Skip Nav
Strength Training
How Strength Training Helped Me Change My Life For the Better
Fitness Motivation
More Than 50 Tips to Help You Lose Weight
Cardio Workouts
At-Home Workout Mixing Cardio With Strength Training For the Ultimate Burn

Is Yoga an Intense Workout?

Do You Think of Yoga as an Intense Workout?

I'm beginning to get the feeling that a lot of people don't consider yoga a serious workout. Both colleagues and friends have shared this sentiment with me; one was even shocked at feeling hungry after an hour-long class:

Her: I don't get why I'm so hungry, I just had lunch.
Me: Because you just worked out for an hour!
Her: (whispering) But it was yoga — I don't know if I consider that a workout.

These people have definitely never taken a Vinyasa flow class like mine — my heart is pounding throughout the class and I'm drenched in sweat. I'm also the right amount of sore by the next day. Still, the idea of yoga not being a serious workout perseveres. As a friend of mine says: "I want more sweat, less stretch, and no chant." How about you?

Source: Flickr user lululemon athletica

Join The Conversation
a-million-suns a-million-suns 6 years
I think my ashtanga class is the most intense workout I've ever had, and I've had some pretty intense workouts before. My yin yoga class, on the other hand, is not an intense workout--a beneficial one for sure, but not intense. I also did a class where we did 108 sun salutations in sets of 20 with just a few-second break in between sets. So much sweat. One of my guy friends scoffed at me when I told him I do yoga and said, "Is that really a real workout?" I told him to try a power yoga class some time. He would pretty much die.
Diana615 Diana615 6 years
As someone new to yoga, i have researched the many types there are. There seems to be so many hybrid styles that yes you can get a good work out. And, yes, I'm building muscle that I don't seem to get at the gym. I believe it comes down to what kind and what you put into it. When I want my heart rate to elevate I go for a 5k run.
courtneyd courtneyd 6 years
I rarely sweat during yoga, but I do consider it an intense workout. Holding many of the poses for 5 or 10 minutes requires a lot of work from your muscles. I'm usually sore if I quit and start up again, but after I get into it that goes away. When I continually practice, I have better muscle definition than I get from cardio + weights at the gym. Not to mention my spine feels straight and my muscles more relaxed.
janetmouse janetmouse 6 years overall workout I've ever had!!!
lizzylu49 lizzylu49 6 years
Tend to agree with 11. I have taken different yoga classes and none have given me the same heart-racing/muscle-burning effect of other kinds of workouts. I know some people are yoga devotees, but its just not for me.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
Anon 11, you've obviously never been a yoga studio yoga class. Yes you can sweat on the beach, but your heart isn't pounding, your muscles aren't shaking and you aren't sore for days after lying on a beach.
Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine Gabriela-Une-Vie-Saine 6 years
I think it CAN be a great workout, but I don't have the patience to get to that level! I prefer high-energy workouts with plenty of pavement pounding and loud music.
radiowires radiowires 6 years
Depends. The hot power yoga class I went to? Yeah. The yoga I do in my room on Sunday mornings? Not so much.
imLissy imLissy 6 years
I would love a yoga class that left me drenched in sweat. Unfortunately, none of my DVDs, even the advanced or hard ones I have, even come close to anything like that. I'm left freezing and reaching for my sweatshirt at the end. Anyone have any recommendations?
kimretta kimretta 6 years
I was doing one of the Exercise TV on-demand yoga workouts this morning, and the instructor kept saying things like "think of all the calories you're burning!" Which was true -- I mean, I was sweating like nuts -- but it was still surprising because I don't usually think about yoga as calorie-torching exercise. I definitely think it's intense, but I also get so many other benefits out of it that I don't really think about how many calories I'm burning.
Slinkie Slinkie 6 years
My vinyasa class sure is.
amber512 amber512 6 years
I think it can be, but not the kind I have ever done.
onlysourcherry onlysourcherry 6 years
I have to say, after taking a few terrible, boring yoga classes in college, on cruise ships, and even in one college class, I was so not on board. Then one of my friends convinced me to go to a corepower class and it completely changed my fitness life! Off to hot yoga tonight and expect to be drenched in sweat and sore for a few days.
Gentle Yoga Sequence
Alessandra Ambrosio's Best Workout Outfits
Nap at Napericse Gym Class
Best Tank Tops For Summer Workouts
From Our Partners
Latest Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds