Yoga emphasising cardiovascular fitness is known as “cardio yoga.” Those who want the stress-relieving effects of yoga but prefer a more rigorous practice have helped propel its rise in popularity. Many people have reported positive effects from practising yoga, including increased flexibility, improved breathing and energy, injury prevention, stress relief, weight loss, and improved mental clarity.
Additionally, yogis of any fitness level can benefit from practising yoga. The same holds for cardiovascular training, so combining the two into a single workout is fantastic.
All the information you need to know about cardio yoga is here: the routines, the advantages, and the comparisons to other cardio activities.
What Is Cardio Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that uses breathing exercises, postures, and meditation to raise awareness and calm the mind. The practice has gained popularity worldwide because of its beneficial effects on stress, sleep, mental and emotional health, and low back and neck problems.
Hatha yoga is the most common type of yoga and is used as a catch-all word for the various branches of yoga that place a focus on physical postures. Hatha yoga is the foundation for more dynamic styles like Ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga.
Different styles of yoga may vary in the speed, order, and complexity of their physical postures, but none of them are often considered cardiovascular or aerobic. This is because the emphasis is placed on body flow, breathing methods, and postures as opposed to high-intensity, high-heart-rate dynamic movements. To push your cardiovascular system and get your blood pumping, a cardio yoga workout has you moving through a series of yoga postures and breathing exercises at a faster rate and in a more continuous flow.
Why Is Cardio Exercise Necessary In The First Place?
“Cardio” is a broad category of exercises designed to raise and maintain a high heart rate. When you breathe more rapidly and deeply, you force your respiratory system to work harder. Increased oxygen and endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers) will be delivered to your muscles when your blood vessels dilate. There is no limit to the list of positive effects that this form of exercise may have on your body and mind.
- Manage your weight: According to the CDC, there is substantial evidence that 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio each week will aid in long-term weight maintenance.
- Ward off heart disease: The risk of cardiovascular disease can be lowered by engaging in regular aerobic exercise.
- Mood improvement: It won’t come as a surprise to learn that cardiac activity boosts your mood and overall happiness. Endorphins are natural painkillers that are boosted by cardiovascular exercise.
- Live longer: Aerobic exercise is associated with a longer lifespan.
Balancing Yoga And Cardio Exercise
Yoga expert suggests two cardiovascular yoga practices. You can utilise yoga as a balance to complement your cardio workout or take an aggressive, quick-paced vinyasa yoga flow that gets your heart beating and acts as its cardio workout. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) combines cardiovascular exercise (cardio) with yoga (weighted movement). Try alternating between two yoga positions with each breath to increase the challenge.
Specific Cardio-Yoga Exercises
Some of my favourite yoga poses that can be included in a cardiovascular routine are as follows:
Mountain Pose To Low Squat To Mountain Pose
Start by erecting a tall, tall stance with feet hip-width apart and toes pointed outward. Please take a deep breath and stand tall; then, as you let it out, crouch down. Stay higher, hands on knees, if you’re experiencing knee pain. If you feel no discomfort in your knees, lower yourself until your elbows touch your inner thighs and your hips hover off the floor. Maintain a firm footing, if you can.
Take a deep breath in and get to your feet. As you let your breath out, crouch down. Start with ten reps and work your way up to 20. The hamstrings and glutes get a workout, the heart rate stays up, and the body temperature stays consistent thanks to this exercise.
Runner’s Lunge Hop Switch
To assume the runner’s lunge position, step forward with your right foot while bringing your left knee up to meet it. It would help if you crossed your right ankle over your knee. Position your hands so that they are next to your right foot. Lengthen forwards at the spine. Put your hands on the ground for support (blocks can help).
As you inhale, come into a runner’s lunge on the left side by lifting your hips, hopping your right foot back, and planting your left foot forwards. The next step is to jump your right foot in front of your left, putting you in Runner’s Lunge. Try synchronising your motion with your breathing when you’ve mastered hopping and switching.
