Dear Yoga: I'm Sorry About What I Said




The Journal of the American Dietetic Society came out with a study this month, claiming that practicing yoga has been linked to mindful eating and thus to keeping fit.

Goodie, I thought. Now I can apologize properly to all the people who protested that yes, damn it, yoga really is exercise. Then I looked closer at the study.

Um... or maybe not.

I mean, come on.
It's a questionnaire.
28 questions.
300 humans: 90% female and 80% white

How the heck can I apologize based on this study? It's too small of a sample study for me to use it as the basis of anything. I agree 100% with the researchers that "Further evaluation in more diverse populations is warranted." (I've read a lot of studies and very, very few of them did not end with a similar sentence.)

So I'll apologize based on my personal experience. When science lets us down, we at Cranky Fitness go for anecdotal experience as a last resort. (At least, I do. Crabby has higher standards.)

In the spirit of the great Charlotte (of The Great Fitness Experiment), I tried my own fitness experiment. I followed the Element AM/PM Yoga for Complete Beginners DVD mornings and evenings for a period of three weeks. (Then I had to go do a road trip which did not allow enough time for an entire half-hour each morning and evening devoted to following a DVD.)


Because I want to sound like I know what I'm doing be more like the guys in white coats who get paid huge amounts of cash to post these studies, I put together a questionnaire.

My results are presented below.

Q:Merry, did you like doing yoga?
A: Not at first. But after I finished each session, I noticed that I was in a good mood. And the morning good-moodiness extended into my day at work, while the evening g-m helped me get to sleep more easily. (In itself, an amazing feat. I have me some probs with insomnia.)

Q: Merry, did you feel like you were getting a workout when you did yoga?
A: Again, not at first. Some poses, I had to let my arms carry a lot of my body weight, and hell yeah I felt that while I was in the pose, though not afterwards. But what I got from doing this was a sense that I was part of my body. And I think that I might enjoy a more vigorous form of yoga as well.


Q:Um... what do you mean you felt like you were part of your body? Is your head normally not attached to the rest of you?
A: Well, it might as well be unattached. Usually my mind is off thinking what I have to get done today, what's for dinner, why the guy in Accounting is being so annoying at the weekly meetings, what would I do if I won the Lottery tomorrow... things like that. My mind is rarely focused on the physical body that carries it around so patiently. Doing yoga makes me feel more integrated, mind-and-body united. I know that sounds kinda metaphysical, but it is fitness related. If I'm listening to my body, I'm much more likely to go out there and exercise rather than sitting at a computer playing Free Rice. Thus, my conclusion: if yoga isn't (strictly speaking) exercise, it is an aid to exercise and therefore to be recommended.

Survey details

The CFQ (Cranky Fitness Questionnaire) was distributed to one sample between June 2009 and July 2009, with an overall response rate of 100% (n=1). Participant was woman (100%) and Celtic (100%), and had a mean age of 17 um... 23 oh heck, 45±a few years. Multiple regression analysis would have been used to measure associations of demographic characteristics, obesity, yoga practice, and physical activity with CFQ scores if there had been more than one participant.

But hey! The results were 100%!


Have you performed any one-person research studies?



Woman on the Beach photo credit:


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