If you're on a mission to strengthen and tone your body, yoga is a complement to your fit life. In the same breath, getting cardio is also necessary for optimal health and weight-loss goals; unfortunately, not all yoga classes offer a heart-pumping workout. To get your kick of cardio during yoga class, a few changes to your practice can help raise your heart rate.
Take the vinyasas: Whether you love or loathe vinyasas, this link between the pose does much more than bring grace and fluidity to your mat. If you want to get in some cardio and make the most of a yoga workout, then you've got to take them all. Even if the teacher says it's your choice on whether you want to go for it, take the vinyasa. Instead of looking at it as your foe, think of it a time to reboot and elevate your heart rate.
Opt for Ashtanga or Bikram: More rigorous yoga practices like Ashtanga, Bikram, or Power Vinyasa bring much more cardio to the practice than a relaxing Restorative or Hatha practice. Even the heated room in Bikram kicks up your heart rate a little bit! If you're a beginner and not sure which class is best for you, call the studio and ask questions. Chances are that whoever is running the front desk will have plenty of insight about which classes are the most active.
Don't bail on tough poses: When the going gets tough in yoga, it's easy to fall out of whatever pose you're on and refuse to give it another go. Don't bail when you experience discomfort. When you feel your heart rate go up, battle through instead of letting go, focus on your breath, and know that this, too, shall pass.