"Should I go to yoga or go do a strength workout today?" Why not have both? It's not a question of do I pump iron OR my mind/body workout today. In yoga you can have both...
your Yoga Practice
We tend to associate certain positive outcomes with yoga, right? Improved flexibility always makes the list, as does lower stress and anxiety, the so-called “mind-body” benefits. But what about the just plain old “body” benefits? What can yoga do for things like muscle tone, weight loss (or healthy gain), and increased physical stamina? According to the experts, quite a bit. Yoga may not take the place of throwing around free weights, but it definitely can complement and enhance your gym workout. There are three main types of muscle contractions:
Concentric: muscle contracts as it shortens
Eccentric: muscle contracts as it lengthens
Isometric: muscle contracts with no change in length
And for the isometric, you are simply holding a pose, or pushing against an immovable object. Sound familiar, yogis? The static strength required to hold myriad yoga poses absolutely does enhance one’s muscular health. And it does so in a way that is more sparing to the joints than pumping iron.
A regular yoga practice, often seen as solely “stretching,” offers so much more for body, mind, and spirit. Our body is a vessel for transformation, and yoga is an incredibly valuable tool for strengthening our vessel. Many clients suffer from some degree of joint pain. Yoga offers tools to build muscular strength around the joints to reduce pain and prevent further injury. Since almost every yoga posture requires some degree of both strength AND flexibility, it makes it an ideal method for building strength through the entire body in a way that is sustainable. Yoga manages to be both physically challenging and relaxing and therapeutic all at the same time! It’s a tough workout, but in a way that actually leaves you feeling better when it’s over.
Here are some great strength building poses you can try at home:
PLUS - if you are looking to integrate weights into your yoga - check out our YOGA SCULPT class! It incorporates hand held weights into your yoga movement safely. It is held in the heated yoga studio at 'warm' level. (not as hot as hot yoga classes)