7-Minute High-Intensity Yoga Practice To Reach Your Maximum Heart Rate
There’s nothing more relaxing than a serene Savasana at the end of your yoga session. However, some days it might feel like your yoga class is lacking in intensity – sometimes you want a bit more. If you love yoga, but feel like you’re not getting enough of a workout from it, don’t worry – there are plenty of poses you can try to remedy that!
Can yoga increase heart rate? Absolutely. There are plenty of yoga practices that can leave you feeling the burn, but in a good way. Here’s why you should add some high-intensity yoga into your practice, plus some of the best moves to give you an awesome cardio boost.
What Are The Benefits of a High-Intensity Yoga Practice?
We all need moderate to intense exercise to keep our bodies in tip-top shape – the CDC recommends that adults do around 150 minutes of activity per week.
Active yoga can be a great way to reach that goal. It has plenty of other overall health benefits, too. You’re getting a full-body workout that incorporates both cardio and strength training, which can help with weight loss (especially when combined with a healthy diet), improved sleep, and a stronger heart. It even provides you with a natural boost of energy.
The Best Yoga Poses to Raise Your Heart Rate
Ready to get moving? If so, below are some of the best yoga practices for maximum heart rate. You might want to create a flow routine that incorporates a number of these poses, as it’s sure to give you an all-over workout.
Try holding each pose for one minute, giving you a fantastic seven-minute workout. Or, if you really want to spice things up, start off your routine with a few high-intensity reps of activities like jumping jacks, push-ups, or lunges. This will get your body warmed up before you start your flow.
1. Warrior Poses
Do yogis do cardio? When they move through the Warrior poses, the answer is a big yes! Warrior poses I, II, and III are some of the best moves if you want to feel energized. They require good posture, which activates your core, plus balance, arm strength, focus, and strength.
By moving through these poses, you’re giving your body a solid workout, especially your legs. Reverse Warrior is a great one to add in as well, as it can help you feel a delightful stretch – great if you’ve been sitting at a desk all day.
Chair pose is a challenging one, as it requires you to hold a squat and stay balanced. This can be a real thigh-burner, making it great for your legs and glutes. It also helps you stretch out your shoulders and chest, with the core keeping you balanced. Basically, every major muscle group in your body is required to master chair pose.
Try to hold this pose for longer and longer periods of time, as it can help you tone and strengthen your legs. (Hot tip: if you can improve your focus, you’ll be able to hold poses more comfortably.)
If you want to feel your abs the day after working out, you need to include boat pose in your daily routine. It requires plenty of balance, so your core is going to get a fantastic workout. This pose is also great for your hip flexors.
As with chair pose, try to increase how long you can hold the pose over time.
4. Downward Dog
Does yoga raise your heart rate? Definitely, especially in active base poses like downward dog. For many yogis, downward dog is one of the first poses you learn. However, don’t write it off as being just for beginners – moving in and out of downward dog will seriously get your heart rate up! It not only strengthens and stretches your whole body, but also gets blood circulating and will warm you up fast.
For a challenge, spend a few minutes moving between downward dog and plank pose, since both are invigorating and require plenty of energy to hold your focus and balance.
5. Side Plank
Moving into side plank pose is another challenging, high-intensity movement. It’s fantastic for your obliques and arms – without strength and balance, you’ll be unable to hold the pose.
Try repeating the side plank a number of times on each arm, or alternating between arms – it’s much harder than it looks!
The yoga headstand can be a great pose to raise your heart rate, but it should only be attempted by experienced yogis or with supervision, as you don’t want to risk damage to your spine or neck.
This inverted asana position requires plenty of balance, so don’t be afraid to use a wall to help you out. It’s a great workout for your back and core, but it has a few added benefits as well – it’s thought to help relieve stress, boost digestion, and stimulate the lymphatic system, which will boost your immune system.
7. Eight-Angle Pose
For the ultimate high-intensity yoga challenge, try to work your way up to achieving an eight-angle pose (a quick Google search will show you what we’re talking about). If you can’t master it, don’t stress – it’s seriously hard! But even if you can't achieve perfection, there are still plenty of health benefits to be obtained from just working on it.
Eight-angle requires plenty of concentration and effort, so it’s amazing for both your mind and body. Over time, it can strengthen your wrist and shoulders, improve your mobility, and will really get your heart rate pumping. (Plus, it’ll be a super impressive pose to show off to people if you do master it.)
There you have it: proof that yoga is so much more than calming meditations! Try out these high-intensity yoga poses if you’re looking to increase your heart rate, burn more calories, and increase your strength. If you love group yoga and want to try out some of these poses, take a class that’s focused on Bikram or Vinyasa Flow. Yoga can be an incredible type of cardio, so get ready to sweat!