Yoga is a great addition to any fitness routine. Unlike your high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts or weight-lifting sessions, yoga is often slow, and it focuses more on being mindful and stretching out the body—two things that come with huge benefits. It's totally possible, though, to incorporate strength training into a yoga workout too.
The combo of an intense strength-training workout and slow, mindful yoga is referred to as "power yoga." It's my favorite type of yoga. For a long time, I always felt like something was missing from the yoga classes I took. Yes, I know there is value in taking it slow and using a restorative yoga class to calm your mind and body. But I've always just felt like I needed something more to be able to leave class feeling accomplished. When I discovered this hybrid type of yoga, I was thrilled. While bringing weights into the yoga studio is certainly not for everyone, it's a great fit for me, and my guess is that there are plenty of other people out there who would agree.
Lara Gobins, a certified yoga instructor and studio manager at CorePower Yoga's new New York City studio, tells SELF that for a lot of people, this combo of strength training and peacefulness is exactly what they need. "What I love about strength training and yoga is you get to ground yourself," she says. It can be hard to go from a hectic day straight into a workout, so I actually look forward to the pause I get at the beginning of a power-yoga class. "Power yoga has you starting off with an intention and slowing down your body and mind to set you up for success." It's for those of us who crave results-oriented workouts but need that relaxing peacefulness too—whether we want to admit it or not.
To help you discover the magic of power yoga, Gobins put together the 20-minute workout below. She modeled it on CorePower's Yoga Sculpt class, which mixes yoga sequencing and cardio with strength-training moves like squats, lunges, and bicep curls. "In New York, Sculpt has been our most popular class," Gobins says. Sounds like I'm not the only one around here who prefers my meditative stretching with a side of booty burn.
The below routine takes only 20 minutes and will give you a total-body workout with strengthening and stretching benefits. If you don't have a set of dumbbells (anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds should be good, depending on your current strength), you can do all the moves with just your body weight. Gobins also offers ways to modify the moves to make them a little easier, so this can really be adapted for all levels.
The workout starts off with some light stretches to get your body ready. Then it goes into strength moves and ends with more stretching.
In between each of the strength moves—starting with weighted squats and ending with leg lifts—Gobins suggests flowing through Sun Salutation A. (If you're not familiar with Sun Salutation A, learn how to do it here.). This will help you smoothly transition between exercises, and it serves as active rest between strength sets. If the sun salutation is a little too much for you, then pause in Downward Facing Dog for about five breaths between each strength exercise.
Here's what the workout includes:
- Child's Pose — 5 breaths (One breath means a complete breath in and out.)
- Downward Facing Dog — 5 to 6 breaths
- Rag Doll — 5 to 6 breaths
- Sun Salutation A — 3 reps
- High Plank — 10 to 15 seconds
- Chaturanga Push-Ups — 3 reps
- Upward Facing Dog — 1 full breath
- Weighted Squats — 1 minute
- Weighted Lunges With Biceps Curls — 12 reps each side
- Lawnmower Rows — 12 reps each side
- Oblique Twists — 16 reps
- Glute Bridges — 8 reps each side
- Chest Fly — 10 reps
- Weighted Crunch With Oblique Twist — 20 reps alternating sides
- Leg Lifts — 12 reps
- Figure Four — 30 seconds each side
- Reclined Spinal Twist — 30 seconds
- Savasana — 30 seconds to 2 minutes
Here's how to do the moves: