If you’ve ever been to a boot camp workout or tried a challenging HIIT circuit on your own, you know just how sweaty you can get when you challenge your body with these fast-paced exercises. But many people forget that a simple, and even slow yoga flow can make you perspire like nobody’s damn business. As a yoga instructor, I love seeing the shocked look on people’s faces when I tell them there are so many yoga poses that make you sweat way more than a lengthy treadmill sesh ever will.
Personally, I love breaking a nice sweat before chilling out in savasana. But if you’re low-key pissed about purposefully drenching yourself in your own bodily fluids, perhaps you should remember that sweating during a workout is actually a good thing.
When you’re working hard and pushing your body, it can get overheated from the challenge. Sweat is just your body’s way of responding to that challenge by keeping your core temperature at a safe and steady level.
So, while you may be grossed out to see visible sweat stains left behind on your yoga mat after you finish your flow, just remember that that is physical proof of how hard you’re working to strengthen and better your body.
Here are six yoga poses that are sure to make you sweat more than sprints and SoulCycle combined.
1. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward dog is a pose that is consistently returned to throughout a yoga practice. It may seem simple to some, but with a few tweaks, it can become one of the most challenging, sweat-infused asanas out there.
The key to breaking a sweat in this bad boy is really engaging your legs, arms, and core, and pushing into the mat with your widespread finger tips while nudging your heels as close as they can get to the ground.
You can even add some movement here by flowing back and forth from a plank pose to down dog — if you’re up to the challenge, that is.
2. Boat Pose (Navasana)
Boat pose is no joke. Your legs will be shaking, your abs will be burning, and your entire core will practically be begging for mercy.
And hey, you’ll even be channeling those literal boat vibes, if you think about your dripping perspiration as a body of water (too far?).
3. Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)
The four-limbed staff pose is a strengthening shoulder-sculptor that is commonly done incorrectly, but when you use the proper alignment, you’ll be sweating more than that time you accidentally screenshot a text conversation and sent it to the wrong person.
Make sure you keep your elbows as close to your body as possible in this yogi-style push-up, and try not to let your chest drop toward the floor.
For an extra sweaty staff pose, try to raise your body back up without touching the ground, and sneak a couple more push-ups in there.
4. Side Plank Pose (Vasisthasana)
Side plank is a powerful arm and wrist strengthener. Its myriad of variations will make you so sweaty, you might wonder if you accidentally signed up for hot yoga against your will.
Try out the classic, stacked-legs side plank first, and then transition to attempting to lift one leg for a serious core challenge.
5. Chair Pose (Utkatasana)
Utkatasana can sculpt your booty like no other type of squat you’ve ever tried in your life. I know my students hate me when I cue chair pose, but love me in the long run when they see all those #GluteGains.
As you sit deeper into your imaginary chair, and raise your chest higher, the pose will become more challenging and the sweat will be real.
6. Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
Practicing inversions like handstand, for even just a couple of minutes, will give your upper body a serious jolt of energy.
I know it’s easy to be intimidated by this asana, but remember there are so many variations that use the support of a wall to help you build up the strength to nail a handstand with ease.
But with hard work comes all the sweaty vibes, so be sure to save your shower for after your yoga flow.