I have been looking for ways to shred a few stubborn pounds and maintain a healthy body weight. I became curious if yoga provided the recommended cardio. Fortunately, for yoga addicts like me, yoga does have cardio options. Recently, I found out that a few yoga poses qualify as cardio.
What is Cardio?
Cardio exercise is any exercise that raises your heart rate and respiration, it is the movement that is rhythmic and uses large groups of muscles repetitively.
Cardio exercise is beneficial because it strengthens your heart and lungs while training your heart to work quicker and manage oxygen more efficiently throughout your body. Other benefits include increased energy, reduced body fat, stress and depression reduction, and improved sleep!
Here are some recommended yoga poses and sequences that I love!
Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar)
Sun Salutation is one of my favorites, and I believe it is the fundamental
sequence to learn so you can use it every day!
Bring your attention to your breath in this sequence and attach the inhale to one movement and the exhale to the following movement. Once you know the sequence you can breathe through each pose in a moving meditation.
- Come to the front of your mat.
- Inhale. Bring the arms out to the sides and up over your head, touching palms. Look up, this is called . Roll your shoulders down and press into the balls of your feet.
- Exhale. Release your arms out to the sides and forward bend over your legs (uttanasana).
- Inhale. Look up, as you come to a stop, putting your hands on the ground or your shins. Make sure you bend at your sit-bones and flatten your back.
- Exhale. Press into the floor with your hands, jump back into and on an exhalation bend your arms into a low pushup..
- Then lower all the way to the ground.
- Inhale. Push into the ground with your hands and you straighten your arms, look up, pull up your kneecaps.
- Exhale. Look back, bending at the hips come into. *for a fast pace, just stay one breath.
- Exhale. Bend the knees and jump your feet up to the front of your mat.
- Inhale up to a flat back and then exhale back to the forward bend.
- Inhale. Lift your arms out to the sides and up, and come to raised arms pose.
- Exhale. Come to stand in mountain pose and bring your hands to prayer pose at the heart.
Repeat three to five times.
Warrior II aka Virabhadrasana II is the next yoga sequence.
- Take a wide stance on your yoga mat. Turn one foot out toward the front of the mat and step the other foot back but don’t turn the foot out. Bend your front knee, arms to the side and look forward.
- Take deep 5 breaths.
- Come back to Chaturanga Dandasana (steps 2 through 4 are called a ‘vinyasa’).
- Do the Upward-Facing Dog.
- Then do the Downward Facing Dog.
- And lastly repeat everything once.
Crescent Pose is the last sequence we will talk about here.
- From Warrior II pose, Turn your torso to the front, let the back foot come onto the toes.
- Reach your hands up with your palms parallel to each other. Look up, but keep your shoulders rolled back and wide.
- Breathe here 5 to 10 breaths
- Cartwheel hands to the mat to do your vinyasa (a transition between two different positions): Chaturanga Dandasana, Upward-Facing Dog , Downward Facing Dog .
- Repeat the Crescent pose on the left side.
Use the Sun Salutation and Vinyasa infused with Warrior II and Crescent Pose to provide you cardio exercise to stay happy and healthy. In yoga, this type of fast and repetitive movement is seen as stimulating tapas (a fiery self-discipline). By developing tapas in our selves, yoga shows us that we can push the mind against its own limits, leading to spiritual growth and transformation.