Target the upper body and core with this upbeat fusion experience.
For years, yoga has supported my career as a b-girl (breakdancer) and professional contemporary and hip-hop dancer. From this stable foundation, I’ve built strength, grace, balance and power. The following sequence—which blends dance, yoga and footwork drills—has the basic structure of a hip-hop class. The combination gives participants a unique cardio experience while safely building flexibility and increasing upper-body and core strength.
Since the dance phrases are simple, participants will find the moves accessible while still being able to add their own personal “flavor.” More experienced dancers and fitness enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to express themselves, opening the door to greater enjoyment and fun. Modifications are noted within the text. Unless otherwise indicated, yoga poses are held for one breath per pose.
In this class, “vinyasa” refers to sun salutation (surya namaskara A) from the ashtanga yoga series. On each mention of vinyasa, you will perform the full salutation or a segment of it, depending on what flows best with the moves that come before and after in the sequence.
FORMAT: choreography-based cardio dance/yoga class
TOTAL TIME: 60 minutes
MUSIC: 122–132 beats per minute, depending on desired challenge level
1. a. Grapevine 4x, alternate right (R), left (L).
b. Add turn, 4x, alternate R, L.
2. Cross-step (front), 8x, R, L. (Step to side with R foot, cross-touch L foot in front. Step to side L, cross-touch R.)
3. Cross-step (back), 8x, R, L. (Same as above, but cross in back.)
Repeat 1–3. Add hops to cross-steps (hop to side, cross-touch in front/in back).
1. a. From tadasana (mountain pose), roll down to uttanasana (standing forward bend). Hold 8 counts.
b. Bend and straighten knees 4x (exhale: bend, 4 counts; inhale: straighten, 4 counts).
2. a. Step L leg back to lunge, 5 breaths.
b. Place hands on thighs, pulse front knee 8x; lower hands to floor.
3. Straighten front leg into parsvottanasana (pyramid or intense side stretch), 5 breaths.
4. Bend front knee, return to lunge. Twist R arm up to ceiling, 5 breaths.
5. Vinyasa with bhujangasana (cobra).
6. Uttanasana, 5 breaths.
Repeat 2–6 on opposite side (step R leg back); replace cobra with urdhva mukha savasana (upward-facing dog). Roll up to standing (tadasana), and while standing:
7. a. Shoulder rolls forward 4x, arm circles forward 4x; repeat backwards 4x.
b. Hip-thrusts R, back, L, front 4x; circle clockwise 4x. Switch direction, and repeat.
1. Jump to side R, step back ball change L 8x; alternate R, L.
2. Cross over R foot to 4-square step, 4x (counterclockwise).
3. Jump to side L, step back ball change R, 8x; alternate L, R.
4. Cross L foot over into 4-square step, 4x (clockwise).
5. From parallel feet (standing together): step-touch R, back together, 8x; alternate R, L.
6. Repeat in half reps (4x, 2x, 4x, 2x, 4x).
7. Repeat in quarter reps (2x, 1x, 2x, 1x, 2x).
Walk it out and/or add rhythmic jumping in place with hands in air.
2. Do 5 pushups (from plank).
3. Vinyasa to standing.
4. Do 5 burpees without push-ups, 5x.
5. Inhale: urdhva hastasana (upward salute, arms overhead).
6. Exhale: uttanasana.
7. Inhale: ardha uttanasana (half forward bend).
8. Downward-facing dog, 5 breaths.
9. From downward-facing dog, jump and cross feet, jump back open, 8x, alternate leg crosses in front.
10. Vinyasa to standing.
1. Virabhadrasana II (warrior II), 5 breaths.
2. Parsvakonasana (side-angle pose), 5 breaths.
3. Reverse warrior (progression: exhaulted warrior), 5 breaths.
Repeat 1–4 on opposite side.
5. Prasarita padottanasana (wide-leg forward bend), center, R, L; 5 breaths each position.
Optional full vinyasa.
1. Repeat cardio dance segment 1, steps 1–3, 4x, then 2x.
2. Jump 4x, “hands up!”
3. Repeat cardio dance segment 2, steps 1–5, 4x, then 2x.
4. Jump 4x, “hands up!”
Walk it out for a few steps.
5. Vinyasa to downward-facing dog.
1. From downward-facing dog, in half time, do the following 4x slowly with breath, alternating R, L:
a. Exhale: Cross R leg through to L side.
b. Inhale: Lift L (opposite) hand to hip.
c. Exhale: Set L hand down.
d. Inhale: Step R foot back to downward-facing dog.
2. From downward-facing dog, in full time, do the following, 4x, R, L:
a. Cross R leg through to L side while bringing L hand to hip.
b. Bring L hand down, step back to downward-facing dog.
Repeat in double time, 8x, or modify (full time), 4x.
3. From downward-facing dog, “get air”: Keep hands on floor, jump feet high into air, and land R, then L. Alternate 8x.
4. From downward-facing dog:
a. Step forward to uttanasana.
b. Bend R knee, inhale; twist L arm to sky, 5 breaths. Switch sides, and repeat.
c. Roll up to standing.
Combination: Repeat cardio dance segment 1, steps 1–3, 2x each move, followed by cardio dance segment 2, steps 1–5.
Repeat entire phrase 3–4 times, depending on time and group’s energy.
Walk it out. Grab water.
1. Do slow vinyasa to belly on floor and do the following:
a. Plank on forearms, 5 breaths.
b. Cobra pose, 5 breaths.
c. Apanasana (reclining knees to chest), 8 breaths. Circle knees with hands 8x in each direction.
d. Jathara parivartanasana (supine twist), 5 breaths, R, L.
2. From seated position, cue the following:
a. Janusirsasana A, 5 breaths R, L.
b. Pascimottanasana, 5 breaths.
3. Return to tadasana and finish with the following:
a. Garudasana arms R, L, 10 breaths total.
b. Neck stretches, ear to shoulder, R, L, 5 breaths each.
c. Final bow!