Strength training does not only help you build muscles. It also strengthens your bones, thus reducing the risk of osteoporosis, helps you lose weight, improves your mood, and offers many other benefits. However, doing the same strength workouts over and over again can become dull, fast. Therefore, you need diversity, and yoga can offer quite a bit in this regard.
Yoga practice for strength will give you a change of pace. It will also make your muscles work a bit differently. The result is that you will get your strength workout and some inner peace as well as a good dose of improved flexibility to go with it. Don’t be fooled by the slow pace and relaxing flow of yoga practices. If you use the right poses, you will be able to boost your stamina through them as much (if not more) as you would with weightlifting.
Tips on How to Use Yoga for Strength Training
1. Use blocks
Many people believe that yoga blocks are like beginner aids that are only helpful to those who can’t bend enough to achieve a certain pose yet. However, in truth, these tools are excellent helpers to a yogi of any level. They are particularly helpful to those, who use yoga for strength training. That’s because with a block, you can maintain your body in a proper alignment, thus getting maximum of the pose’s benefits for building strength.
Best poses where you can use blocks for additional strength building are:
- Boat pose
- Arm balance
Note that in Chaturanga, you should place the blocks under your shoulders, but only use them as support until you can go without them completely. And when you squeeze the block between your knees in the Boat pose, squeeze it hard the entire time.
2. Get the ‘full yoga treatment’
Using yoga poses for strength can help diversify your workout routine, but it won’t help by much because yoga only works when it’s practiced right. Therefore, you’ll need professional help, so an experienced yoga trainer can guide you and correct your poses.
If you are currently tied to your city, you should join a yoga class or hire a private trainer in order to get this kind of assistance. However, if you want to maximize the benefits of your practice and boost both your physical and mental strength, you should consider visiting yoga retreats. There you will get the help as well as motivation from working with a group. Better yet, you will be able to relax, meditate, and focus on learning how to use this practice to increase your strength most efficiently.
3. Hold your poses longer
Some yoga poses are dedicated specifically to building up your strength. However, one of the best things about this practice is that any pose can help you achieve this. The trick is to hold them longer.
This type of exercise is called static strength training and it can be extremely challenging. Therefore, you should start with holding a pose for ten deep breaths only, even if your fitness level is above moderate. Aim to work up to 3-5 minutes and always make sure your body is aligned perfectly. You need to work the right muscles, so it’s essential that you do the pose correctly.
Yoga for Strength Training: Final Thoughts
Yoga is a fantastic practice and you definitely should include it into your workout routine. However, no matter how much you enjoy yoga strength training, you need to mix these workouts up with free weights days, or classes in your local CrossFit box. This will allow you to avoid any muscle imbalances as yoga exercises cannot provide an equal workout to all your muscle groups.