Don’t get me wrong here. Fast Moving Asana Practices such as varying Power Yogas can be a great cardio workout and also build a warrior type discipline & confidence since when you’re moving fast, there is often not time to align the pose perfectly, you must align quickly to get the most of each pose. It is great for warmup in any class and even good for peaking right before a slowdown. I use fast moving asana for these reasons in many, many of my own classes. I am not anti-cardio.
Fast Moving Asana (with holds of 10 seconds or less) is great at working muscle.
But Yoga, even from a pure physical point of view, can work more. “Like What?” you might ask, “Muscle stretch, Muscle engage, muscle align… sounds good to me.” Yes, that is good, but there is the issue of the fuzz.
Specifically, your fuzz….
Holding poses for 10 seconds does little to completely melt the fuzz. That fuzz grows every night of your life. If it didn’t, your knuckles would drag on the ground by your 18th birthday. To clean out the fuzz like Gil’s hand in the video, you’ll often need a sustained stretch of at least 15 – 20 seconds, and for the really tough spots (2 weeks, 1 months, or years of fuzz) longer.
Many times a good 30 second pose for each major part of the body will do the trick, but to clear out the thick fuzz that’s turned to chunks of white tissue, it takes sustained holds of 1 minute, 2 minutes… of 5 minutes.
There’s are entire styles of yoga dedicated to these long, slow holds: Yin, Kripalu, and Restorative to name a few. The philosophy goes like this: The more stable the tissue the longer the hold and the lower the amount of pressure needs to be. Imagine trying to change your teeth. (Very thick/stable tissue: bone mounted in bone). You would not try to pull each tooth real hard for 10 seconds. You would end up pulling all your teeth out! To change your teeth, you would apply for less pressure over a longer period of time (braces)… and to work into the fuzz that has turned to slabs of fascia, gentler poses for sustained periods of time.