Fitness Fact Or Fiction: Will Yoga Make Me Long And Lean?

I’ve been asked this question and read it in headlines for what seems like an eternity! The truth is that the benefits provided by Yoga have long been misunderstood. Very misunderstood.

Many times I’ve heard people or fitness ‘pro’s say “Yoga will make you long and lean”. And I can say is NO IT WON’T!

Now before all the Yogis attack me, let me say Yoga is great and absolutely has a place in your program if you like it. I’ll talk about that more in a bit.

Suggesting that Yoga can change body types is crazy. If you’re a mesomorph (shorter, stocky, and a bit heavier), you’ll never be long and lean, although you can still look amazing and definitely get leaner. You have to ask yourself “what is this exercising asking of my body”.

Also worth mentioning is that during even the most intense Yoga class, you’ll only burn about 150 – 200 calories…max.

But the length of a given muscle and its attachments can’t be changed – they are what they are. Some people are blessed with long muscles that insert nearly right at the joint, while others may have shorter muscles that leave a bit of a gap. But when either group becomes leaner, they appear ‘longer’. It’s all about body fat. Haven’t you ever had a friend or family member that became sick and lost a lot of weight? They certainly looked long and lean right? But it wasn’t due to exercise. See my point?

I have a saying – Your Body Dictates The Exercise, The Exercise Doesn’t Dictate Your Body. In other words, do you think basketball players got tall from playing basketball or do they play basketball because they’re tall?  Michael Phelps is a champion swimmer because he was born with the body of fish, not because swimming made him that way.

And I believe the same to be true of Yoga participants. Whenever I look into a Yoga class, it’s predominantly made up of people that have long, lean bodies and great flexibility. That’s why they take Yoga! It’s human nature to gravitate towards the exercise you feel the most accomplished and able to perform. Most people don’t take classes or engage in exercise routines that don’t suit them or their body.

I also think that people who are serious about Yoga tend to also lead generally healthy lifestyles. Yoga isn’t just an exercises class, but first and foremost a culture, a way of life that includes healthy eating and taking care of your body. You know – ‘my body is a temple etc’. As such, more people in Yoga are thinner. Make sense?

With all that said I still say take a class if you want. Yoga is great and it’s a fantastic addition to your workout. You can use it for active recovery, mental clarity or perhaps to work on some mobility. Holding poses are can create quite a burn and really challenge you mentally.

Yoga will not slim you down, or make you smaller or less fat in any way.

Yoga making you long and lean is total FICTION!

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