Yoga is great for relaxation and flexibility but if you think that’s all you’re going to get from a class, you’re in for a rude awakening.

If you look at the basic elements of fitness – cardio, strength, flexibility, balance – it’s fair to say that there are very few exercise disciplines that cover them all. Yoga isn’t going to work your heart and lungs in the sense that running, swimming or cycling does, but in every other aspect it gets close to being the perfect workout. Go into any class and watch the beads of perspiration forming on faces and you will realise that, far from being a cushy little relaxation number, yoga isn’t for the faint hearted.

Still not convinced? Okay, let’s take a basic yoga pose like the plank. This is a simple exercise that is part of the Sun Salutation sequence; it looks just like the start of a press up.

Take a look at this video demonstration of the plank:

Try holding the beginner’s pose for thirty seconds or so. Now try the full plank. How long did it take before your whole body was shaking?

The plank is just one of numerous yoga exercises that are great for developing core strength and that hit every other muscle group as well.