Tony Takes a Yoga Class – Part I

Share This:

“Is there anyone here who’s new or who’s never done yoga before?” the tall, lean, yoga instructor asked.

Taking a glance around the room, with my girlfriend sitting directly to my right, and surrounded by a roomful of women, I reluctantly raised my hand.  Slowly.  I gave a nervous, meager chuckle and that’s how it began.

Yes, I took a yoga class yesterday.  No, pigs aren’t flying in hell.

………at least not yet.

Given my past transgressions towards yoga and most of what it stands for, I know this is blowing people’s minds as they read this. A few years ago, when asked my thoughts on yoga, I was quoted as saying:

Yoga mostly sucks

Admittedly, I was young, immature, and maybe even a little pigheaded in saying that.  Still, at the time, and even now, many of my “grievances” with yoga do have merit (in my eyes, at least).  Namely, I just hate how it’s marketed towards women.  How it’s somehow this panacea of fitness and health. Women are promised long, lean muscles.  Strength.  Power.  Even improved bone density. You name it and yoga is the answer to all your prayers.

A trimmer waistline?  Maybe.

A date with Brad Pitt?  Lets not get carried away.

A Coach hand bag?  Hahahahahahahahaha.

Don’t get me wrong, there ARE many benefits to yoga.  First off, if someone enjoys doing it, and it gets them off their ass……great!  The more women NOT watching The Real Housewives of Whereeverthefuck, the better.

Speaking more succinctly, however, you’d be hard to dismiss benefits like an increased harmony in the mind-body connection, improved blood flow, improved state of well-being, learning one’s breath, flexibility, so on and so forth.

Still, as with ANY form of exercise (yes, even strength training), it has it’s limitations.  And, again, I just HATE how it’s marketed.

Given the claims the majority of Yoga “gurus” tout, it’s no wonder many (not all) women are under the assumption that Yoga will do everything from help them lose weight and increase strength to bringing sexy back.

The fact is – and I realize I’m a bit biased in saying this given I’m a strength and conditioning coach – when it comes to general fitness and body compositional goals, most females want and/or need the following:

  1. Decreased body fat
  2. Increased strength.
  3. Improved daily/athletic function
  4. Increased bone density
  5. Increased flexibility

Each one of these, I’d argue, can be improved – almost tenfold – through resistance training.  Yoga can’t hold a flame to good ol’ fashioned lifting heavy things.

Note from TG:  I didn’t want to re-invent the wheel, so what follows is an excerpt from an article I wrote for titled 4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know.  I’d provide the link, but unfortunately, the site doesn’t exist anymore.  Bummer.

Lets break each one down individually.

Decreased Body Fat

It’s no secret that in order to decrease body fat, you have to provide some sort of caloric deficit either through dieting or through increased caloric expenditure from physical activity (or some form of both).  I’m going to leave the dieting component alone for now (I think women tend to drastically UNDER eat as it is), but I do want to elaborate on the latter component.

Yoga does not cause a high (or acute) or post-exercise calorie expenditure, which is one of the main factors in fat loss.  Many people (not just women) equate sweating to burning a lot of calories.  Sorry ladies, but just because you sweat a lot while taking a class in a 105 degree room, doesn’t mean you’re burning a lot of calories.  You wouldn’t say you’re burning that many calories sun bathing on the beach would you?

How many calories do you think you can burn standing or sitting in one spot for an hour, which is essentially what you do in a typical Yoga class? Numerous studies have shown that resistance training elevates EPOC (Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption) for upwards of 24-48 hours AFTER you’re done training.

Simply put, not only will you burn more calories during one hour of resistance training compared to one hour of Yoga, but you will also burn MORE calories even when you’re not in the gym.  More calories burned equals more body fat lost.  I have yet to see one study which shows that Yoga does anything to increase EPOC significantly (if at all).

Additionally, Yoga does not provide resistance sufficient enough to increase or preserve lean body mass (LBM), which is directly correlated with metabolism, and thus the rate at which you burn calories.  Yes, “beginners” might see transient increases in LBM in the beginning, but that is mainly because most women who go from doing nothing to participating in Yoga classes a few times per week are so de-conditioned, that their body weight elicits enough of a stimulus to cause the body to change.

