If you're looking to get into shape and adopt a healthier lifestyle, you may have considered cardio yoga at one point or another. This form of exercise is becoming increasingly popular among those who love the relaxation aspects of yoga but demand more intensity to work up a sweat.
Both yoga and cardiovascular exercises are beneficial to the body. Whether you're using yoga to reduce stress and increase flexibility, or training for a marathon, cardio yoga is an ideal activity that can offer the best of both worlds.
Read on to find out more about cardio yoga and its numerous benefits!
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What Is Cardio Yoga?
Yoga is a practice that incorporates poses or Asanas, breathing techniques, and meditation practices to enhance awareness and relieve anxiety. The practice has become increasingly popular throughout the world as a means to relieve stress, improve sleep, boost mental and emotional health, and relieve general back and neck pain. While there are many types of yoga, Hatha yoga is the most commonly practiced type.
Many types of yoga are referred to as Hatha yoga. They differ in the series, movement, and pace of the physical postures, but they don't typically elevate your heart rate for aerobic exercise.
Cardio yoga workouts involve performing yoga-inspired movements at a quicker pace and with continuous flow to engage more muscles and challenge your cardiovascular system.
Benefits of Cardio Yoga
Cardio yoga can help you improve your sleeping cycle, reduce stress and anxiety, relieve lower back and neck pain—all while burning a reasonable number of calories. Here are a few reasons to take up this practice:
1) Weight Loss
By combining cardio and yoga exercises, you can effectively lose weight and improve your BMI. However, exercise alone will not contribute towards weight loss. You will have to consume less calories. Performing cardio yoga at least five times a week for around 30-40 minutes can help you achieve your weight goal.
2) Stress Relief
Deep breathing and meditation help reduce your stress. By combining cardio workouts with these practices, you can lead a more relaxed life. Yoga and cardio exercises can help clear your mind of worries and release tension. Many types of cardio yoga workouts can quickly activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body's rest and recovery processes.
3) Improves Strength
To gain strength, regular practice of cardio yoga is recommended. You can perform Asanas that combine cardio and yoga, such as jogging on the spot while holding a downward dog pose, to strengthen your arms, back, legs, and core.
Basic Cardio Yoga Poses to Try
1) Mountain Pose
To do this pose:
- Stand with your feet parallel and firmly pressed onto the mat.
- Let your arms hang by your sides, with palms facing forward.
- Imagine you're hugging a block between your feet.
- Hold your breath for a moment, then move to the next pose.
2) Chair Pose
To do this pose:
- Keep your feet in line with your hips, bend your knees and lower your butt down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Straighten your arms, bring them forward and up until they are in line with your ears.
- Breathe for a moment, then move to the next pose.
3) Forward Fold
To get started with a forward fold exercise:
- Stand with your feet parallel and about twice as wide as your hips.
- Place your hands on your thighs and lift up through the top of your head as you extend backward over your legs.
- Hold here for a breath, then continue to the next pose.
4) High Lunge
To do this exercise:
- Plant your hands on the ground and keep your left foot in place, then stretch your right leg behind you and press your weight into the ball of your foot.
- Root yourself firmly into the ground, rise up, lift both arms overhead with shoulders down, lift your torso and square your hips to face forward.
- Breathe deeply, then come into the next pose.
If you're not a regular yoga practicer but want to get into an energizing routine, or if you're looking for a way to mix-up your workout regimen and improve your endurance, cardio yoga is an excellent choice. It gives you the benefits of physical activity and yoga practices in one session, allowing you to get more done in less time and with less effort.
This type of exercise is a great choice if you want to burn a reasonable number of calories. It also provides a wide variety of health benefits and is low impact. However, like any physical activity, it must be done consistently to achieve any results. These yoga poses could even make for a great new addition to your regular workout routine.