If you believe gossip magazines then you may think yoga is all you need to get a long and lean body. Yoga can be a great supplement to any fitness program, but it is not enough by itself. No exercise regimen can make your muscles longer, and the key to leanness is burning more calories than you take in. In fact, unless you take a power yoga class where you move quickly from one posture to the next, then you will not burn many calories in yoga.
This is not to disparage yoga; it has many benefits, including increased flexibility and reduced stress. Research has shown that regular participants can reduce their blood pressure and cholesterol. You do not need to be flexible to take yoga; in fact, those who are inflexible will probably benefit most. Yoga is not a religion, but it does have a strong spiritual component. Some instructors stress the spiritual more than others; you may need to try several classes to find your comfort level. A good instructor is crucial; many postures need to be taught with modifications for those with physical or health issues. Unfortunately, anyone can say he or she is a yoga instructor. There are no requirements for training or certification. Find out the instructor’s qualifications before you take a class; quality training programs require at least 200 hours of practice and instruction. A good instructor will help you attain the physical and mental benefits yoga can give.