While yoga isn't exactly thought of as a high-intensity workout (unless you're dabbling in Bikram or power yoga), you'd be surprised how many poses can yield a substantial calorie burn. "Yoga is equal parts strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance," said Mandy Ingber, celebrity yoga instructor and author of Yogalosophy for Inner Strength, to Prevention.
In fact, she estimates that one class can burn anywhere from 180 up to 600 calories per hour, depending on intensity and skill level. Compare that to a 20-minute jog, which will burn roughly 144 to 162 calories for a 130-pound woman. Of course, not all poses are created equal; some burn substantially more calories than others. Ingber recommends really leaning into the following three poses during class if calorie burn is your end goal:
Not only are you resisting gravity when planking, but this familiar pose also engages all of your muscles, resulting in substantial calorie burn. "You can increase the calorie burn further with variations like raising one foot an inch or two off of the mat," adds Ingber. The longer you hold the pose, the more you'll burn.
One of the most painful poses in any yoga class, chair forces you to activate your glutes, the largest muscles in your entire body, which burns calories. Best of all, "chair pose is safe and easy for all yogis to perform," adds New York City–based yoga instructor Kristin Lewis.
When done properly, chaturanga is basically like holding the lower part of a pushup, which engages your entire body. "Your core has to be contracted your legs engaged, and your arms working to maintain a 90-degree angle in the elbows," explains Lewis. "It's incredibly challenging and forces even the most advanced practitioners to be mindful and move with control."
Get Your Workout On
Which entry-level yoga poses would you add to this list? Share your thoughts below!