Generally, when we think about building strength, we think about weightlifting. But you may be surprised to learn that yoga can also strengthen and define your muscles. If you’re an experienced yogi, you likely already know this. You can tell from the burn in your muscles following a challenging class.
So, don’t think that you have to get into the gym and lift dumbbells, get in the squat rack, or hit up the leg press to build muscle.
Does Yoga Build Muscle?
The most accessible form of weight that you can lift is your body weight – and that’s the focus of yoga practice. The various poses you contort yourself into require a certain amount of strength.
As you start practising yoga, you will build up that strength through the beginner poses. As you become stronger and more of your muscles can handle more weight, you can start performing some of the more challenging poses.
This is much the same process as lifting weights in the gym. You start with a lighter weight and move onto heavier ones as your strength increases. Advancing from beginner to expert yoga poses functions in much the same way.
Strength vs Bulk
If you want massive biceps that show off your hard work, yoga is not for you. As opposed to building bulk on your muscles as weightlifting can do, yoga increases your strength. You can use yoga to increase muscle strength and definition without adding a lot of muscle mass.
If your focus is on bulking up, then you may want to head to the weights section of the gym. However, you can complement this regime with yoga training to build extra strength, allowing you to lift heavier and bulk up.
Benefits of Yoga
We have already discussed that yoga can increase your muscular strength. But what other benefits can you gain from yoga?
If you need to increase your flexibility, yoga is excellent for that. The slow movements can help you to stretch out your muscles and gradually bend and move further over time.
If you want to improve the health of your heart, then trying yoga can be an excellent first step. Studies show that yoga can help to reduce inflammation and stress levels, both of which are great for your heart.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that doing yoga can improve your mood and increase energy levels. Start a morning yoga routine to set you up for the day with more vitality and a better mood.
Yoga Poses for Increasing Strength
Any pose where you must balance your body weight on your arms requires a lot of strength. You have to hold your body up with just your arms. Think about how much you weigh – that’s how much your arms will eventually be able to hold when you practice yoga for strength training.
As we start, even simple poses such as a downward dog can challenge our arms. As your strength increases, however, you can begin trying some more advanced options such as crow and scale pose. Any stance where you are inverted or balancing on your arms is excellent for getting stronger.
The warrior poses in addition to the triangle pose can help you to build strength. They may not seem that difficult, but the longer you hold these, the longer your time under tension is. Time under tension is a crucial aspect of strength training.
As you become more advanced, you can try poses such as the tree pose, which requires you to hold all of your body weight on one leg. This challenges our balance as well, for even more strength-enhancing benefits.
If you are an experienced yogi seeking to enhance your practice and gain strength, have you considered studying yoga teaching? You will be excited to find out that the College of Health and Fitness (COHAF) now offers a Diploma in Ayurveda Yoga Teaching.
This nationally recognised diploma is accredited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). Discover your potential and deepen your personal practice by studying how to teach others the skills of yoga.
This course is suitable for anyone who would like to become a yoga teacher. Or maybe you’re already a yoga teacher but would love to improve your practice.
When studying the Diploma in Ayurveda Yoga Teaching, you will gain a mentorship during one of the units. Plus, you can benefit from the onsite practical training aspect that offers you the opportunity to learn useful skills. Find out how to each group classes, design yoga programs, develop concepts, and so much more.
What are you waiting for; a new career awaits! Contact COHAF today to find out more about this fulfilling course of study. All it takes is one call to launch yourself into new possibilities.