I absolutely adore both yoga & weight training for different reasons that I’ll share with you shortly. I started lifting weights when I was 16yrs old and fell in love with yoga when I was around 20, so you could say I’ve been practicing both for quite a number of years! I’ll often find myself focusing more on one depending on what I feel my body, mind and soul needs more of, but these days, rarely a week goes by where I don’t practice both forms of movement, plus a side serve of some cardio too
7 Reasons To Combine Yoga & Weight Training
1. Balance & Restore – As much as I love weight training (also called strength training and resistance training), it can lead to overtaxed muscles, joints and ligaments. Yoga is a brilliant accompaniment to help balance, restore and strengthen fatigued muscles, joints and ligaments.
2. Strength & Flexibility – Although yoga is great for building body weight strength, if you’re wanting to build lean muscle mass you can’t go past weight training. Over the years I’ve found that lifting weights has really improved my yoga practice due to the increased strength I’ve gained (bonus!). If increased flexibility is a goal of yours, yoga is most definitely your friend. Hot Tip: I believe it is safe to say that most resistance exercises performed with good technique through a full range of motion will also increase flexibility. You will only shorten muscles and decrease flexibility if you perform contractions in a decreased range of movement.
3. Mind, Body & Soul – Hands down, my favourite thing about yoga and why I keep going back for more, is that it is a spiritual practice that works my mind, body and soul. The postures, breathing, inner focus (quietening my busy mind) and savasana at the end, all leave me floating and peaceful after a class. Fantastic for decreasing stress. LOVE!
4. Shape & Tone – To really sculpt, shape and change your body composition, nothing beats weight training. Due to progressive loading and the tearing of muscle fibers which with proper recovery (correct nutrition and rest) will repair and grow, resulting in lean muscle mass that gives you visually pleasing muscles and an increase in metabolism. Yoga is also wonderful for elongating muscles and increasing muscle tone, as well as core strength.
5. Better Health – Weight training is so important for numerous reasons. It decreases blood pressure & improves heart function, decreases your risk of developing diabetes and certain cancers, improves hormone levels & reproductive function, decreases osteoporosis by increasing bone mineral density and improves sleep & sense of well-being. Seriously a must to add into your weekly exercise routine, even if it means buying some dumbells and kettlebells to train at home.
6. Variety – Another thing I love about yoga, is the variety. Whether you’re after optimal alignment, increased flexibility, endurance & strength, a sweat sess or a style that accentuates a more spiritual aspect of yoga, there is a yoga style for you. Some styles you can try but not limited to, include: Bikram, Power Flow Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Kundalini, Iyengar, Air Yoga and Yin Yoga.
7. Reduces Boredom – Mixing up what you do for exercise keeps things interesting and also helps prevent the dreaded plateau. It’s also nice to be in different environments (the vibe and energy at a yoga studio is way more mellow and feminine compared to the fast pace, masculine vibe at a gym). It’s also great for meeting different types of people, and gives you the opportunity to really tune into your body and see how it responds to both forms of exercise.
Over to you! Do you like to combine both forms of movement, or do you favour one over the other? I’d love to hear from you – share your thoughts below