Increased Strength

As Vladimir Zatsiorsky states in his book “Science and Practice of Strength Training,” muscular strength is defined as “the ability to overcome or counteract external resistance by muscular effort; also, the ability to generate maximum external force” (1). In order to generate maximum force (get stronger), a trainee needs to incorporate one of three methods:

  1. Maximum Effort Method:  lifting a maximum load (exercising against maximum resistance).
  2. Repeated Effort Method:  lifting non-maximal load to failure (albeit still taking into consideration the rule of progressive overload.  Relying on one’s body weight will only take you so far).
  3. Dynamic Effort Method:  lifting (or throwing) a non-maximal load with the highest attainable speed.

The fact is yoga is not easily “modifiable” to facilitate constant adaptation for strength gains, unless of course, you want to gain weight (highly unlikely).  Yoga will in fact develop strength to a point, but soon thereafter, you’re just training strength endurance.  If bodyweight is constant, then progressive resistance is not possible without adding an external load.

Increased Bone Density

This is especially important for women because they are significantly at higher risk of developing osteoporosis compared to men (especially if they’re Caucasian, Asian, and slight build.).

In terms of stimulating new bone formation, what is needed is something called a minimal essential strain (MES), which refers to a threshold stimulus that initiates new bone formation.

A force that reaches or exceeds this threshold and is repeated often enough will signal osteoblasts to migrate to that region of the bone and lay down matrix proteins (collagen) to increase the strength of the bone in that area.

Furthermore, physical activities that generate forces exceeding the MES are those activities that represent an increase in intensity relative to normal daily activities.

For sedentary or elderly individuals, this could very well be where yoga could be enough of a stimulus to cause an MES and new bone formation (bodyweight exceeds the threshold).  However you still have to take into consideration the rule of progressive overload (bodyweight will only take them so far) and for younger or more active people, higher intensity activities will need to be included to exceed MES – such as sprinting, jumping, and heavy resistance training.

Regardless of one’s training history or lifestyle, it’s clear that the activities chosen to increase bone density need to be WEIGHT BEARI NG in nature, and progressive.  Yoga does not do this.

Improved Daily/Athletic Function

This will be short.  During a Yoga class, you’re sitting and/or standing in one spot for 45-60 minutes.

This will NOT equate to better efficiency or performance in daily life or on the athletic field.  As an athlete your time is better spent elsewhere.

Increased Flexibility

This one I will concede to Yoga.  It DOES help to improve flexibility, which is a good thing (sort of).  Unfortunately, it tends to promote flexibility/mobility in areas of the body where it doesn’t need it.

If we were to take a joint-by-joint look at the body, popularized by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook, one would notice that there is a delicate balance between mobility/stability:

Joints that “need” to be trained with mobility in mind:  ankle, hips, t-spine, scapulae

Joints that “need” to be trained with stability in mind:  knee, lumbar spine, scapulae

I have worked with many clients with extended histories of lower back pain who start participating in Yoga classes through the recommendation of a friend or worse yet, and uninformed physician.  Their rationale:  “all you need to do is stretch out your back.”  Quite possibly the worst piece of advice to give.

As you can see from above, the lumbar spine (lower back) generally needs to be trained with stability in mind.   Many of the poses in Yoga promote HYPER-extension of the lumbar spine, which is the last thing that it needs.  Many back issues are extension-based, which just means that an individual is getting more ROM (Range of Motion) at the lumbar spine due to lack of ROM at the hips.  Essentially with Yoga, one is promoting more ROM (and thus, instability) in a place where it needs LESS ROM (more STABILITY).

Furthermore, what good is it to have all this extra mobility or ROM if you can’t stabilize in that ROM in the first place?  Having excessive ROM (in the wrong places) without the strength to stabilize that ROM actually predisposes people to injury.  So while Yoga does enhance flexibility and mobility, RESISTANCE TRAINING actually facilitates movement through that range of motion, and provides the dynamic control to allow you to utilize the range of motion safely.