Take a deep breath in, hip-lift, and hop. Then, after an exhalation, come down into a lunge (balancing on the balls of your feet). Keep going briskly for the next ten rounds, always finishing on your left foot. Start with ten reps and work your way up to 20. This exercise results from stretching and strengthening the hip flexors while keeping the heart rate up. In addition, it helps improve agility and builds core strength.
Twisting Chair Pose
Put your big toes together and stand up straight. Take a deep breath out and relax into Chair Pose. The prayer stance involves bringing the hands to the chest. Check if your knees are even and together by looking at your feet. Keep your legs in a Chair stance throughout the entire sequence. Exhale as you square your knees and hips forward and rotate to the right so your left elbow almost touches your right outer knee.
Keep your hands at your heart as you spin back and centre from the chair posture on an inhale. While keeping the knees and hips squared forward, exhale and rotate to the left so that your right elbow almost touches your left outer knee. Relax and return to your seat (centre) with a deep breath. Ten times total, five on each side, to warm up. The oblique and transverse abdominis core muscles are activated as the hamstrings, outer hips, inner thighs, and glutes are strengthened.
Add Upward Facing Dog To Burpees
To begin, please stand. Put your hands on the ground and spring back into a push-up position with your legs. Keep your hips and shoulders level while drawing in your tummy. As you let your breath out, come into a half-push-up position with your elbows tucked close to your ribs. As you inhale, flip your foot over so that the top of your foot is resting on the mat.
Then, to achieve Upward Facing Dog, draw your chest forwards while letting your hips drop, and your arms straighten, elevating your chest. Hop forward and stand up from the half push-up position, then immediately perform a full push-up. After each burpee, say it again. This improves upper-body strength and maintains a vigorous heart rate.
Bridge Pose Rollups
Knees should be hip-width apart and directly over your ankles when lying on your back. Direct your toes forwards and up. Put your palms down next to your body and bring your arms close to your sides. While inhaling, get into Bridge Pose by slowly lifting your hips, then each vertebra from your low back up your spine, all the while maintaining your upper back and head down and your arms extending up and overhead.
While exhaling, bend forwards at the waist and lower your arms until your hips are resting on the floor. Ten times more. This moves the body from intense to restorative training by strengthening the back and opening the front.
Sun salutations are a set of movements meant to stimulate the nervous system and increase overall body temperature. They’re designed to work for the primary muscle groups while increasing the heart rate.
Knee To Nose
We’ll start with Downward Dog. Come down to all fours with your toes tucked under and your hips lifted. Relax your head and neck into a long line, and place your palms flat on the mat. Raise one leg parallel to the ground here. Keep the other heel flat on the floor. Bring your leg down and do the opposite leg. The Down Dog Split has been attained.
From a Down Dog Split position, bring your knee to your nose and stack your shoulders on your wrists. Kiss your knee while you engage your abs for maximum effect. This position strengthens the body in all the same ways as a Plank, but it also works the abdominal muscles that crunches can miss.
Starting with a push-up position on your forearms, hands, and toes, extend from the top of your head to the soles of your feet. Maintain an upright, flat back position with your core engaged. Stronger wrists, shoulders, chest, buttocks, spinal muscles, triceps, and neck are just a few benefits of practising plank posture regularly.
Exhale as you raise your arms overhead and drop your shoulders down your back. As you let your breath out, drop your hips and knees until you sit in a chair position. Reduce your seat height and put your weight onto your heels while lengthening your lower back and sitting tall through your chest. Keep it for as long as a minute. Chair posture raises core body temperature and engages important muscular groups such as the triceps, abs, deltoids, hamstrings, spine muscles, glutes, and lower legs.
First, bend your back knee to the floor to perform a Low Lunge. Put your hands in the air, your head. Hold your breath and go further forwards into your lunge. Exhale to come out, crossing your instep behind your other foot. Iterate on the reverse side. Crescent position, if you will.
A crescent pose with hips squared is the starting position. Keep your abdominals tight as you lean forwards. As you raise your rear leg, keep your arms extended in a parallel position and actively reach. Put your foot flexed and pretend to press against a wall. Lengthen from head to toe and maintain your eyes fixed a few feet in front of you as you do this. Remember to hold your breath for 30 seconds. Warrior 3 is the pinnacle of all energising and extending poses.
