High of 93 today, and by 5 o’clock the sun hits the closed studio window. It’s already 105 degrees inside. Inverted right feet slide down sweat-slick left legs, as two dozen bodies attempt Tadasana — tree pose.
Tadasana is the 11th in a 26-posture, 90-minute workout called Bikram. At 105-degree constant room temperature and 40 percent humidity, the class isn’t exactly your child’s pose yoga.
“I don’t want to say extreme, but it’s a significant amount of exercise,” said Brian Tracy, CSU associate professor in health and exercise science. “It’s quite different than your average yoga class at a health club.”
And it’s precisely why Tracy is interested in the practice, from a physiological standpoint.
In May, he presented findings from his recent research study, commissioned by the Bikram Yoga College of India.
The study was the first to quantify the amount of calories burned during one Bikram session, tracking the metabolic rate of 19 practitioners.
Some people have said they’ve burned 1,000 calories during a session, but Tracy said previous estimates had looked at participants’ heart rates, which are elevated by heat during the practice, and therefore unreliable. He discovered that actual calorie-burn was lower than those estimates; men on average burned 460 calories and women burned 330 calories in the 90-minute session.
“This isn’t any kind of bad news,” Tracy said. “This is an actual measurement. Plus it’s approximately equivalent to a brisk walk for 90 minutes.” Continue reading >>