Yoga’s Amazing Muscle-Building Abilities

Slim Down, Tone Up

Yoga is known for being great for the body and soul, but what if you’re not seeking that spiritual enlightenment that often comes with it? Holding all of those positions (that are similar to lunges and other strength training exercises) helps build muscle, making yogis some of the fittest people around. With smartphone yoga apps, all you need is your trusty mobile device and a mat, and the world is your yoga studio. So why not give it a try?

The Best Days to Practice Yoga

Yoga is great to do between intense fitness days.  This workout stretches and strengthens connective tissue, helping get you ready for your next intense workout (and in the meantime, it helps you prevent major injury!).  Yoga is all about constantly holding up your own bodyweight for a longer period of time than doing weight lifting reps. Talk about a stamina builder!

What Yoga Makes You Look Like

If you’re looking to tone rather than build muscle mass, consider yoga because of its eccentric muscle contraction abilities. Weight lifting uses concentric muscle contraction, which is the technique that provides a more chiseled look.  But if you want to look good and a little less like the Governator, yoga may be just the thing for you.

Yoga Types

In general, no matter what kind of yoga you practice, you’ll gain more definition in your muscles. But there are a few yoga styles more associated with fitness than others. For example, power yoga is more focused on exercise than meditation.  This technique has been developed for Western society and people who are more concerned with the athletic side of the poses. Yogis move through moves much faster and with fewer pauses to increase stamina and strength during power yoga.

If you’re still a bit skeptical about yoga’s overall level of difficulty, try cranking up the heat and sweating it out with Bikram (or “hot”) yoga.  Try it at a studio or just turn off your A/C in the summer heat. Be sure to bring your water bottle, Bikram yoga definitely gets intense!!

The next time you’re at the store, pick up a beginner’s yoga DVD and give it a try! See if it’s for you. Who knows? While you’re getting toned, you may find you even like the whole “mind, body, soul connection” thing too!