It's official. Yoga classes don't actually count as exercise and here's why.

The 6am yoga class. It’s up there with ‘clean behind the fridge’ for some of us in terms of how often we do it.

But if you’re the kind of person who counts yoga as part of your weekly exercise routine you might want to rethink that classification.

A team of academics have found yoga typically holds the kind of ‘light activity’ rating that is often given to practices such as cooking, shopping, doing the laundry, or even just standing.


Research drew upon 17 studies of yoga and energy expenditure in order to determine its intensity, finding that most work done in yoga classes fell under “light intensity”.

The findings were published in the academic journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

The classifications that guided researchers were drawn from the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association.

Moderate exercise included: walking briskly, water aerobics, slow bicycle riding and ballroom dancing.

is yoga exercise
Source: iStock.

Vigorous exercise included: swimming laps, running, heavy gardening and jumping rope.

But look, don't roll up your yoga mats just yet -- there can be many other benefits to doing yoga, including for your mental health.

And the type of yoga used in the research was the classically slow study of Hatha. Perhaps if they had looked at more intensive studies such as Vinyasa or Bikram the rating would have risen.

The rating certainly would have risen if they attended my last hot yoga class.

I'd rate that somewhere between the level of running 8km after a three month exercise hiatus and living death.