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Vinyasa Yoga and the Cardiovascular System: The Road to a Healthy Heart
Yoga practice has been associated with its effects in calming the mind and spirit and giving the yoga practitioner inner peace. But did you know that it can also be a good cardio workout that will benefit your heart?
It all boils down to the styles of yoga practice you adopt. For the heart, doing vinyasa yoga for at least 45 minutes per session thrice or five times every week is recommended.
Aside from being an excellent cardio workout, the physical activity targets different muscle groups, including the major muscles, so it improves your fitness level when you practice regularly.
This article will guide you on how to practice vinyasa yoga to boost your cardio health. What is vinyasa yoga, and what makes it a good workout? What makes vinyasa yoga an effective cardio exercise?
If you’re on the verge of deciding whether or not it’s time to take classes for vinyasa flow, read on.
Cardio is considered a CRF or cardiorespiratory fitness. It works because as you exercise, it pumps oxygen to your muscles and boosts your blood flow.
Cardio exercise utilizes both the lungs and heart. Maximal oxygen consumption or Vo2 max measures how much oxygen you use during the cardio exercise. It also tends to decrease by 10 percent each time you add ten years to your age.
This means that even when men usually have higher levels of oxygen used during a cardio exercise, the difference between both genders will narrow as they get older.
However, you can still gain the most from your cardio exercise by doing it the smart way. This is where yoga can help, specifically vinyasa yoga. It helps improve your cardio fitness level while strengthening your lungs and heart.
This means that as you practice cardio exercise every day, you can take a heavy load off your heart. You become fitter and healthier, thus, increasing your lifespan.
Yoga as an Aerobic Exercise
When discussing fitness level, it is important to understand the difference between anaerobic and aerobic exercise. While both exercises boost your energy, anaerobic produces energy only enough for 90 seconds. These exercises include sprinting and weight lifting.
On the other hand, aerobic exercises continuously provide energy since the movements provide oxygen and use large muscle groups.
Yoga is among the most beneficial aerobic exercises, which include running, hiking, dancing, and cycling. This exercise also burns calories, making it effective for weight loss.
Moreover, aerobic is a steady form of exercise that you can do daily and for a longer period per session. This means you have less chance of suffering from exercise-related injuries when you do the routine.
As a cardio and aerobic exercise, you must remember the following factors in practicing yoga:
Is Vinyasa Yoga Cardio?
Any type of yoga, including vinyasa yoga, can be considered a cardio exercise. The different poses yoga requires help improve balance, fitness level, muscle strength, and energy levels.
Plus, the different styles of yoga contribute to weight loss, burn calories, improve energy levels, alleviate stress levels, and offer many other physical benefits.
Vinyasa yoga is a moving meditation that involves one movement per breath. It’s a more dynamic yoga style that explores the connection between your breath, body, and mind.
While this yoga suits all, you must advise your yoga teacher if you are a beginner. You don’t have to worry about this when you practice vinyasa yoga at Sweatbox Yoga. This popular yoga studio in Singapore ensures you attend yoga classes suited to your fitness level.
Vinyasa yoga, aka vinyasa flow, is a total functional exercise. The movements included in it combine flexibility, strength, and cardio.
Top Benefits of Vinyasa Yoga
This yoga practice helps instill good fitness habits. In vinyasa yoga, you will learn many yoga poses and breathing exercises.
Expect to do simple postures, challenging yoga poses, and fast-paced movements in one class. It’s a cardiovascular fitness that can also be a strength training workout and a physical activity you do every day.
Here’s a look at the benefits of this type of yoga:
This yoga is a cardio workout that combines different yoga poses and yoga styles.
Vinyasa flow yoga is cardio, so it’s good for the heart and helps make you live stronger and longer. Make sure you do Sun Salutations or take a dynamic vinyasa class to maximize the benefits of the training.
Sun Salutations, like cardio, produce body heat. It boosts your energy levels while helping you lose weight as you burn more calories.
A session of vinyasa flow yoga can be better than an hour on the elliptical as long as you do it right. However, you should not exhaust yourself from this yoga practice.
It’s better to develop a routine initially. Make it a habit to practice yoga, even if it means going to a yoga class every day.
The movements can be easy at first, which you can tweak and level up as your body gets used to the yoga poses.
Vinyasa flow yoga makes your body stable and stronger.
This yoga style does an excellent job as an exercise. It requires you to do various yoga postures that make your muscles stronger.
It works on your whole body, so expect inevitable soreness in the beginning. It happens because this yoga works deep into your muscles. This is why vinyasa practice is effective in making your body more stable.
You will learn how to engage your core to develop leg strength in vinyasa classes. This is done by learning the tree pose and other balancing yoga postures.
Vinyasa yoga is good for mental health.
