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Everything You Need to Know About Cardio Yoga

Over the last decade, yoga has become one of the most popular workouts in the country. It is definitely one of the most effective, with a good focus on strength, endurance, and mobility that keeps you fit.

But one thing most yoga practitioners will agree with is that it’s not the best for building cardiovascular endurance. While it does encourage better lung and heart function, it’s not as effective as running, jogging, sprint training, weightlifting, or cycling for boosting your endurance.

Until cardio yoga …

What is Cardio Yoga?

Cardio Yoga is a type of yoga class that combines Yoga moves with cardiovascular exercises. The workout takes classic yoga moves and makes them a bit faster, with a more rapid flow between sequences. The non-stop movement gets your heart beating and your muscles burning. Throughout the course of the workout, you end up sweating buckets and giving your cardiovascular system one heck of a workout!

Yoga and Cardiovascular Conditioning

Your traditional yoga workout will focus more on the breathing, flow, and postures than on a real “workout”. The movements are slower, even the faster types of yoga, and while your muscles and joints get a great workout, your heart and lungs are never fully pushed to their limits.

But 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.

Some cardio yoga classes also combine aerobics, calisthenics, and plyometric movements into the Yoga sequence. It’s not as common, but it is a great way to kick up the intensity of the workout. Mixing in jumping, running, and fast-stepping movements into the yoga workout can help to make your workouts more effective at building cardiovascular endurance.

Cardio Yoga

The beauty of cardio yoga is that you can find it at a wide range of gyms and fitness studios. Many will actually create their own yoga sequences that include more active, athletic movements to get your heart beating faster. Some yoga 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.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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