The mental and physical benefits of yoga are widely known, but there is one aspect of it that gets called into question frequently: is yoga a good workout? This can be a somewhat tricky question to answer, because everyone has a different definition of what it means to work out. Defining “Workout” For some people, a brisk walk is a great workout. It gets your legs moving and your heart rate elevated—both excellent physical benefits. But to others, a workout means a little bit more. More intense exercisers might feel that spending any less than an hour sweating it out at the gym is a waste of time. The truth is, both groups of people are right. They’re exercising according to what makes them feel best, and depending on your personal preferences and physical fitness level, just about anything can be considered a workout. In this way, yoga can be a good workout—but it also depends on the type of yoga you’re practicing. Types Of Yoga Not all yoga is created equal. While each type does have its benefits, a soothing yin class is not going to work up a sweat like a power yoga class would. If you want to turn yoga into a good workout, choose a practice that has strength or conditioning elements to it (or both!). While practicing yoga is never going to have the same cardiovascular benefits as say, going for a run, you might be surprised by how much a vinyasa class can elevate your heart rate. Vinyasa, or flow yoga, synchronizes the movements of the body with the breath as you move through a series of fluid movements. Because you are moving continuously, this type of yoga does have a conditioning element to it. Yoga can also serve as a series of excellent bodyweight exercises. Consider some of the foundational poses of yoga: many of them are exercises that are widely used in traditional strength training. Chair pose, for example, resembles a squat, and plank pose is a great total body strengthener. Is Yoga Enough? So is yoga enough of a workout on its own? It certainly can be a good workout if you choose one that is challenging enough for you, but it’s also most effective when practiced in conjunction with other forms of physical activity. Unless you’re practicing intensely every day of the week, it’s hard to achieve weight loss and strength training goals with yoga alone. Additionally, other types of exercise will help to bolster your yoga practice, and vice versa. That said, a good workout regimen should be well-rounded. Yoga is a wonderful physical activity and is certainly worth incorporating into your routine.