Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga

Does anyone know which of the yoga options is Vinyasa? I keep putting my half hours and it comes up with a pitiful number of calories burned. Thanks.
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Replies

  • vanmep
    vanmep Posts: 396 Member
    Sadly, although it is so great for you, yoga does not actually burn a lot of calories as it is slower moving and not much for weights. I use Les Mills Body Flow which is a hybrid that is faster moving and it does slightly better in burning calories.
  • swandebmaq
    swandebmaq Posts: 5 Member
    Thanks, I walk or run most days for my calories and cardiovascular health. However, there is massive difference between Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa. I haven't heard of many of the options on this site. I was wondering which option is the closest to Vinyasa.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,947 Member
    swandebmaq wrote: »
    Thanks, I walk or run most days for my calories and cardiovascular health. However, there is massive difference between Hatha Yoga and Vinyasa. I haven't heard of many of the options on this site. I was wondering which option is the closest to Vinyasa.

    I do a less vigorous practice and split my time between these:
    • Calisthenics, home, light/moderate effort
    • Stretching, hatha yoga

    You are absolutely correct that Ashtanga is quite vigorous. I'd use one or a combo of these:
    • Calisthenics (pushups, sit-ups), vigorous effort
    • Calisthenics, home, light/moderate effort
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,947 Member
    vanmep wrote: »
    Sadly, although it is so great for you, yoga does not actually burn a lot of calories as it is slower moving and not much for weights. I use Les Mills Body Flow which is a hybrid that is faster moving and it does slightly better in burning calories.

    The OP is asking about Ashtanga, which is a very cardiovascular style of yoga. Here's an article on its origins:

    https://www.npr.org/transcripts/411202468

    ...this was a time when there was a worldwide craze for what was then called physical culture - you know, essentially physical exercise. And there was a number of people in India who said, well, we have our own traditional Indian version of physical culture. And, you know, this was during the Indian nationalist movement. They said, you know, we have this in our own tradition. We have a superior version of physical culture called yoga.

    And what they did is they took some practices that had been part of the kind of mystical yogic tradition going back to medieval times. They combined them with physical practices that came from Indian wrestlers, you know, particularly kind of what they called dands or push-ups. They took elements from a gymnastics system that had become popular with the British Army - so kind of British Army calisthenics and gymnastics. And they took elements of traditional Indian gymnastics, things that had not before been seen as part of any sort of a religious or spiritual tradition. And there was a number of innovators who were kind of mixing all of these things together.

    Now, Krishnamacharya was the yogi-in-residence at the Mysore Palace. And the maharajah of Mysore was this very progressive nationalist figure who, you know, really wanted to unite the best of the East and the best of the West. And so he sponsored Krishnamacharya to run a yoga school in the palace. And Krishnamacharya, because a lot of his students were young, royal boys, created a system that would, you know, sort of capture their - you know, the animal energy of an 8- or a 9- or a 10-year-old boy. And so, you know, he put in things that if you do yoga now are really familiar to you. You know, the jump-backs and the chaturangas, which is the sort of half push-ups, and these very fast, flowing movements that we call vinyasa. He created a lot of those things, and...

    GROSS: But he created them for 8-year-old boys and not for adults.

    GOLDBERG: (Laughter) Well, yes. Part of the reason that Ashtanga yoga, which is probably the sort of purest version of his system, which was taught by one of his students named Pattabhi Jois. You know, part of the reason that it's so aerobic and so challenging, again, is because it was made for - it was made for young boys who had that sort of animal energy to challenge.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 916 Member
    That’s strange- I just did a Boho Beautiful vinyasa flow and when I type in vinyasa yoga flow it comes up as one of the options and that’s what I use.
  • Psychgrrl
    Psychgrrl Posts: 3,172 Member
    edited March 2021
    swandebmaq wrote: »
    Does anyone know which of the yoga options is Vinyasa? I keep putting my half hours and it comes up with a pitiful number of calories burned. Thanks.

    Vinyasa will help build muscle over time (all those chaturungas and holding poses like chair and plank for five breaths at a time). Building muscle is good—it’s not all about the burn rate. Weightlifting doesn’t burn a lot of calories, either. But it has a lot of benefits.
  • swandebmaq
    swandebmaq Posts: 5 Member
    Thank you for your replies. I think I have put my question badly. Thanks xxzenabxx. I will try putting flow in.

  • MarziPanda95
    MarziPanda95 Posts: 1,318 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    vanmep wrote: »
    Sadly, although it is so great for you, yoga does not actually burn a lot of calories as it is slower moving and not much for weights. I use Les Mills Body Flow which is a hybrid that is faster moving and it does slightly better in burning calories.

