Friday, August 05, 2005

lose weight & the velletri

"the slow stretches and meditations of yoga don't burn calories like a run on the treadmill. but a new study suggests it might help people keep weight off in middle age.

researchers found that overweight people in their 50s who regularly practiced yoga lost about five pounds over 10 years, while a group in the same age range gained about 13-1/2 pounds over the same period."

of course what this study documents is simply true, as any yoga student can testify no matter what your age. however, i do take issue with the "slow stretches" that supposedly "don't burn calories."

do these researchers always base their studies on a level 1 iyengar class? have they never seen the more common sweat-breaking jivamukti- or om-style vinyasa, nor the athletic ashtanga?

level 3 iyengar apparently does sun salutations that are even more rigorous and tumbly than ashtanga.

recently i watched renata smenda (you will always know her by that great brown mane and those fantastic arm, stomach and leg muscles on display in that pic!), a certified iyengar teacher at yoga people, demonstrate an advanced iyengar sun salute vinyasa -- which involved moving from up dog back to crocodile, leaping forward with the hips travelling high in the air to a ball, placing your head on the floor and doing a backwards summersault to down dog.

i've never seen an ashtangi do that trick -- for every repetition of the salute! she was moving at a constant medium pace, to the breath, and appeared to float through the air during the flow.

even tho' she wasn't leaping about frenetically, she was moving at a speed similar to a brisk walk, but never lost her co-ordinated breath. and of course her vinyasa appeared graceful, easeful throughout, like a ballet.

as yoga students can attest, this grace, ease, breath coordination and constant speed requires decent aerobic capacity and amazing strength, especially in the center of the body, as well as both a strong sense of balance and limb placement in space.

since you're moving backwards as well as forwards, you have to have a "sixth sense" of where your body is in space even when you can't see where you are going, and this is something a long-term yoga practice develops.

i'd also like to report another chemex success, this morning with the caffe d'arte velletri tim so sweetly sent me. i've long been recommending this wood-roasted, all-arabica coffee for those who like darker roasts.

usually i make it in the cafetiére, but actually i've decided i like it much better in the chemex. more yummy!

posted by fortune | 7:02 AM | top | link to this | email this: | links to this post | | 0 comments

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