Now Before I Get the Hate Mail

Even though I wrote the original article like four years ago, I wholeheartedly feel every point I made still has merit today. Yoga IS NOT the end all – be all of everything that it’s often proclaimed (or marketed) to be.

I’m NOT saying it’s dangerous (although it can be:  click ME), or that it’s a waste of time.  All I’m saying is that it would bode well to try to step away from the yoga Kool-Aid, and take a little more of an objective look.

I understand that many yogi’s are going to want to defend their craft, much like I’d go ape shit if someone said that deadlifting was dangerous or somehow inferior. Again, I get it, I’m a little biased.

To that end, have at it!  You’re entitled to your opinion…… am I.

That said, tomorrow I’m going to talk about my experience.  Now that I’ve actually taken a yoga class, I think you may be surprised at what I have to say.

Till then……..I’d be interested to hear what everyone else thinks.  Am I off base?  Do I have a point?  Sound off below.

Did what you just read make your day? Ruin it? Either way, you should share it with your friends and/or comment below.

Share This Post:


Plus, get a copy of Tony’s Pick Things Up, a quick-tip guide to everything deadlift-related. See his butt? Yeah. It’s good. You should probably listen to him if you have any hope of getting a butt that good.

I don’t share email information. Ever. Because I’m not a jerk.

Comments for This Entry

  • Jonathan

    Interesting how yoga folk only seem to want to do yoga. Spinners only want to spin. Weightlifters only want to weightlift. I think yoga has tons of benefits as a supplement. Most of my clients do a class a a week both for the increased mobility and mental benefits. I've studied it quite a bit in the past purely so I can incorporate some of the stretching and mobility work into my training. To me the problem stems from the connection people feel towards the discipline. This is forced upon them by the crowd they hang out with and social pressures. Same goes for CrossFit. Only doing CrossFit is bad but CrossFit techniques can be applied to a fantastic whole program if used well. But that isn't CrossFit -- and it's not hardcore. Only doing one thing is bad no matter what it is so put away the yoga cool aid, rest the spin spikes, pull down the high CrossFit socks, and close the lid on the weightlifting chalk once in a while and switch it up.

    January 9, 2012 at 9:44 am | Reply to this comment

    • Josh Hamilton

      I agree entirely, Jon. The full spectrum should be employed. Each area has their own benefits and draw backs. I find incorporating a little of each into my main strength program has many benefits. Yoga also has many forms. Strength-oriented yoga is an excellent way to take control of the body and challenge it in new ways, without stretching the spine into oblivion... Looking forward to what Tony's experience was like. I have yet to go to a formal class myself, but studying some of it's broader points has been interesting.

      January 9, 2012 at 11:27 am | Reply to this comment

      • Anonymous

        That's exactly the point I was trying to make! I wholeheartedly think there are MANY benefits to yoga. I just don't think it's the bees knees, and think it's irresponsible on how most (not all) variations and classes are marketed towards women. I'm sorry, but yoga WILL NOT give you long(er) muscles. Yoga WILL NOT improve bone density. Yoga WILL NOT increase one's power. I guess it can be argued whether or not it increases strength...............there ARE some really impressive poses that I can't even fathom doing. The point is, as you noted, there are benefits and drawbacks to everything. I was just trying to point out some of the drawbacks......;o)

        January 10, 2012 at 7:51 am | Reply to this comment

        • Jonathan

          Yoga brings the muscle closer to the bone. That equals more definition. It's science. Drink the cool air Tony. Just drink it. driiiinnnnnkkk itttttt

          January 10, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply to this comment

        • abby

          I agree with you totally on the way yoga is 'marketed' and therein lies the problem. Yoga has many many therapeutic and mental benefits, and yes, some of the physical 'side effects' of yoga are that you might lose some weight etc. Dynamic stretching (i.e a sun salutation type sequence) is a handy tool in any dancers/athletes box to include in a warm up, static stretching is not....

