On this edition of myth busters…just kidding — I want to share some of my thoughts on yoga as strength training because like many misconceptions in fitness, yoga is seen as only a spiritual practice. While its roots are heavily immersed in spirituality, newer teachings have transformed it into a modernized way to move the body and strengthen the mind and the body.
Before I added yoga as a part of my daily ritual back in May, I had a similar opinion of it. Though I knew people became stronger doing it, I didn’t think its intensity was enough for me. I. Was. Wrong.
There are many different kinds of yoga to choose from — they range from spiritual and more meditative to HIIT-like. I love flows that target the body part(s) I may be training from day-to-day. My personal favorites are vinyasa and power yoga. This is a great website for reference of several different kinds of yoga practice.
OK, so now, why yoga for strength? Because it kicks your ass and requires great mental and physical strength. As with all forms of exercise, form is very important. Without proper form you are more prone to injury, and improper training can result in muscle or joint dysfunction. Yoga is all about the mind body connection — slowing down to link these two together. When you acknowledge this connection, you are more aware of proprioception – an unconscious perception of movement and spatial orientation of the body.
When engaging in any physical activity, you become more conscious of balance, strength, and touch.
As someone who loves to lift, the marriage between weight training and yoga has a contrast that allows each activity to help the other. For optimum performance of muscles, they need to be flexible and able to reach full ROM (range of motion) — yoga (and stretching) are imperative for this reason. Conversely, to keep ligaments and bones strong, weight bearing exercises are key. Weight training builds more bone density and promotes lean muscle, which burns fat and alleviates stress on the joints.
I use Down Dog App daily, sometimes multiple times a day. It has great options to coincide with your daily workout. I’m not sponsored for this, I just love the app! Another great app is Asana Rebel, you can build your own program depending on your goals. If you’ve been hesitant to try yoga, don’t be! Chances are, your other workouts will benefit from this practice, along with other parts of your life too.