The beauty of any home exercise program, including Beachbody's P90X, is that you are the boss. The program can tell you what exercise to do and when to do it, but you can skip any workout you'd like.
That said, yoga offers a wealth of physical benefits and is a valuable part of any well-rounded fitness routine. If Yoga X wasn't important to the P90X program and didn't contribute to your results, it wouldn't be part of the program.
Yoga X is a 90-minute sequence combining hatha and vinyasa yoga styles. In both flowing and held postures, you'll tone, stretch, improve balance and build core strength. If you follow one of the schedules included with the program, you'll do Yoga X once or twice per week, depending upon the particular week and whether you are following the Classic, Lean or Doubles track.
If you have never done yoga, it can seem intimidating. Yoga X is also the longest of the P90X sessions. For those reasons it can be tempting to skip it.
P90X creator Tony Horton was a difficult convert himself at first, until he found how much better he moved and felt after incorporating yoga into his regular routine.
People unfamiliar with yoga tend to think of it as being all about flexibility, but it is so much more than that. Yoga strengthens the muscles, especially the core muscles, and improves balance. It can also help reduce stress, anxiety, pain, high blood pressure and asthma, as well as help relieve many chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The practice is conducted in a state of deep focus and concentration, and participants are taught to be aware of every part of their body and of their breath. This trains your focus and concentration outside of yoga class, and you may see yourself staying calmer and on task more often than before you did yoga.
Yoga and P90X
Because of his positive physical and mental results from his own yoga practice, Horton decided to include it in the P90X program. Yoga is included mainly for the strength, balance and flexibility benefits. If you think Yoga X is your "easy day," think again -- the first portion of the workout is a rapidly paced series of strength-focused vinyasas that keep even the most muscle-bound participants on their toes.
Horton included yoga to teach paticipants how to build a different kind of strength. Most of the postures involve isometric exercise, but also require a certain amount of flexibility. The flexibility component is important because the rest of the P90X focuses on muscle-building. The more you tear down and rebuild your muscles, the more you must stretch them out to maintain full range-of-motion. Yoga will help you recover better from the P90X workouts so you can continue to grow stronger.
The balance portion of Yoga X is important because good balance reduces your risk of injury. The ab series, Yoga Belly 7, is a gentle but intense ab workout that acts as an adjunct to the Ab Ripper workout you do three times per week to sculpt and strengthen your abs from every angle.
If You Skip It
If you decide to skip yoga, it doesn't automatically give you the day off. The benefits of yoga on that particular day are just as important to your results as the cardio or weightlifting workouts the rest of the week.
The equivalent would be to do about 45 minutes of body weight exercises like push-ups, dips, squats and lunges, followed by a 15-minute ab workout and an hour or so of thorough stretching. You won't have a guided program for that, however. The best choice is to just bite the bullet and do Yoga X -- you might find that you enjoy it.