There is no doubt that practicing yoga is amazing for your mind and body, but sometimes you need something a little more active. Although any workout can be a good complement, it's best to find workouts that incorporate cardio and weight strengthening since there is not much of that in a yoga class. By inviting weight strengthening into your weekly workouts you can build up the strength for handstands and other arm balances that might feel out of reach. While you can find these alternative workouts at your local gym, some of these can also be done from home with minimal workout gear! A few of our favorite workouts that can be done from home or the gym include boxing, barre exercises, and cardio.
If you like classes that go to the beat of the music, you will probably love barre. This ballet-inspired workout class focuses on toning the body and lifting your tush. The benefit of going to a few classes before bringing this practice home is that you will really learn the motions and what the alignment of your body should be. If you are not “tucking” correctly in certain postures you might feel pain in your lower back the next day and you can potentially injure yourself over time.
To properly support your lower back it's important to draw your navel towards your spine and lengthen your tailbone down; it should feel like you are tucking your belly in. Barre incorporates light weights (2-5 lbs.) to workout the arms, and a resistance band and soft medicine ball for your legs.
Boxing is an empowering workout that leaves you feeling like you can defend yourself and kick some butt! This high-intensity class is done in intervals with optional exercises during the breaks. Boxing targets your arms and has some cardio since you are doing footwork around your boxing bag. At the end of a boxing class you will have an abs workout that incorporates a medicine ball for more strengthening and, as with any good workout, they will end with some stretching. A boxing class will get your heart rate up, have you breaking a sweat and feeling sore in your arms. We would recommend going to a few boxing classes at your local gym or Title Boxing Club before bringing this practice home. If your local gym doesn’t offer classes check out YouTube and grab some light hand weights to practice the motions of a boxing class.
Jumping rope for 3-5 minute intervals is a great and fun way to get cardio into your weekly workout routine. Put on some upbeat music, set your timer, and get your heartbeat up! If you don’t have a jump rope you can run in place, do jumping jacks or high knees. Really anything to get your heart rate up and body moving. If you are a fan of running go run outside during the cooler parts of the day!
It is really beneficial to switch up your workouts so you can target different areas of your body. If you don’t want to do anything in addition to your yoga practice (or don't have time) try to amp up your home practice by putting on ankle weights or using light hand weights in the warrior poses. You can add in cardio by going on walks or doing one of the activities listed above as well. We would love to hear what workout you do to complement your yoga practice or if you have tried any of the ones listed above!
About the Author
Megan Rae Eastburn is a certified Akhanda Yoga teacher and teaches locally in Pensacola, Florida. You can follow along with her adventures and healthy lifestyle on Light by Megan Rae (www.meganraeoflight.com) or find her on Instagram (www.instagram.com/meganraeoflight).