How Does Yoga Complement Your Strength Training?

How Does Yoga Complement Your Strength Training?

Let’s discuss how strength training is related to the practice of Yoga and the advantages of Yoga compared to weight-lifting exercises.

This debate of juxtaposing Yoga exercises with strength building has been going on for quite some time. There have been numerous discussions on whether Yoga can replace strength training or not. Let’s be clear that Yoga and strength training exercises are quite different in practice as well as theory. Now a question might arise in your mind- then why do people try to compare the two practices? It is because both are goal-oriented towards a similar mission of strengthening, toning, and aligning the body and mind. Muscular strength can be attained by both the practices, but in different ways.

Strength Training and Yoga

Before understanding any similarity and dissimilarity between strength training and Yoga, it is very important that we get acquainted with the two.

Strength training is defined as a kind of physical exercise that uses the body’s resistance to instigate the contraction of the muscles. The training is aimed at building the overall strength of the body, higher metabolism, boosting cardiac functions, and increasing anaerobic endurance. While strength training mainly uses various weight training equipment such as a barbell, dip bar, power rack, etc., Yoga’s physical aspect defines itself as a practice leading towards the complete wellbeing of the body using body weight as powerlifting equipment.

The strength and robustness of the muscles and bones attained are proportional to the mass of the body itself. According to the prominent American Yoga Instructor, Rodney Yee, when asked about whether he weight lifts, he replied, "Yes- I lift my own weight." He further advocates that Yoga poses are nothing but types of postures in which one leans to learn how to support the body weight in addition to enhancing the focus of the mind on the practice.

Benefits of Combining the Two

According to a majority of the health experts in the world, strength training and Yoga are very much distinct from each other and cannot be replaced. In many ways, Yoga may offer more advantages than weight training, but not vice-versa. The best result can be obtained by combining both practices.

  • Hamstring strengthening: The hamstrings are the one part of the human physique that supports the whole body and are crucial to a healthy existence and movement. The art of nourishing the hamstrings by Yoga asanas is unique in itself. While the machine workout of leg curl, glute hamstring raise, etc., can hurt the knees and thigh bones, yoga practices not only stretch the hamstrings in a completely natural way but also heal the upper legs by generating warmth in them. Machines don't allow independent adjustment, whereas Yoga asanas give you the freedom to pull the legs to a good extent by pushing limits.
  • A complete workout for the mind, body, and soul: What sets Yoga apart from other exercises is its wider domain of benefits that helps all three aspects of life- physical, mental, and emotional. While Yoga asanas are primarily considered a physical workout for the body, mindful practices such as meditation and Yoga Nidra take proper care of a tiring mind. Meditation provides the required assistance to the mind so that it is calm and stimulated even during a weary Yoga session. Weightlifting equipment makes you exhausted and you may not be able to concentrate on training for a long time. Mantra Yoga or spiritual Yoga practices heal the pain and afflictions caused by physical exercise.
  • Robustness with relaxation: Yoga is probably the most relaxing practice. The beauty of Yoga asana sequences is that each asana is followed by a relaxation posture that allows the body and mind to get set for the next training spell. Weight training is often grueling in which the main focus is to push the body to whatever limit you can, while Yoga defines itself as a celebration of what the body can do and not a punishment for what you eat. Yoga’s principle of fitness is based on a steady exercise that allows one to never skip training, unlike weight training. Strength training and its tiring nature may require you to skip a couple of days’ training. While continuing Yoga practice, the effect is likely to benefit the body more from a holistic standpoint, than weight training.
  • Strength and flexibility in assortment: Athleticism is the perfect combination of strength and flexibility which can be accomplished by making Yoga an integral part of life. Yoga asanas are all about movement, quick movement to be precise. The concept of movement seems to be missing from weight training. The joints benefit the most while one performs Yoga asanas such as Trikonasana, Virabhadrasana, Gomukhasana, etc. Weightlifting exercises don't offer the benefit of joint strengthening in a schematic way. From head to toe, all kinds of physical exercises aid in building a muscular and fibrous human framework. This framework needs to be accompanied by a pliant and fast-paced body design provided by Yoga asanas.

There is no denying the fact that equipment-based exercise helps. However, Yoga is a practice that is natural and intrinsic to the body and decreases injury risk. The biggest advantage of Yoga over strength training is that unlike the latter, Yoga doesn’t add extra strain that keeps the body on the edge of an injury. Ancient wellness science makes sure the practitioner doesn’t fall prey to any physical and mental damage. Practicing asanas and adhering to the adjustment and alignment designs inherent to them, prevents adverse effects.

Author Bio: Bipin Baloni is a passionate Yogi, Yoga Teacher and a Traveller in India. He provides Yoga Teacher Training Certification In India. He loves writing and reading books related to yoga, health, nature and the Himalayas. 


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