    I’m sorry but I’m going strongly DISAGREE. I’ve got a yoga instructor friend who can balance on one hand, do hand stands and all sorts of intense body weight exercises. Yoga is very similar to callisthenics, depending on which type you do. Only yin yoga and hatha yoga are the gentle ones. Try Vinyasa, ashtanga and bikram yoga before calling it gentle. Yoga is one of my go to workouts and I love it and it gets my heart rate up as well as helping with balance and strength.

    I don't think that's what vanmep meant, though. They never said it wouldn't build muscle or make you fit. They said it's good for you, which is true. But it's usually more similar to weight lifting and body resistance type exercises. It will build muscle and make you fit, which are great. But it doesn't usually burn that many calories compared to classic cardio like running or swimming. A high heart rate isn't a measure of calories burned, it's a measure of effort. My heartrate goes high when I'm weightlifting, but I know it doesn't burn many calories.

    The faster and more rigorous yoga (which vinyasa is part of) is more comparable to HIIT, I find, which does burn decent calories. But the kind of yoga that the average person does, doesn't burn all that much.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 916 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    vanmep wrote: »
    Sadly, although it is so great for you, yoga does not actually burn a lot of calories as it is slower moving and not much for weights. I use Les Mills Body Flow which is a hybrid that is faster moving and it does slightly better in burning calories.

    I’m sorry but I’m going strongly DISAGREE. I’ve got a yoga instructor friend who can balance on one hand, do hand stands and all sorts of intense body weight exercises. Yoga is very similar to callisthenics, depending on which type you do. Only yin yoga and hatha yoga are the gentle ones. Try Vinyasa, ashtanga and bikram yoga before calling it gentle. Yoga is one of my go to workouts and I love it and it gets my heart rate up as well as helping with balance and strength.

    I don't think that's what vanmep meant, though. They never said it wouldn't build muscle or make you fit. They said it's good for you, which is true. But it's usually more similar to weight lifting and body resistance type exercises. It will build muscle and make you fit, which are great. But it doesn't usually burn that many calories compared to classic cardio like running or swimming. A high heart rate isn't a measure of calories burned, it's a measure of effort. My heartrate goes high when I'm weightlifting, but I know it doesn't burn many calories.

    The faster and more rigorous yoga (which vinyasa is part of) is more comparable to HIIT, I find, which does burn decent calories. But the kind of yoga that the average person does, doesn't burn all that much.

    Yoga originally comes from my culture and let me tell you how irritating it is that the west has just popularised it as only some hippie relaxation trend when in reality there are so many asanas that even the fittest runners couldn’t do. Please do not compare it to weight lifting- with lifting you use reps, sets and rest. Yoga is a flow and there is no rest unless your doing hatha or yin yoga (which I did mention) but people need to let go of the notion that it is easy and doesn’t burn many calories because it does. If you lift weights in a minimum rest circuit style workout then that burns calories so why wouldn’t this?
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,947 Member
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    vanmep wrote: »
    Sadly, although it is so great for you, yoga does not actually burn a lot of calories as it is slower moving and not much for weights. I use Les Mills Body Flow which is a hybrid that is faster moving and it does slightly better in burning calories.

    I’m sorry but I’m going strongly DISAGREE. I’ve got a yoga instructor friend who can balance on one hand, do hand stands and all sorts of intense body weight exercises. Yoga is very similar to callisthenics, depending on which type you do. Only yin yoga and hatha yoga are the gentle ones. Try Vinyasa, ashtanga and bikram yoga before calling it gentle. Yoga is one of my go to workouts and I love it and it gets my heart rate up as well as helping with balance and strength.

    I don't think that's what vanmep meant, though. They never said it wouldn't build muscle or make you fit. They said it's good for you, which is true. But it's usually more similar to weight lifting and body resistance type exercises. It will build muscle and make you fit, which are great. But it doesn't usually burn that many calories compared to classic cardio like running or swimming. A high heart rate isn't a measure of calories burned, it's a measure of effort. My heartrate goes high when I'm weightlifting, but I know it doesn't burn many calories.

    The faster and more rigorous yoga (which vinyasa is part of) is more comparable to HIIT, I find, which does burn decent calories. But the kind of yoga that the average person does, doesn't burn all that much.

    The OP didn't reference "the kind of yoga that the average person does" - the title of this thread is "Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga."

