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A combination of yoga and cardio exercises? Yes, please! Here's what you need to know about this workout style that everyone is talking about.
Rooted in Indian philosophy, yoga focuses on poses, breathing techniques, and meditation practices to enhance consciousness and relieve anxiety.
Cardio yoga, then, involves some yoga-inspired exercises but at a quicker pace and continuous flow so it can challenge your cardiovascular system.
In cardio yoga, the movements are all sped up, to the point that your cardiovascular system has to work harder to keep up. There’s still the non-stop flow between movements, but it’s faster so your muscles are always working. Your heart and lungs have to work harder as well to keep up, leading to a far better cardiovascular workout
The best part of cardio yoga is that you can find it at a wide range of gyms and studios to practice. In some cases, instructors will create their own yoga sequences that include more active movements to get your heart beating faster. Some teachers will speed up the pace of their flows and transitions to encourage better cardiovascular function. By adding more dynamic activity to the yoga workout, you can push your heart and lungs to their limit to enhance endurance drastically.
Here are a few moderate-intensity cardio yoga workouts to try that work all your major muscle groups, including your arms, chest, back, and legs.
Stand up straight with your feet together and weight evenly distributed. Your shoulders should be rolled back and your hands hanging by your side with your chin parallel to the ground.
2. Urdhva hastasana
Inhale and bend your knees slightly, raise your arms over your head. Bring your palms together and look at your thumbs.
Exhale and straighten your legs. Bend forward from the hips and bring your hands down. Relax your neck.
4. Urdvah uttanasana
Inhale and lengthen your spine, look forward, and opening your shoulders.
5. Chaturanga dandasana
Exhale and jump or step your feet back. Bend your elbows and keep them tucked into your sides. Lower your body. You may either keep your knees off the floor or modify the exercise by bringing your knees to the ground.
6. Urdhva Mukha svanasana
Inhale and point your toes away from your body. Lift your chest while your knees stay off the ground. Open your shoulders and look up to the sky.
7. Adho mukha svanasana
Exhale and tuck your toes under, lifting your hips and bringing your shoulders down. Look at your navel. Maintain for five breaths.
8. Urdhva uttanasana
Inhale and jump or step your feet together between your hands, lengthen the spine and look to the front while opening your shoulders (same as step 4).
Exhale and lower the crown of your head toward the ground and relax your neck (same as step 3).
10. Urdhva hastasana
Inhale and bend your knees, raising your arms over your head and bringing your palms together while looking at your thumbs.
Exhale and straighten your legs, bringing your arms to your sides (same as step 1).
Cardio yoga outperforms walking at a moderate pace or exercising on an elliptical at a moderate effort — but not jogging, hiking, or running — in regards to calories burned. It’s not equivalent to actual cardio, bear that in mind.