          August 22, 2012 at 2:54 am | Reply to this comment

    • Harold J Gibbons

      "as a supplement". Boom. It can be an integral part of a program, but not a program itself. Same goes for spinning, weightlifting, chin-upping, and our beloved deadlifts. Which Gandalfian mind said, "The best program is the one you're not doing." I'm guessing it was Dan John. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's post, Tony!

      January 10, 2012 at 12:01 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Couldn't agree with you more Jon, which is why at CP, we try to use as many "tools" as possible. As much as we're about "lifting heavy things," we also have kettlebells, TRX, rip trainer, a massage therapist, a manual therapist, and yes, we even had a yoga instructor come in and work with a few of our pro baseball guys one day. EVERYTHING is free game........within reason.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply to this comment

  • Peter Caisse

    I think you may be being unfair in the sense that you're judging yoga as it is marketed and, more importantly, as it is *usually* practiced in the US. You are an elite strength trainer at an elite training facility talking about your average, local yogi. If we looked at your local personal trainer, they probably wouldn't know their shit from their shoes. In much the same way that your local yogi is going to indiscriminately try to make everyone more flexible, the local personal trainer will probably just throw you on some machines and tell you to do 3x10-12 with a shoulder & arm day, an abs & back day, and a leg day (my exact experience at a local gym in high school). My point is, you're comparing the elite 1% to the mediocre. It may not be a fair comparison. I have heard yogis say that yoga *as it is meant to be practiced* will not focus on turning your lower back into a pretzel, much like strength training as it is meant to be practiced will not focus on pumping up your bi's. I hope that makes sense.

    January 9, 2012 at 10:29 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Totally makes sense, and I can't say I disagree. This is obviously a "deep" subject that can be written on for pages and pages, so I had to pick something a go with it. That said, most people don't have access to the elite of anything......whether we're referring to personal trainers or yoga. Shit is shit.........I agree. I've seen (and known) some really mediocre strength coaches. Hell, I've written about them all the time here, so I don't think me going out of my way to kinda, sorta talk down on yoga is all that bad.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:47 am | Reply to this comment

  • Ali

    Oh man, I was totally going to send you that link to the NY Times article!! I should have known you were already on that.

    January 9, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply to this comment

  • Brian L

    I've been doing a bit of yoga at home over the past few months. Being that I'm a loyal reader here and know a thing or two, I have been picking and choosing my movements. I know where I want/need more ROM & mobility and where I want to "get a good stretch", so those are the poses that I perform. They have worked pretty well for my in my MMA/BJJ adventures recently as I get put in some fairly compromising positions and need to be Ok with it. Picking and choosing poses, that's where it's key. That and having the knowledge to know what to pick, and what to omit.

    January 9, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      And that's exactly what I did, too. Of course, I know anatomy and know what my limits are, so that helps in the long run. For many, however, they just don't know any better and it's sometimes scary to think that (some) yoga instructors don't use any caution. In fact, some of the most messed backs I have ever seen have been that of yoga instructors. Nevertheless, as I noted, if you know what poses to avoid, all the better.

      January 10, 2012 at 7:55 am | Reply to this comment

  • Mike A.

    Peter makes a great point here. For someone such as yourself, who has no prominent flexibility/mobility issues, yoga (even with the average yogi) isn't going to really do much. I refer a bunch of my clients, especially the males, to the yoga classes at my gym. Regardless of how much flexibility/mobility work I try to get them to do, its still only 2-3 hours per week with me. An added yoga class can go a long way for them, especially with calves/hams/hips. We actually have a yoga instructor at our gym who is a CSCS!

    January 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Niel

    Everyone knows CrossFit is the best and only strength training you need.

    January 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Craig

    Having a basic understanding of how your body should function is enough to enable you to benefit from the positive aspects of yoga without blowing lumbar discs like popcorn. I do yoga on occasion and keep myself safe by just pretending to be too dumb or inflexible to move in ways that I know my body shouldn't be moving. "Hip opening and t-spine extension? Sure. Fold my lumbar spine in half? Huh. Weird. Not happening."