This type of yoga uses controlled movement and breathing. Similar to the many styles of yoga practices, vinyasa calms your mind. It is comprised of different movements that combine exercise and meditation.
It prompts you to listen to your body as you move and breathe. This is done by getting rid of everything that is clouding your mind. Hence, vinyasa prevents or alleviates burnout, anxiety, and stress.
Vinyasa improves your flexibility.
First, you can take a yoga class even when you’re not flexible. You will learn and improve this as you gain the strength training, cardio, and health benefits from any type of yoga, including vinyasa.
The rule here is to take your time and practice the poses while stretching as you breathe. You must also remember to relax while doing specific poses instead of forcing or pulling your body to finish each yoga session.
Practicing yoga improves your body image and emotional health.
The flow of movements and breathing in vinyasa yoga makes it easier for you to deal with negative emotions. This happens as you see the bigger picture and realize that nothing in life is permanent, including emotions.
Likewise, the physical practice in vinyasa makes you feel empowered to attain balance. You can test this by picking up something at the end of your yoga class.
Vinyasa helps you fall asleep faster.
Vinyasa helps eliminate the factors that make falling or staying asleep at night difficult. The flow sequence resets your body by releasing pent-up tension.
The exercise also makes you feel lighter as you practice breathing and moving with ease.
Continued vinyasa yoga practice helps you develop a good posture.
Vinyasa is a good daily exercise for all, especially those who often sit or stand due to their lifestyle or the nature of work. The yoga movements will compensate for the wrong postures you repeatedly do.
Through the days, you will learn how to correct how you sit, stand, or walk in ways that you won’t suffer from back pain while maintaining proper posture.
Vinyasa is an effective weight loss program.
Vinyasa curbs emotional eating, which is a big factor if you want to lose weight. This way, you begin eating right and burn more calories.
When you go to a yoga class and practice vinyasa, your mind gets trained to be aware of your feelings and thoughts and be more present. Instead of being judgmental of food, you learn to appreciate it.
But you also learn the right way and time to eat it. Vinyasa teaches you mindful eating that leaves you feeling satisfied.
So aside from avoiding emotional eating, there are also calories burned in vinyasa yoga, which helps you lose weight. This is due to the movements required in vinyasa as a cardio exercise that helps improve your fitness level.
It teaches you to do one pose per breath done in a slow, then a faster pace. The combination leads to more calories burned while regulating your heart rate.
You will realize how easy it is to experience a vinyasa yoga benefit once you begin making it part of your exercise routine. This will encourage you to do it regularly or even try other yoga practices in the future.
Vinyasa Is Good for the Heart
While sprinting and swimming may be more effective in getting your heart rate in the healthiest zone, you’d also attain a closer range when you do fast-paced vinyasa.
However, you can boost your heart rate to make it close to the heart rate obtained by doing other cardio exercises. You can achieve this by continuously doing the poses and breathing exercises per session without taking a break.
It all boils down to choosing what type of vinyasa yoga classes to enroll in. For a faster heart rate, you’d be closer to your goal by doing vinyasa power yoga than a restorative practice. The latter feels more calming, so your heart rate will remain normal even after the session.
How does vinyasa power yoga help in boosting your heart rate? While the movements mostly require low intensity, your body works hard throughout the exercise and for a longer duration. As a result, your heart rate speeds up as you make each transition in doing the flow.
Additionally, vinyasa has significant positive effects on the lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. It also results in more stamina, better circulation, and a build-up of heat in your system. Ultimately, your body benefits from the purifying process resulting from more circulation in your system.
The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness published a small study in 2020, which found that vinyasa positively affects people’s weight loss progress and cardiovascular fitness.
Another study conducted in 2017 by the Journal of Physical Activity and Health categorized vinyasa as a moderate-intense exercise. It suggested that you can do vinyasa between physically tasking fitness routines, such as cross-training, running, and HIIT.
One more study proved how beneficial vinyasa is for the heart. The Journal of Yoga & Physical Therapy published this in 2013. It stated that since the movements required in vinyasa come off as a combination of anaerobic and aerobic, it helps induce a moderate cardio response.
The practice also maintains 60 to 70 percent of the maximal heart rate. You can achieve this by doing a power yoga class for an hour.
Vinyasa yoga promotes a healthy cardiovascular system and heart. It is comprised of challenging poses that teach you to be mentally, emotionally, and physically aware of who, where, and what you are. You must practice the exercise with the help of trained eyes. This will ensure you remain injury-free throughout each session while benefiting from the positive effects of the physical routine.
You can tweak the exercise as you get used to it. You can try doing hot yoga in a heated room or combine it with ashtanga yoga. Your instructor will lead you to the right vinyasa class that will suit your strength and flexibility as you become better and gains more from experience.