    Try some Ashtanga and get back to us ;)

    Just kidding - as a yoga teacher I cannot in good conscience recommend someone jump straight into Ashtanga without in person instruction.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 916 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    xxzenabxx wrote: »
    vanmep wrote: »
    Sadly, although it is so great for you, yoga does not actually burn a lot of calories as it is slower moving and not much for weights. I use Les Mills Body Flow which is a hybrid that is faster moving and it does slightly better in burning calories.

    I’m sorry but I’m going strongly DISAGREE. I’ve got a yoga instructor friend who can balance on one hand, do hand stands and all sorts of intense body weight exercises. Yoga is very similar to callisthenics, depending on which type you do. Only yin yoga and hatha yoga are the gentle ones. Try Vinyasa, ashtanga and bikram yoga before calling it gentle. Yoga is one of my go to workouts and I love it and it gets my heart rate up as well as helping with balance and strength.

    I don't think that's what vanmep meant, though. They never said it wouldn't build muscle or make you fit. They said it's good for you, which is true. But it's usually more similar to weight lifting and body resistance type exercises. It will build muscle and make you fit, which are great. But it doesn't usually burn that many calories compared to classic cardio like running or swimming. A high heart rate isn't a measure of calories burned, it's a measure of effort. My heartrate goes high when I'm weightlifting, but I know it doesn't burn many calories.

    The faster and more rigorous yoga (which vinyasa is part of) is more comparable to HIIT, I find, which does burn decent calories. But the kind of yoga that the average person does, doesn't burn all that much.

    The OP didn't reference "the kind of yoga that the average person does" - the title of this thread is "Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga."

    Try some Ashtanga and get back to us ;)

    Just kidding - as a yoga teacher I cannot in good conscience recommend someone jump straight into Ashtanga without in person instruction.

    Definitely agree 😊
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,947 Member
    Not an Ashtanga flow but one of my favorite illustrations of the strength needed to do some yoga postures:

  • vanmep
    vanmep Posts: 396 Member
    A beautiful video full of strength, flexibility and athleticism.

    I did not in any way mean to imply that yoga was easy or restful. I understand that it requires great levels of fitness and strength.

    I am no expert on any exercise, but my research indicates that cardio exercise is the best for burning calories. Lifting weights burns few calories during the activity but builds muscle that burns more calories over the long term while at rest.

    Only in that sense do I think weight lifting and yoga are similar - the activity itself burns few calories, but builds muscle and strength that increases long term calorie burn at rest.

    There is a thread around here somewhere about how many calories are burned doing a handstand. There was lots of back and forth on the thread but it did seem the consensus was that if calorie burn was the primary goal, a handstand would not be the best way to achieve it.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,947 Member
    vanmep wrote: »
    A beautiful video full of strength, flexibility and athleticism.

    I did not in any way mean to imply that yoga was easy or restful. I understand that it requires great levels of fitness and strength.

    I am no expert on any exercise, but my research indicates that cardio exercise is the best for burning calories. Lifting weights burns few calories during the activity but builds muscle that burns more calories over the long term while at rest.

    Only in that sense do I think weight lifting and yoga are similar - the activity itself burns few calories, but builds muscle and strength that increases long term calorie burn at rest.

    There is a thread around here somewhere about how many calories are burned doing a handstand. There was lots of back and forth on the thread but it did seem the consensus was that if calorie burn was the primary goal, a handstand would not be the best way to achieve it.

    Again, you are confusing more common ways to practice yoga with the subject of the OP. Ashtanga yoga (which that video was not) is not static and is very cardiovascular.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 26,208 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    vanmep wrote: »
    A beautiful video full of strength, flexibility and athleticism.

    I did not in any way mean to imply that yoga was easy or restful. I understand that it requires great levels of fitness and strength.

    I am no expert on any exercise, but my research indicates that cardio exercise is the best for burning calories. Lifting weights burns few calories during the activity but builds muscle that burns more calories over the long term while at rest.

    Only in that sense do I think weight lifting and yoga are similar - the activity itself burns few calories, but builds muscle and strength that increases long term calorie burn at rest.

    There is a thread around here somewhere about how many calories are burned doing a handstand. There was lots of back and forth on the thread but it did seem the consensus was that if calorie burn was the primary goal, a handstand would not be the best way to achieve it.

    Again, you are confusing more common ways to practice yoga with the subject of the OP. Ashtanga yoga (which that video was not) is not static and is very cardiovascular.

    I respect what she's doing there, and I for sure couldn't do it. But I'd stake out sort of a middle ground here. I can 100% appreciate that a more intense form of yoga will burn more calories than the more common milder forms. I'm totally not a yoga expert, either.

