The worst thing anyone can do is piss me off. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about anything in life. For some odd reason I know a lot about fitness. Hell, who am I kidding, it’s not by some odd coincidence. I’ve been a student of fitness my entire life, from a young age, before I reached puberty. I’ve talked about the guy who got me into weight lifting often. He was the late great Joe Bonadona. I went on to get a degree from Tulane University while on a football scholarship. There I took such courses as gross anatomy, where you get to pick a human corpse apart like a chicken at a picnic. I’ve been a practicing trainer for 30 years. You can bet your ass if I say something is correct, it’s correct. About a month ago I did a blog where I talked about the merits of stretching. It’s important not only for athletics but for everyday life. In the last sentence of that blog I wrote, “YOGA IS A GREAT IDEA.” Do not confuse it with exercise though. I should have been clear and said heart-healthy exercise. The Lululemon crowd with their yoga mats came after me with the force of Gengis Khan. I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about. One woman told me I couldn’t hold a warrior pose for one second if my life depended on it. Another guy told me I would be in the fetal position before half the class was over with. So I did what I do. I set out to prove that the hemp sack carrying, tofu eating, Hindu wannabe crowd was wrong. I told you that to tell you this. Last Saturday at 10 a.m. I walked into Inner Power Yoga in Calabasas, California. The class was taught by one of the owners, Linda Pushkin. It turns out she was tipped off that I would be there. Before class started, she came over and introduced herself. She said she knew why I was there. She said she wouldn’t make the class tougher to prove a point. I had a feeling she was going to make the class as tough as she could. The class went on for an hour and thirty-three minutes. Once the class was over with, I recorded the data on my heart rate monitor. I then started my watch over, and let it run while I was sitting and having lunch or sitting in traffic on the 101 freeway. Once again, after an hour and thirty-three minutes I recorded a second round of data. Here are the results of yoga versus sitting in traffic and having lunch…
Average heart rate for yoga: 79 beats per minute
Average heart rate for eating and driving: 66 beats per minute
My highest rate in yoga class was 111, compared to 89 as I ate or sat in traffic. My total calories burned in yoga: 236. My total calories while sitting and eating: 160. As you can tell, those numbers are close. It makes yoga look like a huge waste of time. But you know what? It wasn’t. Sure, I proved my point. I knew I would. But as it turns out, I actually got something out of the class. I have a right shoulder problem that is a case study at the Mayo Clinic. My actual doctor at Kerlan and Jobe in Los Angeles said it’s the worst he’s ever seen. I have prescriptions for Class A narcotics that I’ve never once filled. Doing those half-assed positions in yoga like down dog and up dog, and many others, my shoulder felt good for the first time in years. You know what else I noticed? I noticed people having a good time exercising. I’ve often said anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise. Yoga is not just anything. There is a lot of value to it. Value that goes beyond flexibility. I haven’t had a chance to go back to Inner Power. I found another place in Studio City that works with my schedule. Maybe, just maybe I’ve been there a couple of times this week.