High-Low Boat Pose
Put your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent so that you are sitting on your butt. Stretch out your arms and bring your palms near your shins. Take a deep breath in as you lean back and tighten your abs. Stretch your arms out past your knees in a straight line. Raise your feet off the ground and begin progressively straightening your legs to form a V with your body. Exhaling slowly and steadily, slowly lower yourself until your upper back and feet hover a few inches above the ground.
Lift your upper and lower body slowly while keeping your stomach tucked in against your spine and taking a deep breath. Iterate at least ten times. By striking this pose, you can improve your core strength, balance, and posture. Hip flexors and hamstrings both get a good stretch.
Therefore, these postures can be useful if you’re looking for a yoga practice rather than a standard aerobic workout. The best part is that you can complete them without leaving your house.
Compared To Other Cardio Workouts
The metabolic equivalent of task (MET) is a common tool scientists use to assess energy expenditure. The quantity of calories you burn while at rest is proportional to the amount of oxygen you take in, and this is what one MET measures. Compared to resting oxygen consumption (1 MET), oxygen consumption during vigorous physical activity (3 METs) is roughly three times higher.
Metabolic equivalents (METs) were measured in 17 studies, and they varied from 2 METs during a basic yoga class to 6 METs during Surya Namaskar. Cardio exercises and other yoga-inspired routines may be about as demanding as moderate elliptical training but less so than jogging at a moderate pace.
Surya Namaskar, an ancient Indian yoga practice, may aid in weight loss and muscle gain. Participants’ muscle strength during bench and shoulder presses increased by the study’s end.
However, there was no way to determine cause and effect because there was no control group.
Yoga, including more severe aerobic yoga practises, may be able to increase muscle strength and size, but this has yet to be conclusively shown.
Cardio yoga is an ancient Indian practice that emphasizes cardiovascular fitness, offering numerous benefits such as increased flexibility, improved breathing and energy, injury prevention, stress relief, weight loss, and improved mental clarity. It is a popular form of exercise that can be combined with cardiovascular training to achieve a more rigorous workout.
Hatha yoga, the most common type of yoga, is the foundation for more dynamic styles like Ashtanga, vinyasa, and power yoga. It emphasizes body flow, breathing methods, and postures rather than high-intensity, high-heart-rate dynamic movements. Cardio exercise is essential for various reasons, including weight management, heart disease prevention, mood improvement, and longer lifespan.
To balance yoga and cardio exercise, yoga experts suggest two cardiovascular yoga practices: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and a combination of yoga and cardio exercises. Some popular cardio-yoga exercises include Mountain Pose, Runner’s Lunge Hop Switch, Twisting Chair Pose, and Mountain Pose. These exercises help strengthen the hip flexors, improve agility, and build core strength.
Incorporating cardio yoga into your workout routine can help you achieve the stress-relieving effects of yoga while maintaining a high heart rate. By alternating between yoga and cardio exercises, you can achieve a balanced and effective cardiovascular workout.
In summary, these yoga poses can be beneficial for those seeking a more intense and restorative workout. Some popular variations include Upward Facing Dog to Burpees, Bridge Pose Rollups, Sun Salutations, Knee To Nose, Plank Pose, Chair Pose, Warrior 3, Low Lunge, High-Low Boat Pose, and High-Low Boat Pose. These poses can be done in various ways, such as standing, bending, squatting, and extending the body.
The metabolic equivalent of task (MET) is a tool used to assess energy expenditure, which is related to the amount of oxygen you take in during exercise. In 17 studies, METs varied from 2 METs during a basic yoga class to 6 METs during Surya Namaskar. Cardio exercises and yoga-inspired routines can be as demanding as moderate elliptical training but less so than jogging at a moderate pace.
Surya Namaskar, an ancient Indian yoga practice, has been shown to aid in weight loss and muscle gain, with participants’ muscle strength increasing during bench and shoulder presses. However, the cause and effect of these exercises have not been conclusively shown. Overall, these yoga poses can be beneficial for those seeking a more intense and restorative workout without leaving the house.
- Cardio yoga combines yoga with cardiovascular fitness for a rigorous practice.
