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11 Steamy Yoga Exercises To Raise Your Heart Rate & Challenge Your Strength


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mbg Associate Food & Health Editor

By Merrell Readman

mbg Associate Food & Health Editor

Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career.

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There’s a time and a place for more intense forms of exercise, but some days all you really want are some movements to help stretch out sore muscles, draw attention back into the body, and raise your heart rate during an active rest day. It’s in these moments that yoga exercises come into play, providing the opportunity to get things moving without doing an all-out HIIT workout.

There are a number of energizing yoga flows on our site to try. And here, we’ve pulled together a compilation of full-body moves that are ideal for releasing negative energy in the body and starting or ending your day on the right foot–all while getting your heart rate up.

Looking for some inspiration for your next yoga session? Here are some of our favorite moves to integrate into nearly any flow to take your practice to the next level and spark a little heat in your body, guided by our favorite instructors.

1.
Three-Legged Dog to Knee-To-Nose

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Demonstrated by Phyllicia Bonanno.

How-to:

From downward dog, reach your right leg up to the sky.

Then, curl and round your spine, bringing your knee in to meet your nose.

From here, move into lunge.

2.
Wild Thing

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Demonstrated by Bonanno.

How-to:

From a downward dog, extend your right leg into the air.

Bring your leg behind your body, letting your foot press into the ground.

Flip your right arm overhead, and press your chest toward the sky.

Return to your starting position.

3.
Dancer Pose

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Demonstrated by Bonanno.

How-to:

Rock and roll your body to come up to a standing position.

Ground down through your left foot. Bend your right leg behind you. Grab the foot from the big toe side.

Reach and extend your left hand up toward the sky. Pull yourself forward. As you open up, push that foot into your hand.

Hold for a few breaths, then come out of the pose. Repeat on the opposite side.

4.
Downward Dog Spinal Waves

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Demonstrated by Emily Chen.

How-to:

Start with your hands and feet on the mat. Lift your hips to form an upside-down “V” position, coming into downward dog. Inhale as you come up high on your toes and then exhale as you press your heels back. Do this three times total.

From here, create a soft bend in your knees, curl your tailbone under, tuck your chin in toward your chest. Then roll your body forward, through your lower back, middle back, then upper back. Come into a high plank.

Softly bend your knees, and reverse the movement, lifting your hips back into a downward-facing dog.

Continue flowing in a fluid movement, through each phase, for three times total. Move on to the next pose.

5.
Wheel Pose

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Demonstrated by Chen.

How-to:

From a bridge pose, bring your hands to the mat, next to your ears.

Press into your hands and feet, and lift your hips up, forming an arch with your whole body.

Hold for three breaths, then slowly lower back down to the mat.

6.
Low Lunge

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Demonstrated by Chen.

How-to:

From a downward-dog position, lift your right leg and place your foot in between your hands. Let your back knee, shin, and the top of your left foot rest on the mat.

Allow your hips to sink down toward the mat, creating a nice stretch.

Stretch your arms into the air, keeping your biceps by your ears. (If you’d like, cactus your arms open for an extra stretch.)

Hold for 8 breaths, then repeat downward-dog hip circles and low lunge on the left side.

7.
Boat Pose

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Demonstrated by Chen.

How-to:

Come into a seated position on your mat.

Engage your core and begin to lean back, lifting your feet off the floor, balancing on your seat.

Keep your knees bent or extend them out straight for an extra challenge.

Hold for 8 breaths.

8.
Figure-4 Chair Pose

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Demonstrated by Bonanno.

How-to:

Come into a standing position on your mat.

Ground down through your left leg. Lift your right knee, and plant your foot onto the thigh.

Flex your foot, hinge at your hips, and lower into a chair pose.

Repeat on the opposite side.

9.
Upward Facing Dog

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Demonstrated by Bonanno.

How-to:

Plant your hands down on the mat, and bring your feet back into a plank position.

Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body down halfway or all the way.

As you inhale, bring your chest forward, bend your back, and gaze to the sky. At the same time, flip your feet over so the tops are pressed to the mat.

Move directly into downward dog.

10.
Warrior 3

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Demonstrated by Bonanno.

How-to:

From a warrior 1 position, ground down through your front foot.

Peel the back toes off the ground, and swing your arms behind you.

Push your back leg up, creating a straight line from toe to torso.

Hold for a couple of breaths.

11.
Plow Pose

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Demonstrated by Bonanno.

How-to:

From a shoulder stand, hinge at your hips and slowly lower your legs behind you until your toes touch the ground.

Interlace your fingers, and press your hands down onto the mat in front of you.

Release your hands, and ground down into the mat with your palms. Slowly lower your legs back down to the mat, one vertebrae at a time.

Once your entire body is on the mat, rest for a moment.

With Tara Stiles Featuring Michael Taylor

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