Yoga for Strength [Beyond Just Flexibility]

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Strength is important to maintaining your health – Strength training has the ability to combat weakness, fragility and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. So, many might just ask the question, why not just weight train then? Simple. Weight training exercises typically isolate and flex one muscle or muscle group at a time. Yoga for strength is what I like to call a “compound fitness regimen”; They are poses that incorporate breathe with movement and focus on stretching and strengthening your muscles while improving balance and flexibility overall. It also helps to greatly increase endurance as you hold poses for a period of time and move slowly through the poses. It can be used as a stand a lone or in conjunction with other fitness regimens to improve overall health and become much stronger and help prevent risks for injury.

In the following article, I am going to touch on some of the most common myths of yoga, the benefits of yoga, key points to yoga and specific poses that are perfect for strength training or implementing into your current strength training routine. Please remember to always consult your physician before starting any new exercise routine and to listen to your body! Discomfort is good – pain is bad.

 

YOGA MYTHS

Yoga for Strength

*Yoga is a religion – The word “Yoga” refers to the whole, a complete system, not merely one part, i.e.,postures, or “Asanas”. According to the ancient sages, the entire purpose of Yoga is spiritual in nature and it does have religious aspects in its deep roots. However, over the recent years the benefits of yoga as a fitness regimen has become very prevalent and it is being used more and more by people of many different religions and walks of life to improve their health. You do not have to recite chants and mantras to use yoga! There are programs where you do not have to follow the religious aspects of yoga. One of my favorites in The

*Yoga is just for balance and flexibility – While yoga is great for improving balance and flexibility, it is also known to greatly improve strength, focus, endurance and posture. I can attest to this myself!

*Yoga is just for women – Doing something called “downward dog” may not sound appealing to most men and women have dominated the yoga enterprise since it has become popular in fitness; However, I am here to tell you that yoga is a great addition to any mans fitness regimen and I promise, you will only appeal to women even more! And you do NOT have to be flexible to perform yoga or reap its benefits. So, what are you waiting for?

*Yoga is just for the young – Exercise is absolutely essential for the body as you age, and if done properly, it can help keep you fit and healthy. Regular exercise can help reduce stiffness, increase strength and improve energy levels and helps reverses the signs of aging. Whether you are healthy or fighting an illness, exercising can make you fit, boost your mood and enhance your memory. While there are a variety of intensity levels, older people need not do very elaborate exercises. The regimen can be as simple as a set of stretching, endurance and balance exercises.

 

BENEFITS OF YOGA


Yoga for strength

  • Improves flexibility
  • Builds muscle strength
  • Helps to improve and promote good posture by promoting spinal health
  • Strengthens bones and prevents cartilage and joint breakdown
  • Promotes healthy spinal fluid exchange for spinal health with twists and bends
  • Increases blood flow and ups your heart rate
  • Drains lymph nodes and boosts immunity through specific poses
  • Help to lower your blood pressure
  • Regulates your adrenal glands by helping to lower cortisol levels
  • Increases serotonin release – decreasing stress
  • Lowers blood sugar and “LDL” (bad cholesterol) while increasing good cholesterol
  • Helps you focus by being mindful of the poses and your movements
  • Improves balance by activating uncommonly used muscle and muscle fibers
  • Improves endurance by holding poses and moving slowly through poses
  • Promotes better breathing by focusing on taking deep, controlled breaths
  • Improves gut health and helps aid in bowel movements with twisting poses
  • Helps to ease pain and stiffness

 

TOP YOGA TIPS


Yoga for strength

*Focus on the pose and doing it correctly – this will help properly engage muscles and make the poses much more effective.

*Perform all poses in a slow, controlled movement linked with your breathe – this causes stress relief and focus while improving balance and strength.

*Engage your core at all times – to help protect your back during the poses and increase core strength.

*Breathe – remember to breathe! And to breathe slowly and consciously. One of the things I love most about Yoga is focusing on your breathing while doing the poses – both to make the poses more effective and to better provide your body with the needed oxygen to perform your best.

*Keep your back flat – by reaching your tailbone downward, you make your lower back flat and protect it from injury.

*Be mindful of muscle activation – focus on contracting every muscle.

*Use yoga accessories to enhance your yoga experience and training – things like yoga straps can help you stretch better especially if you lack flexibility; Yoga blocks can make poses easier; Yoga wheels can make poses harder; Yoga Mats provide comfort and grip during your workout.

