Whether the energy cost of vinyasa yoga meets the criteria for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity has not been established.
To compare energy expenditure during acute bouts of vinyasa yoga and 2 walking protocols.
Participants (20 males, 18 females) performed 60-minute sessions of vinyasa yoga (YOGA), treadmill walking at a self-selected brisk pace (SELF), and treadmill walking at a pace that matched the heart rate of the YOGA session (HR-Match). Energy expenditure was assessed via indirect calorimetry.
Energy expenditure was significantly lower in YOGA compared with HR-Match (difference = 79.5 ± 44.3 kcal; P < .001) and SELF (difference = 51.7 ± 62.6 kcal; P < .001), but not in SELF compared with HR-Match (difference = 27.8 ± 72.6 kcal; P = .054). A similar pattern was observed for metabolic equivalents (HR-Match = 4.7 ± 0.8, SELF = 4.4 ± 0.7, YOGA = 3.6 ± 0.6; P < .001). Analyses using only the initial 45 minutes from each of the sessions, which excluded the restorative component of YOGA, showed energy expenditure was significantly lower in YOGA compared with HR-Match (difference = 68.0 ± 40.1 kcal; P < .001) but not compared with SELF (difference = 15.1 ± 48.7 kcal; P = .189).
YOGA meets the criteria for moderate-intensity physical activity. Thus, YOGA may be a viable form of physical activity to achieve public health guidelines and to elicit health benefits.