How can yoga help to improve my cardio fitness?
It is a common belief that yoga asana isn't cardio training. I have heard this quite a lot so I, and a few students, decided to bust the myth by wearing a heart rate monitor on our chests while practising. The results were amazing.
In open levels of a 60-minute class, the average heart rate ranged between 90bpm to 140bpm and the heartbeat was held above the 140bpm range for about 40 minutes. That is great cardio training and also a great kilojoule burn equating to 1470 to 1680 for the average female and 1890 to 2100 for the average male. That is just below a group fitness class or slow jog. So the myth is busted yoga asana is cardio training.
But keep in mind that this was one of the more intense ways to practise yoga, which uses the power vinyasa (flowing) method. Gentler forms won't produce this type of effect but still be very beneficial. So if you're looking to keep your cardio up, try any of the vinyasa methods.
Duncan Peak yoga expert