*Go barefoot! “Improving positional awareness through barefoot training can protect your body by decreasing the chances of developing a lower extremity injury and at the same time improve your muscle strength and athletic performance. Our gifted feet provide a wealth of information about joint positions, muscle tension and most importantly the ground.” (Dr. John Rusin). If you are doing yoga outside of your home, in a public area, I recommend barefoot toe shoes to protect against germs while getting the barefoot benefits.

*Use poses that focus on muscle engagement – “power yoga” or “ashtana” as it’s called have a lot of these poses. A lot of them have modern strength training pose names even; Chair pose is also more commonly known as a static squat hold for example.

 

YOGA STRENGTH POSES

 

 

Well here it is! The moment you’ve been waiting for. These are poses focused on building strength. Feel free to make your own routine! Remember, your body get’s used to a routine after 4-6 weeks – so be sure to switch it up often to get the max benefits from your fitness regimen!

Yoga for Strength

Yoga for Strength

Yoga for Strength

THE TAKE AWAY


Yoga for strength

Yoga is great for everyone and is a perfect addition to your strength training! One of my favorite DVD series is the Body By Yoga series –  specifically the Yoga Strong DVD. This is a great yoga DVD for beginners and advanced yoga practitioners alike with excellent work out flows focused on poses for strength. It has a total body work out, an upper body work out and a lower body work out so if you prefer total body or if you like to split train there is an option for both :). Other great DVDs of his to check out is Yoga Edge (great for athletes) and Yoga Boost (great for beginners and for weight loss). Dean Pohlman is the instructor and I love him because he doesn’t have the chants and mantras and chimes – he focuses on the poses and working you through them effectively to get an awesome work out. He also doesn’t edit his mistakes which is really genuine and organic. And when you buy his dvd, you get access to lots of bonus yoga work outs on his website that range from 10-30 minutes and have focuses like yoga for weight trainers, desk jockey’s and more. Check him out and I hope you reap the benefits of Yoga just as I have.

Kind regards,

Sherry S.

 

Sources:
  1. https://nccih.nih.gov/health/yoga/introduction.htm
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-yoga-heart-connection

 

 

27 thoughts on “Yoga for Strength [Beyond Just Flexibility]”

  1. Hello Simon! I totally agree that yoga can provide equal strength building benefits as weight lifting! Of course, I still appreciate and recommend weight lifting but Yoga a lone can provide a great work out. I tire myself out with it! lol 

    Yoga is an excellent morning routine to start the day or an evening routine to wind down the day. Great all around!

  2. Hello Peeters! Thank you for visiting and taking the time to comment. Yoga is such a great tool to aid in our physical health. Have you ever tried Yoga? If not, I highly recommend it!

    As far as the empty spots – could you clarify? Do you mean in the design of my website?

    Come again!

  3. Hi Sherry, that’s a nice and informative Article about Yoga. I have to admit that I taught of Yoga exactly the way you described it at the beginning of the article (something for women and therefore not appealing to me as a man). But I was proven wrong! In my boxing gym which I frequently visit they include yoga poses and exercises in the workout and I can tell you that they are often more exhausting and demanding than doing the heavy lifting in the gym! I now do lots of breathing Yoga in the morning to adjust my body, mind, and soul for the upcoming day.

  4. Hi Sherry, that’s a nice and informative Article about Yoga. I have to admit that I taught of Yoga exactly the way you described it at the beginning of the article (something for women and therefore not appealing to me as a man). But I was proven wrong! In my boxing gym which I frequently visit they include yoga poses and exercises in the workout and I can tell you that they are often more exhausting and demanding than doing the heavy lifting in the gym! I now do lots of breathing Yoga in the morning to adjust my body, mind, and soul for the upcoming day.

  5. Thank you for thuis Great informatieve and complete article.      

    In the past yoga was an old technique to relax your muscles and body something divinely tinted. It is exceptionally obvious that advanced yoga has taken a large number of the religious angles out of it and has made it an extraordinary wellness instrument that everybody can appreciate. What strikes me is that you have a lot of empty spots on your site. Can you do nothing about this?

    Thank a lot for sharing this wonderful article. Keep up the good work.

