Side view of focused calm female in sportive outfit concentrating in warrior pose on yoga mat with yellow background behind

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How to Create a Yoga-Focused Workout Routine at Any Fitness Level

Incorporating a variety of workouts into your routine can elevate your time on the mat.

By Lucy MaherUpdated December 11, 2023


Once you start to feel the many benefits of consistent yoga workouts, it can be tempting to skip out on other types of exercise. And although there’s no problem with making yoga the backbone of your fitness plan, focusing on only one form of movement could prevent you from tapping into your full potential.

Mixing in other workouts, such as swimming and strength training, can introduce your body to a wide range of health benefits. Here’s how you can start building a well-rounded, yoga-focused workout routine—without leaving the comfort of your home

How Often Should You Practice Yoga?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how often you should be on your mat. Your routine is largely determined by your personal goals and preferences. 

“In a typical week, I’m on my mat for my own practice six times,” says Peloton instructor Ross Rayburn. “Two times, I do what I consider a ‘therapeutic’ practice, which is slow and methodical with precision alignment, basically a powerful recovery practice; two times a week, taking one of my colleagues’ classes on the Peloton App; and twice a week, a strong, vigorous class with advanced poses. I take a Peloton cycling class a few times a week, and I strength train as well, sometimes at the gym, on my own, and sometimes with the App.”

Your schedule may look a little different, but you can follow Ross' lead to ensure your workouts are well-rounded and balanced. Taking inspiration from the professional fitness instructor’s lineup, you can include a combination of cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and recovery-focused moves in your routine.

Understanding Your Goals and Your Body's Needs

Anyone trying a new activity for the first time should approach it with a beginner mindset (no matter how skilled they may be at other workouts). That said, it’s important to have a handle on your fitness level and goals before getting started.

The first step for those who are in the early stages of their personal fitness journey is designing a yoga-focused workout routine for beginners. They may need to start slower than an experienced athlete who’s adding yoga to an already rigorous routine. 

Keep in mind: There are many different types of yoga (Kundalini yoga, Yin yoga, and power yoga—to name a few). So if you’re prioritizing relaxation and stretching, you’ll probably want to try a different yoga style than someone who wants to incorporate their practice into a strength training routine.

Balancing Intensity and Recovery

Yoga can be a great form of active recovery, but if it’s the focus of your workout routine, you still need to allocate time for rest. Regardless of your fitness level, you shouldn’t work out at 100 percent every day. Always listen to your body and take rest days (or low-intensity days) when you need them. 

Man on ground in childs pose - yoga

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Why Incorporate Other Types of Exercises Into Your Routine?

Enhancing Strength and Endurance

If you’re eager to level up your workouts, you need to do workouts that focus on different parts of your body. According to research from the National Institute on Aging, it’s important to alternate between workouts that cover all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. Not sure where to start? Endurance comes primarily from cardio activity, weight lifting builds strength, and yoga boosts both balance and flexibility.

Preventing Plateaus and Imbalances

Repeating the same workouts often feels easier than switching things up, but doing the same moves over and over could eventually lead you to plateau. And when your body becomes accustomed to the same movements, it gets harder to progress toward your goals. Repetitive wear and tear on the same muscles can even increase your risk of injury. Plus, mixing up your workouts means you get different benefits and exercise a wider variety of muscles.

Workouts to Complement Yoga

There’s not one specific exercise that best combines with yoga, so if you’re looking to flesh out your routine, you can choose from a variety of workouts that fit well alongside a regular practice.

Cardio: Boosting Cardiovascular Health and Stamina

Regular cardio exercise (walking, hiking, running, and cycling) comes with its own benefits. It can strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, and keep your blood sugar in check.

Peloton yoga and meditation instructor Chelsea Jackson Roberts gets her heart rate up using indoor cycling and running. “I integrate cardio through classes and will often meet up with family members and friends on the Leaderboard,” she says. “I try to get on the Peloton Tread daily for at least a 20-minute brisk walk. I love the hikes too!”

Weight Lifting: Building Muscle and Bone Density

Chelsea is also a big proponent of strength training. “The older I get, the more I realize how essential it is to build strength, especially for women,” she says. “Cardio, plus strength, plus stretching, plus breathwork is a recipe for holistic wellness. What is so great is that all of these workouts complement each other, and yoga and meditation are the practices that can keep us mindful and aware of what we need and how we need it.” Slotting yoga into your weight-lifting schedule (or vice versa) can help you build strength and flexibility. 

Pilates: Improving Core Strength and Posture

Pilates movements can help you develop core and side strength and improve postural alignment, among many other benefits. Many people group yoga and Pilates together, and for good reason. They’re both low-impact workouts with slow, controlled movements that often focus on muscle extension and breathing. 

That’s not to say they’re the same, though. Pilates moves are usually more active than yoga poses, which tend to be held for longer periods of time. Typically, yoga has more of an emphasis on mental well-being, although that’s not to say Pilates can’t also boost your mood.

Swimming: Enhancing Flexibility and Joint Health

Swimming and yoga can work in concert with each other, as they both build muscular strength, improve circulation, and enhance joint mobility. Plus, yoga’s emphasis on breathing makes it a great companion to swimming, as it can increase lung capacity. The flexibility you build by practicing different yoga poses can also improve your form in the water.

Benefits of a Well-Rounded Yoga Routine

If you’ve routinely practiced yoga, you’re likely aware of its many benefits, including improved balance, strength, and flexibility. Doing yoga workouts can also help you manage stress and get better sleep.

Mental Clarity and Stress Reduction

Yoga’s emphasis on a mind-body connection, meditation, and mindful breathing may bring you both physical and mental-health benefits—from counteracting stress to lowering blood pressure.

Improved Posture and Flexibility

When you practice different yoga poses, you’re stretching your muscles and connective tissues, in turn extending your body’s range of motion. 

Being more flexible is all-around great, helping you decrease injury risk and increase blood flow to your muscles. As an added bonus, many yoga poses also engage your core, neck, and spine—all areas that support good posture

Enhanced Muscle Tone and Strength

Power yoga classes are designed to help you build strength, but you don’t need to take the most advanced class to make progress. A consistent yoga practice can help you build both strength and endurance. Plus, many yoga poses use body weight as resistance, meaning you may be building strength without lifting super heavy. 

Boosted Immune System and Overall Health

We know lower stress levels can be beneficial for a person’s health. A review by the NIH of 15 different clinical trials found a pattern suggesting that a consistent yoga practice can help minimize inflammation and enhance immune function.

If you’re new to yoga, or just looking for more ways to incorporate it into a cardio- or strength-heavy routine, our instructors suggest starting with five-minute Beginner and Yoga Basics classes.

However you’re incorporating yoga into your workout routine, Peloton has a class to fit your needs. Chelsea notes: “We have a squad of world-class yoga teachers who call on a diverse range of ways to get your yoga practice started.”


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