I love my yoga but I also enjoy aerobic exercise as well. Getting my heart pumping and working up a sweat feels good to me, so I try to get an aerobic workout in 3x/week. Still, yoga is my priority, so it gets the lion's share of my time. As for the remaining time -- well, I use it wisely.
I've had many clients come to me wanting to lose weight. Rather than give them a strenuous yoga practice -- one that would last for at least an hour -- I suggest separating yoga from exercise and being short and sweet with both. Personally, I don't spend longer than 20 minutes on my aerobic exercise, and my yoga practices run anywhere from 15-60 minutes (depending upon my mood and schedule). This way, I get balance without worrying about fitting it all in.
Fit, Thin, and Calm in 12 Minutes a Day
My aerobic exercise of choice is high intensity interval training or heart rate variability training. Essentially, you work hard for 30-60 seconds and rest for one minute. This wonderful article by John Douillard -- Be Fit, Thin, and Calm in 12 Minutes a Day -- explains the benefits of exercising this way as well as offering helpful tips for getting started.
If I'm in the mood to add a little yogic flavor to my aerobic workout, I'll do Breath of Fire during an interval, or I'll do sets inspired by Kundalini Yoga:
Har Aerobic Kriya -- I love this kriya because it gets my heart pumping and it's also a wonderful emotional release. I typically run through this kriya 5 times then rest for 60-90 seconds before repeating it another 5 times, resting and repeating for a final 5 times. Sometimes I'll warm-up with some Sun Salutations and end with some stretches (this Kundalini Spinal Set often feels good for a quick cool-down).
Yoga for Healthy Weight Loss -- the exercises outlined in this video are also wonderful for getting the blood pumping. To turn this into an interval training workout, run through one circuit of the exercises followed by 60 seconds of rest. Repeat 2-3 times.
Eating Green and Clean
Of course it's not all about exercise. What you put in your body matters. I certainly don't eat perfect all of the time, but I try to eat organic, limit processed foods, be mindful of my sugar intake, eat plenty of vegetables, and balance my protein and carb intake in a day. I don't measure things out or count calories or obsess over food -- instead I aim for balance here too. Click here for a health -- and easy to follow -- eating plan from yogi Kathryn Budig .
Deprivation is a Bad Word
Rather than deprive myself of anything, I eat a little of whatever I want. I also look for healthier alternatives to some of my favorite foods. My current treat is yummy raw chocolate from Fortina (Fortina also makes dark chocolate ).
Rather than shoot for perfection, I focus on balance. I balance my yoga with aerobic exercise and treats with healthy eating. I've come to find that less is more -- I spend less time working out than I ever used to and less time fretting about what I eat and yet I feel and look better than I ever have. Hmmm...I guess more, harder, longer, faster isn't always the best way.