Yoga is becoming an increasingly popular practice around the world as a lifestyle that achieves physical and mental well-being, a way to relieve anxiety and stress, improve sleep, and overcome lower back and neck pain.
A study conducted in the United States in 2012 of thousands of adults showed that “yoga practitioners scored higher on all outcomes related to health and disease prevention.”
This was corroborated by research published in the Indian Heart Journal in 2014, on yoga as a technique for controlling cardiovascular disease, aiding in detoxification, relieving stress, supporting the immune system, and improving blood sugar.
Unlike traditional yoga, which is seen as a relaxation exercise, “cardio yoga” is good for activity because it contains more dynamic movements due to the involvement of more muscles in operating the heart and increasing its heart rate, burning calories. According to a 2016 study by the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association.
So performing cardio yoga for 30 minutes, at least 5 times per week, helps in achieving this goal, as long as you follow a low-calorie diet. Perhaps this is what makes some people prefer it to running or hiking, because it is generally safe, as it is practiced on a flat surface that enhances balance and prevents injuries.
Get your rug ready and get ready to sweat.
If you don’t prefer the treadmill, and your time doesn’t allow for training classes, Dempsey Marks, an AFAA-certified yoga instructor, promises that “if you put in the correct poses and put them in a steady flow, yoga will raise your heart rate.” As an ideal “cardio” exercise (burning oxygen and blood sugar in the body to produce energy).
You just have to spread the yoga mat, and prepare for sweating sessions, with these exercises to strengthen the heart and major muscles such as the arms, chest, back and legs:
The first exercise: morning greetings.
And by following the following sequence:
- Mountain Pose: By standing up straight with your feet together, with your shoulders tilted back, with your hands placed at your side, and your chin parallels to the ground.
- The position of the arms over the head: Inhale with the knees bent, the arms raised over the head, the palms together and the thumbs looking.
- Forward bending: Exhale while adjusting the legs, bending forward from the hips, descending with the hands and relaxing the neck.
- Half forward bend: Begin straightening, looking forward and opening the shoulders.
- The position of the four limbs: feet back, elbows bend close to the sides, parallel to the ground.
The inhale up position: inhale with the chest raised, the knees off the ground, feet straight, and look up.
Exhale downward position: Exhale with the hips raised and the shoulders lowered, and hold on with 5 deep breaths.
Return to position No. (4), then No. (3), then No. (2), all the way to where we started with No. (1).
- The same steps are repeated without pausing or rest for 20 minutes, to keep the heart rate up.
Exercise two: Warrior 2.
Separate the two feet and make them parallel at a distance equal to the length of one leg, then rotate the right foot by 90 degrees, and tilt the left foot inward slightly, so that the line extending from the right heel is perpendicular to the sole of the left foot.
A deep inhale, then a slow exhalation, coinciding with bending the right knee over the heel, keeping the thigh parallel to the floor.
Extend arms to either side parallel to the floor, and hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
Inhale and hands on the mat in a “inhale up” position, then exhale with a “exhale down” position.
Repeat on the other side.
For the third exercise: Crescent Lunge.
According to Marx, “This exercise takes advantage of the strength of the thigh and leg muscles to raise the heart rate.”
It begins with standing in a lunge form with hands resting on the hips.
Ensure that the front knee is set directly above the ankle.
Maintaining the straight leg of the back while pushing the hands up, and holding for 5 to 10 breaths.
Inhale and hands on the mat in the “inhale up” position, then exhale with the “exhale down” position.
Repeat on the other side.
The fourth exercise: chair position.
Stand with your arms at the sides, then imagine that you are sitting on a chair with your thighs parallel to the floor.
Inhale while pushing the straight arms forward and up to the line with the ears, and hold for 5 to 10 breaths.
When you feel your heart rate going up, exhale, straighten your torso, lower your arms, and repeat the exercise 3 times.
Fifth exercise: side plank position.
“By balancing and recruiting the shoulder and back muscles, this position will quickly raise your heartbeat,” says Marx.
- From the plank position, roll onto the outer edge of the right foot and make the left foot the top.
Place the left hand on the hip and rotate the torso to the left, while supporting the body weight with the right foot and the right hand as well.
Hold for 60 seconds before returning to plank position.
Repeat on the other side.
Sixth exercise: boat pose.
Start from a seated position with the knees bent, and feet flat on the floor.
While the palms of the hands are facing up, move the arms forward so that they touch the sides of the knees.
We lean back so that the torso forms a 45-degree angle with the ground.
- Lift the feet off the ground slowly, while making the legs straight in a “V” shape.
Keep arms and legs outstretched, balance body weight, chest lift and look forward.
Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths.
Rest for 30 seconds, then repeat the same position 5 times.