    January 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Sue

    I pretty much agree with you. However, I do use yoga in my fitness routine. It reminds me to stretch and I appreciate the mental health aspects. I would never expect it to be a tool of weight loss or gains in strength.

    January 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Tim E

    Yoga isn't individualized, in much the (oh wait there are yoga blocks...i'm sorry) same way as group classes. In turn, people can do things in classes that are a waste of time( for them) and perform exercises that may exacerbate hyper-mobility issues at specific joints, make them more susceptible to injury and not provide enough flexibility work to areas that might need it. I'd rather see a yoga, where participants go through a form of assessment and movement screening and stretching/mobility programs are built from the assessment. Until then, I'll see what's tight myself, stretch it and go meditate or take a nap. On a side note, Cross fitters who wear high socks should just learn how to not scrape their shins and use their legs rather than their backs to lift.

    January 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Nick

    "Yoga will in fact develop strength to a point, but soon thereafter, you’re just training strength endurance. If bodyweight is constant, then progressive resistance is not possible without adding an external load." OR Changing the leverages you're working with. A planche push up is significantly (i.e. years of training) harder than a regular one. Otherwise I'm 100% with you on this article.

    January 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kriswolff

    Good for you, Tony, for giving it a go. I take a class every Saturday AM called Centergy. It's a Pilates/Yoga hybrid. The Pilates section is challenging because it is tons of planks and eccentric pushups..the yoga section is just good old fashioned stretching. I use it as a recovery workout from what I've done to myself M-F and I do sweat a fair amount. My hips and back always feel much better when I leave than when I started. A time and a place, I always say...

    January 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Deborah

    I have never taken yoga. I have never seen it as an answer to my goals in the gym. They have a following, great, fine. The problem I see is working with someone who is easily 75 pounds overweight who thinks a yoga class will somehow help her lose all of that weight. I've known her for 3 years.....she's gotten bigger if anything. Who's to for making the claims or her for being just that delusional?

    January 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Hmmm, tough one. Hopefully she'll reach a tipping point eventually and start to realize that variety is the spice of life. Right?

      January 10, 2012 at 8:02 am | Reply to this comment

    • abbyhoffmann

      Yoga itself does not make people lose weight! however, adapting a 'yoga lifestyle' i.e adapting diet, perhaps cutting out animal products (as many yogi's do) and becoming healthier (in matters of digestion) does. For athletes, the benefits of yoga (increased mental alertness, powers of concentration and improved ROM) are awesome.. It's not just about 'strength' training, but mental training too, this is where Yoga comes into its own.

      August 22, 2012 at 2:57 am | Reply to this comment

  • GD

    Agree with Jon at the top... I usually lift 3 times a week and hit a yoga class 2 times a week. Yoga is a great balance (lots of stretching, mobility, body weight) to the heavy lifting. Many of the things we do in yoga class are similar to what I often see posted as good dynamic warmup activities. As I have gotten older spending more time on the flexibility side has seemed to help (Im 40 - not a young athlete). Final note - both of my teachers are 50 year old women who could easily pass for 35 and do preach weightlifting in addition to yoga for the women in class who are looking to tone / loose weight...

    January 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Dammit GD - you ruined my spoiler for the part II!!!!! One of my main points was going to state that many of the dynamic warm-ups we do have their foundation in yoga. So, in a way, I've been doing yoga for years. Well, kinda.

      January 10, 2012 at 8:04 am | Reply to this comment

  • Kellie Davis

    When I first returned the gym several years back, I was completely out of shape and overweight. I found sanctuary in the back of a yoga class at my local YMCA. It was likely the best way to ease myself back into the gym because I was able to follow instruction, gain confidence, and work at my level. Not only that, but it also helped me cope with my life as a busy mom and middle school teacher. Yes, I said middle school teacher. I truly did leave class refreshed and ready to grade 130 papers. That being said, I far more enjoy strength training than I do yoga these days. Not that I don't have a place in my heart for yoga, but I do feel that as I progressed through my training, I needed even greater challenges, and strength training offers just that. Unfortunately time is more of the deciding factor as to why I no longer take yoga. I only have X amount of hours per week to devote to training, and I enjoy spending them pulling iron and running hills than I do yoga. Though if I did have an extra hour, I think I would roll out my mat again.

