Monday, July 22, 2024

We Need to Talk About That “Perfect Match” Yoga Convo

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The men on “Perfect Match” Season 2 have a knack for being wrong. In just eight episodes, we’ve watched them scream, lie, and quite literally throw up with guilt. But among the drama kings and self-proclaimed gaslighters, we feel one stone remains unturned. Interestingly enough, it has less to do with backstabbing and more to do with…yoga?

For those new to the series, “Perfect Match” unites former contestants from all walks of the Netflix universe — think, “Love Is Blind,” “Dated & Related,” and “Too Hot to Handle.” Each night, the cast members must “couple up” with the person they view as their “perfect match,” or risk elimination. The hastily-made couples go on dates, compete in compatibility challenges, and tolerate the chaos that ensues when new singles enter the mix. At the end of the show, the couple voted the “perfect match” by the rest of the cast wins an all-expenses-paid vacation with their new partner.

Just 20 minutes into the first episode, Bryton Constantin (“Squid Game: The Challenge”) swaggers his way into a match with Dominique Defoe (“Too Hot to Handle”). Defoe is an incredibly interesting person — an engineering major, with a background in pre-professional ballet, and bright personality. Constantin does his best to ignore this.

“Yoga is not a workout, don’t let that sh*t lie.”

Moments after coupling up, the two have their first argument, and it’s impressively infuriating. “So you don’t work out at all, or no?” Constantin asks Defoe. She responds, “I do yoga,” and Constantin inexplicably starts seeing red. “Yoga is not a workout, don’t let that sh*t lie,” he tells her, prompting eyerolls nationwide. “Oh, I can’t stand you,” Defoe says.

The yoga argument gets so heated, both voices can eventually be heard from other contestants’ rooms. We hear snippets of Constantin’s talking points, including, “Nobody on the face of this Earth with an actual normal brain . . .” and “You’re not a middle-aged mom.” In an attempted “gotcha” moment, Constantin asks Defoe if she sees bodybuilders doing yoga, to which she responds, “I don’t see bodybuilders doing anything but eating chicken and f*cking rice!” In the end, Defoe has to physically walk away from the argument — but that doesn’t stop Constantin from getting the last word. “Yoga is yoga, working out is working out.”

For any and all viewers screaming at their TVs, let’s get one thing straight: yoga is most definitely a workout. For starters, there are many different kinds of yoga — some of the most popular ones in Western fitness spaces include:

  • Vinyasa: This style links movement with breath to create a sense of flow. Vinyasa practices tend to move at a faster pace, and have been shown to improve physical fitness in terms of strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  • Hatha: Hatha yoga aims to balance the energies of the sun and moon. Although “Hatha” is sometimes used as a more general term in yoga, it’s often a bit slower than a style like Vinyasa.
  • Bikram: Here, high levels of heat and humidity help increase circulation and stretch muscles further. Bikram yoga can lead to improved range of motion, balance, and overall strength.
  • Kundalini: This type of yoga seeks to build awareness, utilizing breathwork, chanting, and repetitive sequences. Because the focus is less physical, the primary benefits are cognitive and emotional.
  • Yin: In Yin yoga, each pose is held for several minutes, lowering anxiety, helping with sleep, and even reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

When we talk about a workout, the current physical activity guidelines for Americans state that adults should aim for 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic exercise, by the Cleveland Clinic’s definition, is rhythmic and repetitive in nature — increasing your heart rate, utilizing large muscle groups, and reducing your risk of health problems. It’s clear then that many yoga classes meet these recommendations, so long as they’re moderately intense, and performed at least 150 min per week.

Technicalities aside, we know this wasn’t really Constantin’s point (although we’re having a hard time finding it). As evidenced by a recent TikTok, Constantin’s main argument seems to be that exercise is only legitimate if it packs on muscle. But there are tons of different types of legitimate exercises and building muscle isn’t the only validating credential.

Another news flash: Yoga can build muscle, particularly when practicing progressive overload, according to the International Sports Sciences Association. “Each yoga pose requires that you engage a specific muscle or muscle group to hold proper form. Going through specific sequences also boosts strength as you transition from one pose to the next,” per the ISSA. It also offers up a form of low-impact exercise, too. Had he remembered Defoe’s training in pre-professional ballet — which is notoriously hard on joints — he might have understood why a low-impact option like yoga appealed to her.

Following the show, Constantin doubled down on his statement via another TikTok, demonstrating his ability to google “yoga definition” in real time. He then reminded the internet that he never said yoga has no benefits . . . just that it’s not a workout. “When I think of a workout, I don’t think of meditation and relaxation,” he says in the video. “I focus on murdering myself in the gym.” Thankfully, we now know this is not objective criteria for what is considered a workout.

Beyond the fact that Constantin’s definition of “workout” is almost completely anecdotal, his relentless determination to discredit someone’s chosen form of physical activity is arguably more concerning. Endless research continues to show how different forms of yoga benefit both the mind and body, helping with helping with chronic pain, blood pressure, anxiety, and yes, muscle strength. Based on what we’ve seen so far, it seems like Constantin could probably use a class or two.

Chandler Plante is an assistant editor for PS Health & Fitness. Previously, she worked as an editorial assistant for People magazine and contributed to Ladygunn, Millie, and Bustle Digital Group. In her free time, she overshares on the internet, creating content about chronic illness, beauty, and disability.

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