Is Yoga Aerobic?

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I’ve always been active, if only to cover the empty martini calories I drink and the once per week tater tot order I split with Mrs. T. I’m not big-boned at all.  In fact, I’ve got little skinny ankles and wrists.  It’s just that for most of my adulthood there’s been a lot of meat between the feet and the hands, and exercise has kept me from breaking the bathroom scale.  So when I made Mysore Ashtanga yoga my only form of exercise, I was curious as to how it would affect my aerobic capacity, my weight and my body.  I wish I’d done a full physical prior to starting so I’d have something to compare to, but to be perfectly honest, I really only thought I’d do the Ashtanga yoga for a month or two.  Too late; it’s now a year and a half later.

Prior to May 2011 when I began Mysore, I had done some form of exercise (or exorcise as I typically refer to it) six days a week for years.  The elliptical at the gym, circuit training on weight machines, spinning, a led yoga class here and there, walking, occasionally riding my bike or jogging.  And let’s be honest, I do mean jogging, not running.  Before Mysore, I probably went on a jog at least twice a week for 15 years.  I also did multiple 5K’s, eight Peachtree Road Races and a handful of other 10K’s.  Looking back at my Runkeeper stats, I was not really even a jogger, I trudged, and I was lucky to hit 12-minute miles.

Around mid-November of this past year, I started looking at all of the days we wouldn’t be having yoga class due to holidays or moon days and I decided to add trudging back into my life.  Would you believe that after doing only yoga for a year, I’ve cut my pace by a full minute?  I’m now averaging 11 minute miles. It’s true.  I’ve gone on more than ten jogs of over three miles each since Thanksgiving day and all but one were under 11 minutes and 30 seconds.  Today, in the spitting rain, I ran my fastest time at 10 minutes 30 seconds.  Probably because I wanted to get it over with.

But while my aerobic capacity has improved with yoga, my fellow runners’ attitudes have not.  Of the 20 plus runners that have passed me while I jog, only one has returned my wave, “hello”, or “good morning”.  Two people today even ignored my “happy new year”.  I’ve not mentioned the word resolution today until now, but perhaps I need to consider resolving to find peace (i.e., not say “bitch” or “asshole” under my breath) when people don’t return my greeting.  Or as Doc B would say, perhaps I should contemplate the five hindrances, specifically ill will, hatred and anger (or vyapada) and then move on to the Noble Eightfold Path including “right speech”, “right action”, and “right thought”.  What the heck, it’s worth a shot; what have I got to lose except some unhappiness and anger? 

It’s back to work tomorrow.  Probably wouldn’t hurt to ponder the Eightfold Path there too.

Happy New Year!

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