Is yoga cardio?
(or, What is it we do at Tadasana?)
I’m a regular user of the #MyFitnessPal app to track calories and workouts, and occasionally I come across articles from their blog. Owned by Under Armour, the app and the blog often offer good tips and insights about fitness.
Recently I came across a post entitled, “Is Yoga Cardio?”, and I was naturally curious to see how the author, Julie Ann Aueron, would address this question.
Yoga is such an interesting business to be in. It has a problem that most businesses don’t have: product familiarity. The 2016 “Yoga in America” study by Yoga Alliance found that “awareness of yoga” in the US has reached 90% — meaning everyone but your neighbor’s dog has at least heard of yoga. I would venture to say that the same 90% are aware of yoga as “a thing you do with your body.” Beyond that description though, lots of people are at a loss. (Of course the 90% — and Fido — have all heard of ‘downward dog’!)
If you think about it, when a restaurant sells hamburgers, you at least are clear about what they offer: meat, generally beef, between two pieces of bread. The final product itself can vary widely, but at its core, you know what you’re getting. Pizza? Dough with toppings. Software? A program for my computer. Shoes? Well, you get the idea. The variants of the product of yoga are so wide as to leave most people unclear what exactly they will get when they walk into any given yoga studio.
This is why the question “Is Yoga Cardio?” even arises in the first place.
Depending on which source you read, there are 50+ different styles of yoga, and they are all over the fitness map. That’s why I was pleased to see that Aueron took the correct tack with her answer in the article: “It depends.”
At Tadasana.Yoga, our primary offering is something we call heated vinyasa flow. This means: 1) a warm room; 2) a focus on breath and intention; and 3) movement. I also tend to refer to it as “athletic yoga”. We specifically seek to get your heart rate and respiratory rate up in our core classes, so you will get a workout. I regularly burn 200+ calories in a typical Tadasana.Yoga class. (In a sculpt class that number goes to 300+.) We do this because physical fitness is important to health and happiness, and because we know you don’t have enough time in your day to do both a cardio class and a separate stretching class. The beautiful thing about a well-run Tadasana.Yoga class is that in addition to the workout, you will also get purposeful movement and deep stretching, all in the same hour. I think the essence of what we do is captured well in our tagline, “Sweat. Grit. Soul.”
So, is yoga cardio? At Tadasana.Yoga, the answer is ‘yes’ in our core Power Flow classes. Will it always be a cardio class wherever you take yoga? Definitely not. Should you still try yoga in all its forms? Absolutely. In my opinion, this Buddhist line is very true: “You don’t always get the yoga you want, but you always get the yoga you need.”
And of course I hope you’ll find both the yoga you need, and the yoga you want, at Tadasana.Yoga.