If feeling strong, toned and confident is part of your mantra this month, spring into action and recharge your exercise routine with our muscle-defining, effective calorie-burning active yoga workout. If you still think of yoga as a relaxing, "stretchy-feely" discipline, you might want to consider joining the 15 million Americans (twice as many as five years ago) who have realized what an incredible workout it can be. Deep, energizing breaths combined with fluid movement and challenging poses train your heart and lungs, light up your muscles and make you feel amazing.
In this program, you'll move smoothly from one pose to the next (this progression, or flow, of poses is known as a vinyasa), rather than holding each position. In addition to the cardiovascular calorie burn this achieves, you'll tone and reshape your entire body, making you look longer, stronger and leaner. So if you've been "cocooning" all winter, it's time for a breath of fresh air ... literally. Get out of your shell and onto your yoga mat and experience the power of yoga.
Workout schedule Do these moves in the order shown at least 3 times a week. To make it a truly cardio-style yoga workout, move from one pose to the next without stopping (but also without getting breathless), giving yourself 4-6 counts to move into each pose before going on to the next. Repeat the sequence 6-8 times, alternating sides each time you perform the Warrior I, Warrior II and Side Plank poses.
Warm-up Begin by moving slowly through the first sequence of moves, giving yourself 6-8 counts for each pose.
Cool-down Complete this program by stretching all of your major muscle groups (to bring your heart rate down and elongate your muscles), holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds without bouncing.
Cardio clue While this workout will get your heart rate up and yield some cardiovascular benefits, it shouldn't be substituted for a regular aerobic program. Aim to do at least 30 minutes of cardio activity 3-5 times a week. For an in-depth cardio, click on strength and stretch program, and the walk/run program.