As a refresher, “stamina” is your ability to push through a workout without getting tired—in other words, it’s what drives you to reach your maximum effort in the gym for a given length of time—which is fundamental to your overall strength. “Stamina is important for a productive life,”says Zac Armstrong, master instructor at YogaSix. “If you don’t have stamina, how will you accomplish multiple things in a day without getting fatigued?” So, for example, the better your stamina is, the better you’ll be able to catch up with your running puppy… a very important daily life activity, indeed.
Unlike HIIT or cardio, which keep you at your max effort for long periods of time, yoga works to boost stamina mainly through its focus on matching your breathing with your movement. “Yoga can improve your stamina and cardiorespiratory fitness because it helps your body better utilize its oxygen intake,” says Armstrong. And learning how to control your breath—and make the most of every inhalation, the way you do in a yoga class—can pay off immensely in endurance-focused activities like running or cycling. “Yoga also opens up your body in general, creating more room for your respiratory system to operate.” Plus, not only can you actually build physical stamina while keeping still, but staying calm during the discomfort of certain poses can help you build mental stamina, too, says Armstrong. Ready to flow for your stamina powers? Keep scrolling for how to do it in your next practice.
How to use yoga to increase stamina
1. Incorporate power yoga flows: Armstrong recommends mixing a fast-paced power class into your weekly workout mix, as these challenge your cardio endurance.
2. Do slow flow classes: Slower-moving flows may not feel as intense as those that get your heart-rate up, but they do help you subtly build strength and mental stamina by holding poses for longer periods of time.
3. Consider hot yoga: Another option is to sign up for a heated yoga class. “Heat and humidity add a challenging aspect to your breathing patterns,” says Armstrong. “In heated rooms, you have a tendency to use more oxygen, so it’s imperative to be able to control your breathing and heart rate so you don’t overheat.” This then improves your cardiorespiratory fitness, and ultimately, your stamina.
Get flowing with this 11-minute yoga workout:
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