difference between eating out of boredom and eating because you are actually hungry.
I didn’t start my experiment until mid February when I saw a special at a Yoga studio in my neighborhood. For the first two weeks, I took 10 classes. I felt great but my tummy was starting to look slightly flabby. I bought a pack of 10 more which I completed within 40 days.
Try my Yoga Abs and Butt workout Video!
I decided to wear a heart rate monitor a few times to find out out how many calories I was actually burning. I didn’t look at it during the class but after I noticed I didn’t even burn 300 calories in 90 minutes. I was burning around 250 calories which is not exactly a great burn for your time. I tried Hip Hop Yoga, Core Vinyasa, Forrest (which I do NOT like), Rock Your Asana and a deep stretching Vinyasa. I love when I can get into a new position! It’s an amazing accomplishment.
The days that I ran for 30 minutes before class however, showed a higher number even though the difficultly of the class was unchanged.
I continued my very unscientific study after I returned from my trip to Australia, and found that my eating habits remained unchanged. I still had the appetite of a runner but was exercising like a yogi. This imbalance could lead to only one result, weight gain.
Read my review of Jillian Michaels’ Yoga Melt Down DVD
Yes, it took 5 lbs on my frame to realize that yoga alone was not enough for me. I continue to do yoga 2x a week for it’s amazing stretches and meditative experience. I benefit greatly from yoga since I tend to get slightly stressed out rather easily. I look forward to yoga unlike my strength training.
My advice for you? If you love yoga and do not have a hearty appetite, my experiment may yield different results. Changing your eating habits does not happen overnight. I’ve been a big runner for the past 5 years, and eat like one too. I exercise hard so I can enjoy the foods I like.
Final Tip: Add yoga to your weekly schedule to prevent injury and listen to what your body needs but do not forget to include strength training and some cardio (or else you might start to get a belly like I did).
Disclaimer: This study was very unscientific and may yield different results for other people.
This weekend I tried my second Saturday class of Hip Hop Yoga at Back Bay Yoga in Boston. This class is becoming a favorite. It’s not hot yoga, but I sweat like it is! I take the Hip Hop version during the week but the Saturday class with Lynn is extra sweaty.
Afterwards, I made a Vegan Sugar-Free Cake with Banana Frosting (which had sugar in it) for Elizabeth’s birthday. Last year I made her the chocolate chip cookie cake but this year’s recipe took the cake (pun intended). I will be posting the recipe later today. It was truly delicious and went undetected as a healthy-fied dessert. I made it because I was feeling adventurous. There were no weird ingredients. Just no eggs and I used Almond Milk.
Sunday morning started with a nice long walk around the Charles River. I wasn’t in the mood to run really. It was a gorgeous day and I love that this is what I get to look at when I exercise. Boston is a gorgeous city when the weather cooperates.
On my way home, I stopped at Whole Foods for a delicious lunch. I tried to BBQ seitan (which I’m obsessed with), Kale with Avocado and a little of a quinoa & barley salad. Whole Foods makes me think I could actually be a vegan.
I always argue that I could be a vegan but I’m going to stop saying that. I’m going to just say I’m a fan of the environment and eating vegan/vegetarian a few days a week is good for the environment and that is why I do it. It’s actually got a name, Planetarian! Do you eat vegan or vegetarian some days of the week? If so, do you have a reason?
Also, check out my new recipe index page!