Is yoga exercise?

Well, it looks pretty. But once people start practicing yoga, they seem to do it everywhere.
Is yoga exercise? You're just standing around striking a pose and breathing.

Seriously. Everywhere. Thankfully, yoga is good for your balance.

Looks pretty, good for your balance, but it's just standing around, right? I mean, I could do that at a mall. (Maybe not some of the poses... they might call Security...)

Why is it considered exercise? I can see that it develops balance and can help with stress reduction. What I can't see is how it qualifies as exercise. I'm not trying to act like I'm wearing the CrankyPants; I just don't get it.

In fact, I think this calls for a chart. I figure if yoga's exercise, then it burns a respectable amount of calories. Let's see what the chart has to say about that:

The caloric estimates presume you have an average metabolism, weigh 70 kg (154), and perform the exercise for 30 minutes.

According to the chart, yoga burns only slightly more calories than doing the dishes. To me, that's not a highly aerobic activity. (Plus, you still have a sink full of dirty dishes after you do the yoga.)

To an outsider, yoga looks mysterious and sometimes a little odd.

To someone well-versed in yoga, no doubt this pose makes sense.

Translating Yoga into English

Actually, this whole post is the fault of the Fit Bottomed Girls. They did a review of AM/PM Yoga for Beginners that was the most enthusiastic review I've ever read on their site, and I've read a lot of good reviews on their site. They got me curious enough to overcome my innate yogic inertia and check out the DVD myself.

The nice thing about trying something out on a DVD is that no one is going to kick you out of the class because you're such an obvious doofus who doesn't belong. (Actually, I really doubt people would kick you out of a beginner's class for being a beginner, but that's always the traditional long-rooted fear of the clueless newbie.)

I have to confess that I found some of the instructions confusing. "Hug my heels with my elbows... without moving the elbows"?? I'm presuming that this instruction is supposed to create an intuitive reaction, of the mind rather than the body, i.e. I'm supposed to encourage my elbows to feel huggy toward my heels. If it's anything more concrete than that, then I'm totally lost.

Is a plank a pose where I'm supposed to become stiff and rigid? (And apt to become warped if left out in the rain)?

I did feel energetic afterwards, but that might have been due to the 2 cups of coffee I drank beforehand. Note to self: try this pre-caffeine.

Seriously. People are doing yoga everywhere...

Look, I'm not saying yoga is evil. I can see that it would have some stress-relieving benefit, but shouldn't it be classified as therapy or something? Why is it grouped in with exercise classes? Taught at gyms? Dang it, people are even doing yoga at the mall. Why?

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