    But watching a flow like that, my expectation would be that there would be a high probability of getting a calorie OVERestimate from a heart rate monitor. There are things involved that raise heart rate for reasons other than oxygen uptake, and it's the oxygen demand that correlates with calorie expenditure during cardiovascular exercise, not other forms of difficulty. (The same is true for some types of calisthenics, for strength-oriented circuit training, and some other modalities.)

    Strength moves raise heart rate from internal pressure, not *just* oxygen demand. I'd expect inversions to increase heart rate for similar reasons. Breath control tends to increase heart rate somewhat as well, and I'd expect there to be some of that in these flows.

    I'm not saying it doesn't burn calories, nor that it burns no more calories than slow strength training, nor that it's not a good calorie burner in some reasonable sense. I'm just saying I would be skeptical of a heart rate monitor estimate, as an indicator of calorie burn. I don't use HRM estimates for the simpler forms of yoga I do, nor for any of the strength training. Those are cases where I think METS-based estimates are more likely to be in the ballpark, if the METS are right for the yoga type. (I'd note that most METS estimates include BMR/RMR so are gross estimates, when we really want net.)

    The Compendium of Physical Activities (a compilation of METS based on research results) lists a few (sadly few!) types of yoga under conditioning exercises. The highest METS, at 4.0, are for what they've labeled "Power Yoga", and it's listed as estimated rather than research based. The highest listed research-based estimate is for Surya Namaskar (whatever that is! 😉) at 3.3 METS. For comparison purposes, moderate effort circuit training is 4.3 METS (research based), as is walking at 3.5mph (which is brisk) on a level firm surface. Standard reps/sets weight training is 3.5, the type of slower calisthenics that *might* be similar (described as "push ups, sit ups, pull-ups, lunges, moderate effort" is listed at 3.8.

    I don't know what the proper comparative for Ashtanga is. I've seen someone do it only once, and have major respect for it. It's intense. I suspect that one of you who have done it could find other exercises in the Compendium that might seem to have similar physical demands, to get some better comparatives. I don't think a HRM is going to be a great, reliable source. Orders of magnitude off? Maybe not. But distorted.

    https://sites.google.com/site/compendiumofphysicalactivities/
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 916 Member
    vanmep wrote: »
    A beautiful video full of strength, flexibility and athleticism.

    I did not in any way mean to imply that yoga was easy or restful. I understand that it requires great levels of fitness and strength.

    I am no expert on any exercise, but my research indicates that cardio exercise is the best for burning calories. Lifting weights burns few calories during the activity but builds muscle that burns more calories over the long term while at rest.

    Only in that sense do I think weight lifting and yoga are similar - the activity itself burns few calories, but builds muscle and strength that increases long term calorie burn at rest.

    There is a thread around here somewhere about how many calories are burned doing a handstand. There was lots of back and forth on the thread but it did seem the consensus was that if calorie burn was the primary goal, a handstand would not be the best way to achieve it.

    Again please don’t confuse weights and yoga. They are not the same. Weights don’t burn much because traditionally you rest for 2-3 minutes whereas ashtanga yoga is not like that. It is much more cardio vascular and it was because of these sort of claims that I started undereating because I believed all this nonsense that yoga doesn’t burn many calories. I said it before and I’ll say it again- YES IT DOES. You’re confusing static movement with continuous movement. Yes, it might not burn as many calories as running but the misconception that yoga doesn’t burn many calories needs to go! I can burn 400-500 calories doing 50-60 minutes of vinyasa yoga. Way more than the measly 100-150 that most people claim. All the OP was asking for was a more accurate higher burn estimate and this is my personal experience as well other professionals experience too.
  • xxzenabxx
    xxzenabxx Posts: 916 Member


    This is one of the videos that I was talking about! One of my favourites.
  • vanmep
    vanmep Posts: 396 Member
    “Yes, it might not burn as many calories as running but the misconception that yoga doesn’t burn many calories needs to go! I can burn 400-500 calories doing 50-60 minutes of vinyasa yoga.”

    I’m jealous. I can’t burn that many calories even with running or biking. 😩 The only thing that burns 10 calories a minute for me is jump rope and I can’t do that for very long yet. Enjoy your awesome yoga and your awesome calorie burn 😊
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 2,887 Member
    kshama2001 wrote: »
    Not an Ashtanga flow but one of my favorite illustrations of the strength needed to do some yoga postures:


    Drawn in by the beautiful bedroom setting with gorgeous windows, evidently on both sides of the bedroom. Is that a person in the bed? Like, sleeping/resting with production crew right there? So easily distracted (raises hand). Amazing strength and beauty. As you were.