Yoga has been known to provide a very complete workout – physically, mentally and spiritually. But when you ask a person which exercise is most effective in toning and building up muscles, the first thing that comes to mind is strength training. Many people believe that the simple yoga poses are just for relaxation and stretching and that it is not enough to tone the muscles in the same way that lifting weights can. Truth is, there are yoga poses that are very effective in building up muscles. Not only will they tone the muscles but they will give your body stronger and more flexible muscles. When these two are combined, the results will inevitably be impressive.
If you are not so familiar with yoga, the exercise requires a person to make different poses and hold it for a few seconds. In relation to strength training, yoga uses a person's own weight in each pose. Anyone can begin with the basic, essential poses and from there, work to advance to a higher level of capacity.
Weight lifting, in reality, can become a disadvantage because it may cause an unbalanced build up of muscles. The usual target muscle areas of weights are normally the muscles we see in the mirror, like the biceps, chest and abs. When a part of the body becomes stronger than all the other parts of the body, that will eventually create imbalanced muscle proportions and this will cause the spine to move out of its natural alignment.
Because the most basic principle of yoga is balance, the stretches and poses are guaranteed to provide your muscles equal amounts of exercise. So you see, using yoga as strength training will improve your body's overall physique without putting your body in real danger of deformity. Some yoga equipments can also be employed such as resistance straps that are very good for stretching tight muscles and sandbags that weigh 10-pounds can also be lifted in certain postures.
There is no need for equipment when you practice strength training through yoga because all that you need to make use of is your own weight. When you hold a pose, for example the warrior pose, for 5 minutes or even longer depending on your level of training, the leg muscles especially quadriceps are effectively toned. However, there are some other yoga practitioners who makes use of wrist or ankle weights while moving through postures or even lift dumbbells while doing some standing poses.
When you employ powerful strength training yoga poses such as upward facing dog, peacock-pose, plank pose and warrior pose during a sequence while increasing the duration of holding such postures, you will improve your core strength and tone the muscles in your body. Some of the other benefits of yoga strength training include prevention of osteoarthritis, improved flexibility, burning of fat, increased exercise endurance, stress reduction and improved focus and clarity.
For a person who wishes to tone and build muscles, it is highly recommended by experienced yogis that they practice strength training through yoga three to four times per week. This is to keep the momentum of the exercise going.
Article by David a staff writer for iYogaMats.com.