Sample Class: Cardio Hip-Hop Yoga

by Shelby Lafrinere on May 22, 2013

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.

Cardio Hip-Hop Yoga Fusion Details

Format: choreography-based cardio dance/yoga class

Total Time: 60 minutes

Equipment Needed: none

Music: 122–132 beats per minute, depending on desired challenge level

Warm-Up: Cardio Dance Segment 1 (5–8 minutes)

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).

Yoga Segment 1 (8 minutes)

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.

Cardio Dance Segment 2 (4 minutes)

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.

Cardio Yoga Segment 1 (5 minutes)

1. Vinyasa.
2. Do 5 push-ups (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.

To learn about the other segments in this creative fusion class, please see “Sample Class: Cardio Hip-Hop Yoga” in the online IDEA Library or in the April 2013 issue of IDEA Fitness Journal.

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About the Author

Shelby Lafrinere

Shelby Lafrinere IDEA Author/Presenter