    January 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Kellie Davis

    Okay, I seriously did not mean to add an extra photo of me down there. I was confused.

    January 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Matt

    Picture this: Darth Vader and Tony G are in the Death Star gym. Darth is wearing his helmet, black spandex and black cape emblazoned with "Yoga is the real force". Tony is wearing track pants, t-shirt emblazoned with "Deadlifts Rule the Galaxy" and his knitted skully. There is tension in the air, as they cautiously circle each other. A battle is about to commence. Darth Vader: "Eric Creasy has taught you well, but you don't know the power of Yoga". Luke: "Search your feelings, you can't believe this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate of deadlifts." Darth Vader: "Tony, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy!" Tony: "I'll never join you!" Darth Vader: "If you only knew the power of Yoga. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father." Tony: "He told me enough. He told me Yoga killed him!" Darth Vader: "No. I am your father." Tony: "No... No... That's not true... That's impossible!" Darth Vader: "Search your feelings; you know it to be true!" Tony: "NOOO! NOOO!"

    January 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Tyler

    The only thing I really disagree with is that extension is bad for the lumbar spine. It depends what the individual's issues are. Say they have a bulging disk from repeated flexion or prolonged flexion. Lumbar extension will do wonders for reducing symptoms....Traditionally, yes one should train the lumbar spine with stability in mind but prone press ups for a person with an extension movement preference isn't bad at all. People who do weighted hyperextensions are a different story...

    January 9, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Annie Nonymous

    I think it's great that you tried yoga... I wish more people were open-minded - but if the class you took consisted of basically "sitting and/or standing in one spot for 45-60 minutes" then perhaps you might try a different style. I spent 40 years saying that yoga wasn't for me (having never tried it). Now I do an athletic style (power vinyasa yoga) - along with my husband and quite a few other men - and it kicks our butts. Our heart-rates get elevated, our muscle strength is tested, and yes it helps our flexibility too. I've lifted (heavy - including deadlifts) for 15 years, and I still lift. But adding yoga changed my body a lot. My husband lifts and does marathons, and he too can't say enough about the positive improvements in his fitness since he started yoga. As for the progression, I have yet to find a pose that I can't make more challenging by in some way. Sometimes it's about balance, sometimes it's about strength by removing a supporting limb... but I disagree with you saying that you only train for muscle endurance after an initial adaptation. You've tried one class (and I can't wait to read about it tomorrow) - if that style isn't for you, try another!

    January 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Doug

    Tony - I always thought only girly-men did yoga, but during my 90 day tour of P90X - Thursday was 1.5 hour yoga day with roughly 45 minutes of dynamic poses??? and 45 minutes of static, balance poses (which I throughly sucked at). The results started me looking into other things - which ultimately lead me to mobilization/flexibility movements that you are so fond of and that I am so thankful for. The only part of P90x that I still do - the yoga dvd & only in the privacy of my own home -with the shades pulled tight. Cause we all know yoga is for sissies.

    January 9, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Allie

    I honestly feel like beginning yoga is nothing. It is equivalent to sitting on the couch, lying down and "stretching out" in various positions as you roll around on the cushions. BUT, if you get into it, it can be extremely hard core! In a completely different way than weightlifting (or whatever.) This is very advanced stuff, and I think, the equivalent of strength of beastskills type movements! Just not fast/powerful. Slow/controlled is HARDER! I'll never get into yoga because I don't have that much patience. I like fast/powerful/strong better. Just saying.

    January 10, 2012 at 9:03 am | Reply to this comment

  • liz

    Any chance there is a place to find the 4 Things Your Girlfriend Should Know article now?

