How to make yoga more dynamic
High intensity interval training, running, bootcamps or more aerobic forms of exercise aren’t for everyone (and even those who love pounding the pavement or feeling the burn like a day off every now and again).
Yoga, contrary to what we might think, can still be high energy and a challenging workout. It’s also great for incorporating more stretching and conditioning than we might get from, say, chasing a PB in a park run.
M Life’s tips and tricks for adding a little dynamism into a yoga practice can help up that heart rate and make a session the right combination of sweat and savasana. For more information on changing up yoga into more of a workout, find out more over on the Journal.
1. Vigorous Vinayasas
The ‘flow’ between a series of poses, such as salutations, which include transitioning from chaturanga, to up dog, through to downward dog, can be vigorous and require us to work pretty hard. Increasing the speed (safely and being mindful of form) can transform a yoga practice and help us see a real difference in our fitness.
2. Harder, better, faster, stronger
Harder poses, held for longer, build up our capacity and ability for challenging positions and give us a goal to work towards. A full bridge, for example, requires a concerted burst of energy, which must be combined with stamina to stay in the pose for a prolonged period.
3. Weigh up the options
Ankle and wrist weights are great for notching up the difficulty level, especially in poses which require balance or those that need us to really lengthen and push to the very ends and corners of our body.
4. The pose of most resistance
For tough poses that are hard to reach into, or to sculpt the muscles, start using resistance bands. They help with conditioning the muscles, toning up and conquering those poses that need more effort.
5. In over our heads
Lifting the arms (or legs!) above the heard increases the heart rate and burns more calories. Doing more poses where the limbs are above the head (and indeed the heart) means the body has to work harder. Star pose is a great one for getting warmed up, or mountain pose, incorporating weights, with the arms above the head. Then there’s chair pose – deepen the squat to go to the next level.
6. Pulse it real good
Floor poses, such as eagle, bow or boat, can be good for the core. Throwing in pulses, say for a minute or so for each movement, can help build our core and overall fitness. Plus, we feel great when they’re over…
7. Turn up the heat
Bikram or power yoga often take place in hot rooms to make the practice harder and ensure we’re getting the most of our session, output wise. Try some intense and turning up the heat – it won’t be easy but it will be worth it. A bring a sweat towel.
8. Don’t forget to breathe
Sending oxygen to our muscles and organs is key – keep breathing deeply in order to maximise performance and maintain a harder yoga practice.