Love yoga, but also love hard workouts? With cardio yoga, you don’t have to choose.
If you prefer adding momentum to your warrior poses, love doing push-ups with your dog lying down, or crave the flow of Sun Salutations, this heart-pounding practice may become your new favorite workout.
Cardio yoga is any yoga that raises your heart rate into the “cardio zone,” taking your practice from relaxing stretches to one that helps you achieve your cardio goals.
Read on to find out if your practice counts and the benefits cardio yoga can offer, before deciding if it’s right for you.
What is cardio yoga?
“Cardio yoga would be any type of class that incorporates yoga asanas (poses) that increase your heart rate and challenge your cardiovascular system,” says Anne SwansonMS, C-IAYT, author of yoga science.
While you might not find classes explicitly labeled “cardio yoga,” forms like vinyasa flow and power yoga are fine. These types of yoga move quickly from one pose to another.
The pace of cardio yoga is faster than you’d expect from traditional yoga, but a well-designed class also includes rest periods to allow your heart rate to come down.
“It conditions your core to become stronger and more resilient,” Swanson says. (Just like a cycling class or an interval run.)
You may even find yourself doing plyometric moves, like jumping on a plank or jumping lunges, between yoga poses that test your strength and endurance.
“You’re probably going to sweat even if the room isn’t hot,” Swanson says.
What are the benefits of cardio yoga?
Yoga that gets your heart pumping is a time saver, counting as both a cardio workout and a flexibility and mobility practice. Your mind can also benefit.
We tend to associate slow, restorative yoga with stress reduction, but research shows you can reap the same benefits from a more intense practice.
In study published in the Journal of Health Psychology, women between the ages of 18 and 30 participated in hour-long sessions of power yoga or “stretch yoga,” a slow-paced yoga that focused on meditation, breathing exercises, and stretching. According to research, women who participated in the stretch yoga session as well as those who took the power yoga class experienced a significant reduction in stress.
Can cardio yoga help with weight loss?
Weight loss is a complicated equation with several variables including age, gender, genetics, nutrition, lifestyle, and physical activity.
No yoga class is a magic bullet, but cardio yoga, when paired with a healthy diet, can help you burn calories, which can help you achieve a calorie deficit and lose weight. over time.
Regular yoga practice can also increase your chances of long-term weight loss.
In a recent study, control group members enrolled in a behavioral weight loss program that included professional and peer support, a nutrition plan, and exercise counseling. The intervention group received the same resources, plus two 60-minute Iyengar yoga classes (a slower-paced form of yoga) per week.
According to the report, the yoga group lost significantly more weight (36 pounds versus 15 pounds) after six months. Yoga “also resulted in greater distress tolerance, mindfulness and self-compassion, and decreased negative affect.”
Is cardio yoga better than “normal” yoga?
No form of yoga is “better” than another; they all have their pros and cons. Your yoga practice should be based on your goals, level of experience, health, and preferences.
For example, someone looking for a challenging workout may find that a cardio yoga workout is the best choice for them. But if you’re experiencing high levels of stress, consider a slow or restorative class instead.
And if you have any health issues or injuries, check with your healthcare provider before adding cardio yoga or any new exercise to your routine. Once you’ve been given the green light, you may find it helpful to work with a certified yoga therapist who can answer questions, suggest modifications for certain yoga poses, and provide information, resources, and guidance.
Can beginners do cardio yoga?
If you’re just starting your yoga journey, start with a class designed for beginners before trying cardio yoga. Along with learning the names of many poses and how to enter them safely, a slower-paced class will also give you the opportunity to learn how to breathe properly, which is key to any yoga practice.
“A quick yoga class can be more challenging for a beginner who doesn’t yet know the moves or the safety guidelines,” Swanson says.
If you try a class that feels like cardio yoga and you feel a little over your head, listen to your body, adjust the pace as needed, and do what you can.
“Don’t be discouraged,” Swanson says. “Feel free to pause and visualize the movements.” The same advice applies to yogis of all experience levels.