    January 10, 2012 at 10:39 am | Reply to this comment

  • Matias

    Big Tone, I've taken yoga before. I've felt good doing and it's a lot harder than it looks. With that being said I've also realized that it's not for most people because most people are unbalanced in their musculature. I've seen two people doing the exact same pose and knew that one of them was destroying their back. Yoga will not help you attain proper posture or mobility if you don't already have it. It can actually make it worse.

    January 10, 2012 at 10:41 am | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Yep, I agree. While I was in the class, I watched many of the other students and couldn't help but cringe at times. It's like you say, however, taking yoga won't necessarily make you more flexible. The body is going to go through the path of least resistance. If you have a stiff hips and a horrible t-spine mobility, where is the body going to get it's ROM??........the lumber spine. There were plenty of women who demonstrated they could do the poses. But many struggled and forced through it anyways. Not good.

      January 12, 2012 at 8:25 am | Reply to this comment

  • Michael Wolf

    Long time lurker, first time commenter - love your blog, Tony! I'm in just about the same category as you - I've had issues with the way Yoga is marketed since I was first exposed to it, but also recognized that it does have some potential benefits to it. Not enough benefits, though, that I've ever taken a class myself. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts after taking a class.

    January 10, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply to this comment

  • First read list of the year. | Hey Joob!

    [...] Is Juicing Worth It? 4 Things You Can Do Today to be More Awesome Tony Takes a Yoga Class: Part I and Part [...]

    January 12, 2012 at 6:43 am | Reply to this comment

  • Domenic

    Im sure its been said on this thread or the previous articles' but we all know glutes and hammys need strength and stretching them out can cause some pretty serious problems. Raise your hand if your a trainer and you have trained a woman with no posterior chain stiffness due to yoga! Funny how my back and hips dont ache after sitting for a long time after doing these deadlifts... hmm...

    January 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Noctran

    I enjoyed the article Tony, and agree with what you have said about what you got out of your session. I think that yoga's benefits are also a mind connection with your body/spirit. Now the studio that you attend may not practice that aspect of the art but i believe that its a huge benefit to the practice and maybe why its more appealing to the women. Not saying that there is a mind/spirit connection to exercise in general because i believe there is but depending on the style of yoga itself you may not have received those benefits from it. Breathing and meditation are very beneficial to recovery and compliment any work out. Maybe there are some other styles out there that may interest your yoga curiosity a bit more. Just thought i would throw my 2 bits in and glad your open minded enough to give it a try and write this great article.

    January 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply to this comment

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, we're definitely going to try out Bikram at some point. I'm interested in what it would feel like to perform in a 120 degree room. On an aside, I went again yesterday (same class, same instructor), and there were TWO others guys in the class. What's more, she actually corrected me on a pose this time. Maybe I smelled less funky?

      January 16, 2012 at 8:14 am | Reply to this comment

  • Shared Wisdom: Jan 15, 2011, Exercise Edition

    [...] Tony Takes A Yoga Class, Part 1 (Tony Gentilcore) – Tony’s take on yoga is similar to mine [...]

    January 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply to this comment

  • My Friday Five 1/19/12 @ Elevate Your Performance

    [...] Tony Takes a Yoga Class Part I and Tony Takes a Yoga Class Part II by Tony Gentilcore – Two entertaining, informative, and flat-out-awesome articles on a strength coach venturing into a yoga studio. A must read for all Yoga fanatics and haters. [...]

    January 20, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply to this comment

  • Cobra- You’re Doing it Wrong | The Dance Training Project

    [...] touched on in a few of his (highly entertaining) articles, namely, Tony Takes a Yoga Class, part 1 and part 2. Yoga is often marketed to women as a way to “detox”, “tone”, and [...]

    July 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Reply to this comment

  • I have a confession! | A & L Systems

    [...] idols Tony Gentilcore did a series of on Yoga a while back which I highly recommend reading (Part 1, Part 2). Jamie Lewis had an article on his seriously not safe for work (NSFW) site, which tackled [...]

    January 20, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply to this comment

  • Fitlete – Yoga the Cure!…or the Problem?

    [...] [...]

    July 27, 2013 at 10:18 am | Reply to this comment

Leave a Comment