When we think of yoga, long deep stretches, lots of breathing and the relaxing effects of Savasana/resting pose come to mind. The benefits of practicing yoga, though, are not just limited to a calmer mind and a more flexible body. Making yoga a regular part of our workout routine also helps to increase cardiovascular endurance, strengthen our muscles, improve form and aid muscle recovery thereby preventing injuries.
In this blog, we are going to share with you six ways that adding yoga into your class schedule each week can help bring more balance to your workouts, improve recovery and help you feel stronger in your body!
It builds long and lean muscle
We all love “the burn” after a Tone & Flex (weight training) class, where our muscles ache for a day (if not more) afterward! Weight training relies on the principle of concentric contraction, where the muscles become smaller as they contract. Muscle fibers heal close together, resulting in that “pumped” look or feeling.
Yoga, on the other hand, relies on eccentric contraction, where the muscles stretch as they contract giving them a sleek and elongated shape. It also reduces muscle fatigue and tightness! It can, therefore, be a great pairing for your muscle or strength workouts!
It tones both large and small muscle groups
In yoga, we use both large and small muscle groups and move in many different directions (twisting, arching, rounding, etc.) which works muscles much harder than exercises that only use one motion and work one major muscle group at a time, such as squats or bicep curls.
This can also help with coordination and brain function!
It increases endurance and stamina
We have two main types of muscle fibers in our bodies; fast-twitch and slow-twitch. The fast-twitch muscle fibers which are primarily activated through high-intensity cardio exercise can generate powerful movements, but are low in endurance. If you are only focusing on cardio or high intensity classes / workouts, then your fast-twitch muscle fibers may be over-developed and you may be missing out on other components of training your body!
Through slow movement and holding postures, yoga activates the slow-twitch muscle fibers which can help to increase stamina and concentration. This in turn, can help in all elements of your training and strength, so that both types of muscle fibers are able to work better together!
It aids muscle recovery
Yoga supports the muscle-building process through its ability to aid in the overall recovery and repair of the muscles we may have worked out that week. Certain resting yoga postures allow the muscles to stretch and relax, thus increasing blood flow to the worked areas of the body. This increase in blood flow also brings an increase in oxygen, which assists the muscles in healing and growing stronger.
It improves form & posture
Due to its focus on alignment, practicing yoga can decrease risk of injury for other exercises and also improves the performance of everyday tasks like walking, sitting, twisting, and lifting. This focus on alignment can help to improve your posture and strengthen your core, which we use in so many aspects of our life! And, it can help reduce lower back pain and injury.
The breathing techniques taught in yoga can help bring more oxygen in your body and better control the way we move from one pose to another, and this is not something we generally learn in strength training and cardio routines. It can help us to improve our focus during movements, to increase our mindfulness during exercise to get more out of the movements and classes!
Yoga also increases our overall flexibility = better range of motion so we can reach higher and squat lower!
It’s a well-rounded approach
And let’s not forget about that calm and peaceful feeling after a good yoga sesh! Yoga nourishes the body, mind, and soul, unlike any other exercise form. It can help to improve mental health, reduce anxiety and stress, and help you re-focus your energy in a really positive way.
So , our challenge to you this week is to give one of our yoga classes a try! Follow up your strength and cardio workouts with yoga for a beautifully balanced workout. And, make sure to let us know what you think and how you feel afterwards.
For the full schedule of classes and to sign up click on the link below!
See you at the studio!
Hi I’m Sobia and I teach yoga, Pilates and Zumba. My work-out philosophy is all about moving mindfully and working my body in different ways to keep myself healthy and fit and I bring the same approach to my classes. And I love being a part of the AWESOME Loyobo Family :)