In recent times, there has been a growing interest in strength training in various forms like CrossFit, Bootcamp, Traditional Weightlifting to more outdoor activities like swimming or cycling. Hence, naturally people have been questioning if yoga can be practiced to improve your own body strength?
Yoga has so many different types that it’s not possible to generalize and say that yoga does help with strength or not. Schools of yoga like Yin or Restorative are inclined to more spiritual aspects of yoga and will not help you build muscle, but with yoga asanas (postures) existing like the warrior pose, body planks and body inversions, people are in general just “weight training” as they would be working on their body strength by going against gravity.
The more active schools of yoga like as Vinyasa help with working on your body strength through repeating the postures in timed sessions. Regular yoga practice will help with building strength fast as one goes through a particular posture again and again. While practicing, we are technically weight training, as we use our body weight to support ourselves during the posture. By increasing the number of times, you hold a posture is one of the fastest ways to compile the effect of yoga, allowing you to build strength quickly without the use of weights and machines. When people practice yoga poses, they work on their entire body, rather than working on one specific muscle like the biceps, which is exactly what happens using gym machines or dumbbells. People are essentially using other muscles around the body to support themselves in yoga while at the same time working on the muscles where the asana is concentrated on. For example, in the Four-Limbed Staff asana, one might feel the strain on the chest, back, abs and glutes. The benefits to the smaller muscles are additionally being worked upon comes with the yoga body inversions and arm balances. This is part of working on different muscle groups at the same is why yoga exercises should be considered a be a great workout to add to your schedule to develop your strength.
Practicing yoga regularly will also aid in decreasing the chance of injuring yourself while doing any everyday activity. Yoga works on your muscles in a more natural way- exactly how it was designed to do every day functions. For example, you are working on your upper body strength when you practice an asana, allowing you to eventually carry heavier bags. This is exactly why following a workout with yoga in it is constantly ranked as one of the most efficient and wholesome methods to get stronger without getting an injury.
In conclusion, yoga isn’t a complicated workout regime like CrossFit or functional training, where moving through those complicated poses results in you finally showing off that handstand. There is a lot of depth and science that actually goes into the practice. It is actually about understanding the reason behind the asanas, what muscles they are working on and looking into the details how this would impact your body. This is the reason why people looking to get fit or stronger often turn to yoga for beginners classes.