  6. Hi Jerimy! Thank you so much for visiting and for the compliment! I definitely agree Yoga is great for pain relief – Especially back pain! As someone with scoliosis and fibromyalgia, I can personally attest to it’s pain fighting abilities :). I’m so glad you have enjoyed it’s benefits also.

  7. Hi John! I’m glad I could provide some insight into Yoga for you and maybe hopefully spark some interest in it! The great thing about yoga is it is so versatile. There are so many different poses – you could focus on just one if you wanted or a flow of just two poses and work your way to more and more as your strength and flexibility increase. Kudos to your girlfriend! And follow her lead. 😉 Good luck to you and thank you for visiting! I plan to add more content soon.

  8. I never knew so much about Yoga before reading this.

    My girlfriend is trying to get me to do 10 minutes of exercises a day when I get out of bed.

    I figure it must be good for you as she has been doing it for 35 years and is now a spritely 86 and takes no medication.

    I’ll continue through the site.

    John

  9. You did a great job of pointing out the health benefits of yoga. I am a huge fan, especially for back pain. I suffer from degenerative conditions for which a neurosurgeon wanted to do surgery!

    Research shows that practicing yoga for 12-16 weeks will yield better pain relief than traditional medicine!

    Thanks for pointing out that yoga can help the back, along with its many other benefits. I appreciate it.

  10. Hello Dalton! Thank you so much for commenting. I myself suffer from some conditions that cause pain (fibromyalgi & scoliosis) and benefit from movement and strengthening of muscles in my back to provide needed support. I too was an avid weight trainer for several years and my initial plan was to couple Yoga with my weight training. Yoga for strength has actually challenged me enough to replace it! I just add some extra ab exercises. However, it is OK to do both! If you are going to incorporate yoga for strength into your fitness regimen, I would recommend either incorporating a small flow WITH your current routine OR doing a long flow on one or two of your work out days instead of weight training. If you do the poses effectively, hold them long enough and have a solid routine – believe me, you won’t want to lift any weights the same day! I didn’t think that would be true, but here I am! 6 months into it without my weights. Good luck!

  11. Hello Ken! I am glad you are willing to re-try! Yoga CAN be very challenging which is what makes it attractive to fitness lovers and weight trainers but it can also be modified to suit your strength and flexibility levels. Some poses are very clearly harder than others. You can always start with easier poses and work your way to harder ones. Make sure to use props to assist you. And remember, you do not have to be perfect! As long as you are striving to do the pose correctly, that is all that matters. Over time, you will perform the poses more efficiently as your strength, balance and flexibility increase. Timing on poses is dependent on your fitness level. In Yoga, what makes these poses so effective is holding them for periods of time. Beginners around 30-40 seconds is probably a good start. Advanced yoga practitioners strive to go up to 3 minutes. Listen to your body! Good luck 🙂

  12. Hello Dammy! I am so glad I could re-spark your fire for yoga! Thank you so much for your comment. I think my biggest Yoga tip is practicing mindfulness. Be aware of your entire body – from the tip of your toes to the top of your head – your breath, your thoughts and all through out every single pose. It will make the poses that much more effective! And I will look into maybe making a tutorial one day! Great idea! 🙂

  13. Hello Jason! Thank you so much for sharing your struggles – I am so glad that I could help you make a decision to commit to bettering your life with yoga. I actually used to be an addict myself. Exercise is something that has greatly helped improve my physical and mental being and made it so much easier to seek a healthier lifestyle. Yoga has become a very well rounded regimen for me and I only hope others can reap it’s benefits too! Yes, it is very hard to break a habit and start a new one. Set a side time each day when it works for you (for me is morning. If I don’t work out in the AM it’s not happening!). Good luck!

  14. Hello Wayne! That is so great that you and your wife are active and strive for a healthier lifestyle. Congratulations on your upcoming retirement as well! I think yoga is great for everyone of all ages, it’s just a matter of finding a yoga style that fits you. You will some physical and mental benefits immediately! As for getting fitness results – it depends on how often you practice it. More often = faster results! 🙂 There are many DVDs to choose from out there. I like DVDs because they are very instructional and you can pause if you are struggling or just want to hold a pose longer. Plus, if you stumble…no one will see! haha You can perform any yoga pose and modify it as needed and/or use props to assist you if you aren’t very flexible – even the poses I mentioned and off of the DVD I recommended.But if you want to try a DVD specifically tailored to your needs, here is a DVD you can start out with – but feel free to experiment! Gentle Yoga: 7 Beginning Yoga Practices for Mid-life (40’s – 70’s) including AM Energy, PM Relaxation, Improving Balance, Relief from Desk Work, Core Strength, and more.

