Is Yoga Aerobic Or Anaerobic
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Is Yoga Aerobic or Anaerobic

A few days ago I was wondering, is yoga aerobic or anaerobic? So I decided to do a mini research to answer that question and write about it here for all of you who had the same question in mind.

But before I will answer this question I would like to give a short background on what is exactly an aerobic and anaerobic exercise. This will help us answer the question, is yoga aerobic or anaerobic.

What is an Aerobic Exercise

As defined by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) aerobic exercise is any activity that uses large muscle groups. Aerobic exercise is considered when ATP (adenosine triphosphate – a small molecule that transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism), is released from the cells.

The criterion measure for aerobic capacity is the peak oxygen consumption (VO2), which can be measured either through graded exercise ergometry or treadmill protocols with an oxygen consumption analyzer or via mathematical formulas. (World J Cardiol)

There are many examples of aerobic exercise such as:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/Walking
  • Long distance running

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What is an Anaerobic Exercise

As defined by The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM):

An intense physical activity of very short duration, fueled by the energy sources within the contracting muscles and independent of the use of inhaled oxygen as an energy source. (World J Cardiol)

When the body is in very short physical activity the cells don’t need to use oxygen, instead uses energy in the formation on glycolysis and fermentation. Which means that the cells use much less ATP than in an aerobic exercise.

Examples for Anaerobic exercises are:

  • Sprints
  • Power-Lifting
  • High-intensity and short duration exercise.

So Is Yoga Aerobic or AnaerobicIs Yoga Aerobic Or Anaerobic

Surprisingly or not, yoga is not aerobic or anaerobic. Yoga is all about being aware of the body and respecting it, it is a relaxing exercise that stretches the muscles and body while calming the mind.

If you ever tried to practice yoga you may have noticed the fact that you are concentrating on your breath. But at the same time, you are not breathing heavily like in running. Maybe if you are a beginner at yoga you may feel the intensity of the poses, the strength of your muscles. But still, it’s not like heavy-lifting.

Yoga is not considered aerobic or anaerobic because the cells don’t need as much ATP as in an aerobic exercise and don’t convert sugar to acids

Yoga has many health benefits such as calming the mind, strengthening the muscles and improving flexibility, while aerobic and anaerobic exercises burn more calories than yoga.

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I hope this helped answer the question if you have any thoughts or comments please leave a comment in the box below and I will be happy to reply.



  • Daniella

    Hi Paulina,

    Great article!

    I knew what Yoga and aerobic is but what I didn’t know about is anaerobic. That’s the first time I hear about this activity. Great to know, thank you!
    If I were to choose between aerobic, anaerobic and Yoga, I would definitely pick Yoga. I think it’s the most wonderful sport. I plan to start Yoga soon, but I don’t have the time to go to a club. So I will need to practice from my comfortable home:) Can you suggest some videos for beginners? I would love to start with yoga.

    Thank you very much for this excellent post!

    • Paulina

      Hi Daniella,
      Aerobic and Anaerobic are simply two ways of dividing different sports into categories and I am glad to know that you learned something new today 🙂 If you want to know if yoga is a sport you can check out my post about it.
      Practice Yoga

  • rebecca cosmidou

    Great post, Paulina! I have to admit that I was wondering myself about it! Thank you for giving me the answer! It is good for me that yoga “is a relaxing exercise that stretches the muscles and body while calming the mind.” The only thing that I have to do is to follow my physician’s advice and wait for some time before I start practicing yoga following your advice! 🙂
    Best wishes,

    • Paulina

      Hey Rebecca,
      Thanks for reading my post and I am sure that when the time is right you will be able to get an easy start to yoga and I hope you’ll enjoy it 😉

  • Ravi

    Hey Paulina,

    Great explanation of yoga as it relates to aerobic and anaerobic classifications. Yoga is so different and unique in its own ways. The calming effect is incomparable.

    I also remember reading that yoga is unique in that in affects our glandular systems (pineal glands etc) in a way that no other forms can.

    This is indeed a gift in the way God created this magnificent and wonderful body and yoga being the key to sustain it in good health.


    • Paulina

      It amazes me that yoga is so unique and special that you can’t define it as aerobic or anaerobic. It is indeed a wonderful gift and I hope many more with start and practice yoga even for a few minutes a day.

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