Is Yoga a Cardio Workout?

Does The Wall Street Journal think they’ve finally answered the question, Is Yoga Just Posing as a Good Workout? Here’s a great yoga video that does help you loose weight. Does the writer, Nancy Keates, think it’s possible to reduce an ancient practice that seeks to unite body mind and spirit into the cardio-equivalent of scratching yourself? The most intelligent quote in the entire article was a quote by Bikram Choudhury, founder of the Bikram style of yoga: ” Modern medical science isn’t developed enough to explain yoga’s benefits.” There is no way to measure the effects of the reduction in cortisol, the affects on the adrenal hormone, bone loss, or the effects on the hormones called catecholamines — from Yoga Like Salt.

For some, yoga is sweating in a 120 degree room for 90 minutes, while you do 20 of the most challenging balance poses, two times. In the end, your heart is beating like a race horse. And you are wet. For some, yoga is pure and simple stretching and deep breathing. For others, it’s something in between the two.

Is yoga cardio? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Given the state of obesity in the world, isn’t any activity better than no activity? Given our level of stress today, isn’t yoga’s mind-body connection a gift? I will admit; I am not as calm with my kids as I wish I was. How much more stressed would I be if there was no yoga in my routine?

But, can I tell you how great it feels to be in my forties and to be able to touch my toes — easily! This is something my 11 year old cannot do. The yogis say that the secret to youth lies in the degree of flexibility in your spine. As we age, low back pain and upper back stress are our most common complaints. Once this begins, your ability to stay active diminishes. To stay active, take care of your spine.

The National Institutes of Health has conducted several studies that prove yoga health benefits. An orthopedic surgeon who commented on this article’s forum said this:

Most people (especially males) focus on strengthening exercises and add cardio but don’t pay attention to the fact that the body needs flexibility as well. Others do cardio (ie marathons, biking) and a little weight training as well, but forget stretching and suffer from various overuse injuries (think tendinitis, shin splints, etc). When you think of someone when they get old, they not only lose strength and stamina, but become incredibly stiff. Some forms of Yoga will definitely help with cardio and strengthening (all in varying degrees), but the main physical benefits are related to stretching and exercise in a safe, low impact manner. Not only does the Yoga provide a very healthy workout, but it also helps with various medical problems (plantar fasciitis–mine was cured in one session, but also scoliosis, carpal tunnel, back pain, etc). In short, Yoga is a great form of exercise with many benefits

For me, personally, yoga is rarely the same thing on every day. But it is a daily ritual I cannot skip — as I will lay awake until I get up to move. For some reason, I cannot sleep until I’ve had my yoga.

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9 comments to “Is Yoga a Cardio Workout?”
  1. I always shake my head when someone claims yoga doesn’t give a cardio workout. It all depends on how you do it, and anyway the concept of “cardio” is only one way to measure a beneficial effect — yoga has SO many immeasurable benefits and I’m quite sure that one’s heart is included. Bikrim is quite right!

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  3. Easing my way back into a regular practice again (after one of my periodic hiatuses – that’s why I’ll forever be a beginner), the stretching is and flexibility and above all the breathing is what’s definitely making a difference. Though that also has to do with having a different teacher.

    And I agree – anyone who thinks yoga has nothing to do with cardio just hasn’t ever had someone push you just that little bit further.

  4. I don’t believe the article was debating the benefits of Yoga as everyone agrees that it is very beneficial to a balanced work-out regiment combined with healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. I think the article is simply warning against the notion that the benefits of doing only Yoga, without practicing a healthy lifestyle, is sufficient. As as mentioned in the article, if you can only do one thing, Yoga is better than nothing at all…but in my opinion, Yoga, coupled with a good workout, combined with healthy eating and healthy lifestyle choices is ideal.

  5. Although I haven’t done a lot of yoga, I’m inspired to do more after reading this article. I do aerobic dancing and am always on the lookout for all-natural remedies; my favorite so far is the Joint Medic cream. I also do stretching exercises and walk quite a bit.

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  7. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is wonderful, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about Is Yoga a Cardio Workout? | Susiej .

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