  15. Hello Renan! I do believe a lot of people are hesitant to practice yoga because they think it may have a religious aspect to it. As a Christian myself, I was afraid also because I was told it had pagan roots. Some believe it to be based from Hinduism as it’s known to originate out of India. Whatever religion it’s roots are, it is very true that modern yoga has taken a lot of the religious aspects out of it and have made it a great fitness tool for everyone to enjoy :). 

    -Sherry

  16. I have always believed that yoga is an ancient technique to relax the muscles of the body on a religious basis, but I see that was a thing of the past, according to what my daughter is experiencing and according to your comments. 

    Is it perhaps for this reason that many people, included me, are afraid to practice it? or is it a myth that will soon end?

    But the way, my daughter is delighted to practice it and soon I will do it.

    Thank you for spreading your knowledge in yoga,

    renan

  17. I really enjoyed reading your post, Sherry.  I have to admit that I have heard a lot of positive things about Yoga but have never actually taken a yoga class or even tried this at home.

    My wife and I are coming up on retirement in a couple of months. We actually do have a couple of CD’s that have yoga routines for older people, (I’m going to be 70 and my wife is going to be 64).  We are still active, (we walk at least a couple of miles every day),  and I get in more than 10,000 steps every day at my part-time job

    Do you think that we could benefit from doing some yoga every day or two and how long would it take to feel the benefits from this?  Is there a DVD yoga workout that would be less strenuous but still give us a good outcome for our work?

    Wayne

  18. Thank you Sherry, I am so happy to know that I don’t have to recite chants and mantras to make use of yoga. That’s true, you hardly see any man doing yoga or in yoga adverts, it full of women.  It has seventeen amazing health benefits, these health benefits should start attracting men to do yoga. 

  19. I’m an addict/alcoholic, been clean/sober for the past 5-years. My physician mentioned me trying Yoga to help with my health before wanting to prescribe any medications well due to my past history. I’m open to the idea but had some reservations before fully committing. Thank you, so much for the article, it’s given me more than enough knowledge without actually having to go in and ask and not look like a fool. Well wrote and is full of knowledge for someone like me looking to get into it. Now the hard part and actually doing it. Thank you!

  20.   I have never thought  yoga has so many benefits as you have illustrated I would have said yoga is a religion believe but then you have it’s not but the most good thing I have learned to day is me as Aman  I can also do  which I used to believe is only for women ,one not that good in balance and body posture  so I believe yoga can be very good in helping me.

  21. I would really want to ask if you have more Yoga Tips and A tutorial for Beginners who wants to start Yoga? Ah Yoga channel to a peace of mind so I hear haven’t always had the time to try it out but have indulged in the activity a couple of times and it was an interesting experience but have been long distance from the activity now. It calms and broadens one mind it’s a really helpful exercise. This post has rekindle my yoga spirit has I hope to hit the floor mat as soon as possible wonderful experience. You nailed this post and really passed something to all viewers reading this especially me nice write up

  22. I have to admit I have made an attempt at yoga about 6 months ago. I did about 20 minutes and realized how difficult it is for someone with no coordination. After reading this I must have been doing it wrong. I’m going to give it another shot in the morning. 

    How much time should we start for each position, 30 -40 seconds? 

  23. Having always been really into strength training and heavy lifting myself it’s nice to see that there are other ways of becoming strong and healthy.

    I do have osteoarthritis in my lower back so exercising regularly helps curb the onset of that and usually keeps it from getting worse (more support from the muscles in my back makes me feel much better). 

    Having a desk job means I need to get moving every day whenever I get a spare moment. 

    After reading through the health benefits of Yoga and understanding more fully what it’s all about, I think I might be more inclined to give it a try. 

    I always thought about Yoga just for flexibility not for strength. 

    Thanks for sharing all the strength building poses! I will definitely give them a go next time I’m at the gym. 

    How often do you recommend I do Yoga for strength? I don’t want to completely cut out lifting weights and strength training, but I would like to work Yoga in and couple it with the lifting. 

    Thanks!

    Dalton

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