I love doing yoga, but I'm wondering if practicing just yoga is actually enough. Do I need to complement my training with some cardio workouts? Natasha K.
Hey there, sister. I’m glad you’re enjoying your journey with yoga! I wish I had a clear-cut answer for you, but like most of my responses, I’ll have to tell you, “It depends.”
Firstly, figuring out if yoga is “enough” depends on what exactly you want out of your yoga practice. Are you looking to reduce stress? Or get a little stronger? Maybe you’re just looking to find your center? Whatever it is, the amount and intensity of your yoga practice will be based on what exactly you’re looking for. Once you’ve decided that, move to step two.
Next, evaluate the style of yoga that you’re practicing. Are you taking an intense Vinyasa flow class four times a week? A yin class every other day? Bikram once a month? Obviously, it’s a lot more stressful to the body to be doing two power yoga classes a day as opposed to a restorative class once a week. So for me to tell you that your practice isn’t “enough” wouldn’t be fair. Make a list of the classes that you’re drawn to, and then move on to the last step.
Finally, try to figure out how your practice makes you feel. Do you find yourself dreading going to class or are you super excited to jump out of bed and start your day with yoga? As soon as yoga becomes a chore, it’s time to stop what you’re doing, and go through the steps from the beginning. Even in the most intense, power yoga classes, the roots of the practice stand in concentration, truth, and paying respect to the yogi (which means you!).
If you’ve decided that you want to dedicate your yoga practice to getting in shape, cardio is indeed a great pairing option. In fact, different styles, like Vinyasa, are quite cardio-centric. Find the balance you need of yoga and other methods of exercising. This could mean you run or bike every other day, accompanying the cardio with light yoga stretches before and after. The key to this lies in step number three as listed above. Listen to your body and your mind, and figure out how you’re reacting to movement and meditation.