- Cardio yoga offers stress relief along with intense physical activity.
- Increased flexibility is a reported benefit of yoga.
- Improved breathing and energy are associated with yoga practice.
- Yoga aids in injury prevention.
- Stress relief is a well-known outcome of yoga sessions.
- Weight loss can result from regular yoga practice.
- Improved mental clarity is a reported effect of yoga.
- Cardio yoga benefits individuals of all fitness levels.
- Combining yoga with cardiovascular training is advantageous.
- Comprehensive information about cardio yoga is provided.
- Yoga originated in ancient India and focuses on mindfulness.
- Yoga’s stress-relieving effects are recognized globally.
- Hatha yoga serves as the foundation for various yoga styles.
- Different yoga styles vary in pace and complexity.
- Cardio yoga includes dynamic movements and faster pace.
- Cardiovascular exercises raise heart rate and enhance endurance.
- Oxygen delivery to muscles increases during cardio exercise.
- Endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers, are released during cardio.
- Regular cardio contributes to weight management.
- Cardio exercise reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Mood improvement is a psychological benefit of cardio activity.
- Cardiovascular workouts are linked to longevity.
- Cardio yoga can complement existing workout routines.
- Vinyasa yoga offers an intense cardiovascular workout.
- High-intensity interval training combines cardio and yoga.
- Yoga postures can be integrated into a cardio routine.
- Mountain Pose to Low Squat sequence engages multiple muscle groups.
- Runner’s Lunge Hop Switch improves agility and strength.
- Twisting Chair Pose engages core muscles and obliques.
- Upward Facing Dog to Burpees builds upper body strength.
- Bridge Pose Rollups provide restorative and strengthening benefits.
- Sun Salutations elevate heart rate and stimulate muscles.
- Knee to Nose exercise strengthens core and abdominal muscles.
- Plank Pose benefits wrists, shoulders, and core muscles.
- Chair Pose engages triceps, abs, deltoids, and hamstrings.
- Warrior 3 offers a challenging balancing and extending pose.
- High-Low Boat Pose enhances core strength and balance.
- Cardio yoga postures can be performed at home.
- MET measurement assesses energy expenditure during exercise.
- Oxygen consumption during cardio yoga is higher than resting.
- Surya Namaskar is an intensive yoga routine for cardiovascular fitness.
- Cardio yoga might be as demanding as moderate elliptical training.
- Cardio yoga routines are less intense than jogging at a moderate pace.
- Surya Namaskar can aid in weight loss and muscle gain.
- Muscle strength increases with consistent yoga practice.
- Scientific studies show potential muscle gains from aerobic yoga.
- Comprehensive research is needed to confirm yoga’s muscle benefits.
- Cardio yoga offers a unique blend of physical and mental benefits.
- Cardio yoga integrates the best of both worlds for holistic fitness.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should You Combine Yoga With Cardio?
Pairing cardio and yoga together within your routine will get you closer to where you want to be with your fitness and weight loss goals. When paired with any other type of workout, yoga will help you improve at those workouts. Adding yoga to your cardio workout doesn’t have to be difficult.
How Do You Combine Cardio And Yoga?
You can also mix in spurts of cardio like HIIT training (High-Intensity Interval Training) with high reps of burpees and jump squats. Finish the session by flowing through some vinyasas and poses. This routine will get you sweating and fatigue your muscles.
Is It Better To Do Cardio Or Yoga First?
Going from relaxation to marathon training can startle the senses. Instead, cardio should warm the body before bending, twisting, lunging and gliding into various yoga positions. Running before yoga allows the muscles to warm up fully, which can help you get deeper into different yoga poses.
Is Yoga A Cardio Workout Or Strength Training?
As each pose is held, your heart rate does not remain elevated, so it would not be considered cardio. Yoga can be a combination of cardio and strength training, particularly if they are performed at a faster pace.
Is Yoga Alone Enough Exercise?
Conclusion. Whether or not one can get enough exercise just by doing yoga is a hotly debated topic. It is a great way to exercise but may only be enough for your needs if you take vigorous classes like vinyasa or Ashtanga yoga.