Most people associate yoga with increased flexibility and relaxation, and they’re not wrong. But yoga is so much more than that. In fact, it can be one hell of a workout. But can you actually get fit and build muscle with yoga alone? Let’s discuss.
The Different Types Of Yoga
If you’re not familiar with yoga, you might be surprised to know that there are different styles, all of which have their own benefits. Depending on what you want to get out of your practice, I.e., relaxation or strength, some may be better suited for you than others.
Here are some of the most popular styles of yoga practiced today.
Hatha yoga is a term for all styles of yoga that pairs asanas (poses) with breathing. If you plan to visit a yoga studio or take a class at your local gym, you’ll likely find hatha yoga on offer. Hatha yoga is suitable for beginners up to advanced yogis as the poses can be modified to suit all levels.
Another yoga style that you’ll find on offer at your gym is vinyasa yoga or vinyasa flow. A vinyasa class is more fast-paced than other styles and involves flowing from one pose to another while focusing on your breathing. Since this is a more vigorous, cardio-based class, it suits those looking to get their sweat on.
Yin Yoga/Restorative Yoga
Restorative and Yin yoga gives your body and thinking mind a break. It involves holding relaxing poses for long periods with the help of props like blankets, yoga blocks, and yoga straps. This yoga style is perfect for anyone who wants to slow down, unwind and relax. Newbies are welcome!
This style of yoga involves flowing from pose to pose, like vinyasa yoga. However, the poses are more advanced and are designed to improve strength and fitness. Power yoga classes are intense, fast-paced, and an extreme full-body workout. This style is best suited for those with some understanding of traditional vinyasa poses and a good level of fitness and strength. But if a good workout is what you’re after, power yoga is for you.
What Yoga Style Should You Practice?
Do you want to relax and melt away stress after a long day at work? Or do you want to get your sweat on and tone your body?
For those looking to decompress while gently improving their flexibility, give yin/restorative yoga a shot. If you want to challenge your body through dynamic fast based movement while building strength, a vinyasa or power yoga class is for you. If you’re new to yoga and want a beginner-friendly class that will give you an idea of what yoga is, try hatha yoga.
When trying a new style of yoga for the first time, don’t hesitate to let the instructor know. That way, they can modify poses to suit your ability and offer extra support during class.
Can You Build Muscle With Yoga?
It’s time to ditch the weights because yoga can help you build some serious muscle. And that’s certainly not all it can do for your mind and body! Yoga helps develop flexibility, endurance, mindfulness, balance, strength and improve cardiovascular health.
Want to build muscle without stepping foot in a gym? Keep reading for our favorite yoga poses for building muscle.
The Best Yoga Poses For Building Muscle
These muscle-building yoga poses can be practiced right from the comfort of your living room. So roll out your mat and get ready for a full-body burn!
TIP: We recommend a thick yoga mat to support your knees during weight-bearing poses. (A must-have if you’re practicing on hardwood floors.) We also suggest a couple of yoga blocks and a yoga strap, so you can modify poses to suit your current range of motion.
Think squat 2.0 – chair pose offers a full-body burn. Not only does this pose strengthen the muscles in your legs, but it also opens the chest and shoulders giving them a wonderful stretch.
Muscles targeted: glutes, thighs, calves, ankles, and core.
Want to feel the heat throughout your whole body? Forearm plank is the perfect pose to begin your yoga strength practice as it fires up your entire body. If you can’t hold a full forearm plank, you can adjust the asana by placing your knees on the ground.
Muscles targeted: core, shoulders, back, glutes, calves.
This powerful pose offers strength, length, and an opening for your entire body. It may look easy, but hold this pose for long enough, and your whole body will tremble!
Muscles targeted: shoulders, hamstrings, claves.
This asana requires some serious concentration and focus on your breath to stay balanced. The extended triangle pose is true to its name as you’re forming various triangle shapes with your body when you’re engaged in this asana. Cool, right?
Muscles targeted: core, hamstrings, calves, shoulders.
Say hello to your abs, as they are guaranteed to come to life in this strength-building asana. The most challenging part of this pose is to remember to focus on your breath. Trust us – it’s easier said than done.
Muscles targeted: core, hips, hamstrings.
Yes, You CAN Get Fit & Build Muscle With Yoga
Yoga is a magical practice that can be beneficial not only for your mind but also for your body. But remember, it takes time to build muscle and strength, and it won’t happen overnight. So be patient, and stick with your yoga practice. We have a feeling that you’ll be more than pleased with the results.
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