Yep, that’s right. I read on the Yoga Journal today that P. Murali Doraiswamy, M.D. appeared on a segment of CBS This Morning claiming that ‘If there was a drug that could mimic the effects of yoga, it would probably be the world’s best-selling drug’. You all know that while I think there are many myths surrounding Yoga’s ‘long and lean’ producing benefits, I’m a fan and think it has great value in a complete exercise program.

The good doctor goes on to champion his cause saying Yoga’s benefits, in addition to relaxation, also include helping those with ‘mild depression, insomnia and ADHD.’  And he say’s ‘It affects virtually every tissue and every system in our body.’ Ok. I’ll agree somewhat. But how is that different than any other form of exercise? To each his own right?

I think what bothers me most about these statements is that Mr. Doctor says studying Yoga should be a national priority! Yes you did read that right, he did say it. My response is… no, studying health, nutrition and complete fitness should be a national priority.

Look I like Yoga, I’m not great at it and I don’t perform it often enough (probably why I’m not great) but there’s no doubt other forms of exercise produce the same, different and in their own ways, better benefits. Intense exercise absolutely has a profound effect on mood and a sense of well-being. Weight lifting, running, HIIT, cycling etc., all support endorphin and dopamine release within the brain and feelings of euphoria. In over 20 years of being a personal trainer and fitness enthusiast, I’ve never heard of someone raving about their ‘Yoga high’.

And yes a regular exercise program consisting of various forms of exercise also helps relieve anxiety, lessen a depressive mood and help make people feel good about themselves. It’s not just Yoga that’s good for your mind and body.

Dr. D goes on to say that ‘By and large, yoga seems to be very promising. Promising for whom? How is it any more promising than a varied exercise routine with many modalities? And since he’s selling Yoga so hardcore, what about all of the other benefits from other modes of exercise? Are they of no value? His lecture makes Yoga sound like the end all be all of exercise? We all know that’s not true.

I think if the Doc had just referenced ‘exercise’ in general I’d be ok. But to suggest we as a nation need to study Yoga is silly in my opinion. I don’t know about you, but if I all I did was Yoga I’d be seriously depressed. And as far as drugs mimicking a workout go, make a pill that makes me feel like I just finished benching 315, curled 135 and squatted 405 for 20 reps and I’ll wait in line all day!

But that’s just me.

What do you think? Should studying Yoga be a national priority?

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