Yoga Reduces Metabolic Rate. Harmful According To Peat?


Nov 7, 2013
So, I've been reading all about Buteyko, CO2, reduced breathing and such and I came across this study Apparently, according to this study, yoga and breathing restriction, as well as meditation, resulted in a significant fall in Basal Metabolic Rate. Now, I'm well aware that Ray Peat advocates hypermetabolism as a way to health and longevity. However, there are also numerous studies showing the beneficial effects of consistent meditation and yoga. From the view of a Peatarian, how can the benefits of yoga be reconciled with the anti-Peat effect of lowered metabolic rate?


Sep 22, 2013
This is purely conjecture, but I wouldn't be surprised if a high percentage of those in the "yoga group" in that study were vegetarian/vegan, or had been for some extended period in their adult lives, perhaps contributing to a chronic low metabolic rate.


The Law & Order Admin
Jan 4, 2012
loess said:
This is purely conjecture, but I wouldn't be surprised if a high percentage of those in the "yoga group" in that study were vegetarian/vegan, or had been for some extended period in their adult lives, perhaps contributing to a chronic low metabolic rate.
I wonder if what happens is the yoga and meditating lower adrenaline, cortisol and such so that it uncovers an already broken metabolism that was hidden due to stress hormones. Pure speculation on my part.


Oct 14, 2012
So many variables could be involved, I have seen teachers, including indians, teaching methods that I think are mistaken, for example emphasising kapalabhati, yoga can undoubtedly modify metabolism both raising it and slowing it, if the practice is sound the lowered metabolism should be both voluntary and adaptive allowing for a withdrawl of sensation from bodily processes allowing for periods of suspend animation, see stories of yogis surviving being buried alive for a month or longer.
An emphasis on kapalabhati or even slow but unnecessarily deep (large amplitude) breathing that might even manifest as a reduced number of breaths per minute, could still mean loss of CO2 and decreased metabolism.

From that study its difficult to see whats going on, also I only glanced over it, from personal experience I will be continuing my yoga practice irrespective of any studies.


Feb 20, 2013
If you really want to understand Ray Peat's claims through science
you have to read his articles and read conventional views on particular topic.
He explains everything in detail with proper scientific citations.
just picking single study to find contradiction is not useful.
Every study i have seen on yoga and meditation mentions lowering of
stress hormones, particularly cortisol. The study you cited did not.
Increase in co2 is another common finding in yoga related studies.
Lowering of cortisol will reveal real metabolism. For most people
cortisol is masking their low metabolism. This study found
female( 18 %) had higher drop in BMR than male (8 %).
Female are more likely to have lower thyroid function due to to high estrogen.
Low thyroid function means high cortisol in most people.
RP has also mentioned that increased co2 has many health benefits and
he mentioned tai chi in his article, same benefits for any kind of exercise that increases co2.
"In ancient China the Taoists were concerned with longevity, and according to Joseph Needham (Science and Civilization in China) their methods included the use of herbs, minerals, and steroids extracted from the urine of children. Some of those who claimed extreme longevity practiced controlled breathing and tai chi (involving imagery, movement, and breating), typically in the early morning hours, when stress reduction is most important. As far as I know, there are no studies of carbon dioxide levels in practitioners of tai chi, but the sensation of warmth they typically report suggests that it involves hypoventilation."


Apr 13, 2016
I decided to do my own experiment on different yoga poses because I noticed a feeling of warmth in my extremities after doing some stretching in my hips and groin. I wanted to see if it could acutely raise my pulse or body temperature.

After breakfast, reading some Peat articles, and taking a hot shower, my temp was 96.8. As I'm still hypothyroid, I'm not the best case, but maybe this will be helpful for people in a similar situation to me.

I then did a control experiment. I laid flat on my back on the floor for 5 minutes, doing nothing in particular. I was kind of bored, actually. I tested my temp again at 97.1. My pulse was 80. I figured that maybe my metabolism was raised from breakfast or the shower, so I laid on my back for 5 minutes longer. I started to feel sleepy and relaxed. I tested my temp again, and it was 97.7 with a pulse of 84.

Now it seems like my control wasn't acting like I expected it to, but I decided to see how some stretching would affect my temps. While laying on my back, I placed the soles of my feet together and let my knees hang to the sides. This stretched my groin and opened up my hips. I felt a warmth in my head. After 3 minutes of this, I couldn't do any more, so I checked my temp. It had gone down to 97.4. I think that the warmth was probably blood pooling from the inversion.

Then I did some stretching of my back. Bending back (cobra pose), forward (plow, forward bend), side to side (side bend), and twist (sitting spinal twist). I checked my temp again, and it was 97.1. It went down again.

Another 5 minutes of relaxing while lying on my back, and sleep was passing over me in waves, relaxing me. I felt good. My temp went up to 97.5. My pulse was
80. After 10 minutes of reading other Peatists' experiences with Yoga, some good some bad, my temp was still 97.6.

@Such_Saturation once suggested a hormetic effect of Yoga asanas. There's certainly no acute increase in metabolic rate, though I do get that with deep breathing and relaxation.

Calorie restriction can promote longevity. Fasting, combined with stressful states like sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, intense exercise like dancing can create a state of "out-of-bodyness", but I don't think that this is particularly health-promoting. I think that Eastern practices like Yoga, Tai Chi, traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, etc. are a mixed bag, and need to be evaluated individually based on their merits.
May 26, 2016
I wonder if what happens is the yoga and meditating lower adrenaline, cortisol and such so that it uncovers an already broken metabolism that was hidden due to stress hormones. Pure speculation on my part.

This sounds likely to me.


Nov 27, 2017
I read the now deleted pranarupa posts on this with interest. Am so profoundly sick that activity generally runs the risk of making me a lot worse, but am curious about slow pranayama. I have done fast pranayama (hyperventilatory) and it made me worse. But bag breathing helps some so i wonder about slow pranayama since im too sick to do asanas. Also am curious about mantras. Used to be a musician/sound artist b4 life ruining illness so im open to the idea of sound having intense effects, however i dont have enervy to play instrument or do concentrated musical practice any more.


Nov 27, 2017
The effect of long term combined yoga practice on the basal metabolic rate of healthy adults . This study showed overall reduced metabolism but note this:
"In contrast to the reduced physiological and metabolic activity observed during meditation and relaxation posture types of asana, pranayamas and other specific asanas could acutely increase the metabolic rate. An increase of 19% in oxygen consumption has been observed during the practice of one type of pranayama called the Ujjayi Pranayama [9]. Breathing through a particular nostril, while performing the Surya Anuloma Viloma (right nostril breathing), has been shown to increase oxygen consumption by 28% [7]. Other specific asanas can also increase the metabolic rate transiently over the short term [10,11]. The increase in oxygen consumption during these yogic practices is due the muscular activity associated with the posture assumed during the asana, or due to an increase in voluntary deep inhalation and exhalation during the pranayama [9]."

I'm going to try and focus on some of those slow pranayamas, especially ujjayi, sounds like done right it increases metabolism
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