How can Yoga be a cardio workout? Here’s how.

Yoga isn’t a cardio workout is it? Holding a pose for ages, breathing deeply or lying on your back isn’t going to make you burn calories or break into a sweat is it? You need spinning, aerobics, Body Attack or Body Combat for that don’t you?

Well you might be surprised. There are so many different styles of yoga. Some are gentle and controlled and do focus more on breathing and relaxation. But if you want sweat, aching arms and legs, and a faster heart rate you can find a yoga class that will deliver that for you.

Getting a cardio work out is important for health and weight-loss goals. So look out for the following types of yoga:


These are much more rigorous styles of yoga and bring much more cardio to the practice than a gentle Hatha yoga class.

How can Yoga be a cardio workout?
photo credit: lululemon athletica via photopin cc

The heated room in Bikram yoga will certainly raise your heart rate a bit.

But the real cardio work in a yoga class, especially an Ashtanga or Power yoga class is the Vinyasa.

It’s a little sequence that you perform between each pose. You jump back into a plank position with straight arms and a flat back and immediately lower yourself down into a tricep dip (the pose has a fabulous name – Chaturanga Dandasana – four limbed staff pose in English).

From there you move into upward facing dog pose and then push back into downward facing dog pose.

You are then ready to step into the next set of moves.

In a class you might perform that Vinyasa up to 50 times. That’s 50 planks, 50 tricep low push ups. It’s going to get the heart rate up and it’s going to help you burn calories.

Some people miss out the Vinyasa. But If you want cardio then do them all.

So yoga can be a cardio workout if you want it to be. And it will strengthen and tone your body too.

I’ve delighted in seeing people breathless and sweating in a good intense power yoga class. It works. And it makes you look forward to that relaxation bit at the end.

Over to you: What’s for favourite type of yoga for getting a good cardio workout? What extra steps do you take to increase the intensity? Please share your thoughts. Leave a comment.

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