Is Yoga Beneficial For Muscle Growth?
When people think of yoga, they may think that it is just a way to relax and unwind, requiring you to be flexible. While yoga does focus on relaxation, increasing flexibility, improving breathing techniques and connecting your body and mind through each breath, it doesn’t stop there. Yoga is actually a fantastic way to build muscle! Yoga poses use your own body weight as resistance, therefore continuous yoga practice helps build muscle strength. We’re here to tell you just how great yoga is for your body in helping to improve overall muscle strength.
Health Benefits of Yoga
It’s no secrete that building muscle is beneficial for your body. Building your muscle increases your overall health by improving bone density, metabolism, sleep and even an increase in brain health.
For those experiencing joint pain, regular yoga practice can see an increase in flexibility, which can translate into stronger joints and better everyday posture. Fixing bad posture helps with overall health by keeping your spine healthy. This can also help those who might be experiencing chronic back pain and persistent pain.
Yoga vs. Weight Training
There are often large debates on what is better for building muscle strength. The answer is, it depends. What are your fitness goals? Are you aiming to build muscle in certain areas? Do you just want to build muscle? These answers to these questions determine whether you should stick to solely weight training, yoga, or try a mixture of both.
Experts say that if you’re looking to solely build muscle, it is more useful to focus on weight training as you will see more results. This is because with weight training, you progressively lift heavier resistance when you train resulting in continuously growing the size and strength of muscle groups.
With Yoga, you will get a more balanced and all-rounded approach in muscle toning, rather than isolated training. For example, you use both large and small muscles with yoga, moving in different directions and not just one back and forth motion like you would a bicep curl. This causes an increase in muscle endurance as you are required to hold these poses for a longer period of time, with a few repetitions throughout the session.
If you usually only focus on weight training, it may be beneficial to mix up your workout routine with a yoga class to work out those smaller muscles you may be ignoring.
Yoga and Martial Arts
With Mixed Martial Arts comes an immense importance to stay focused. Yoga can help improve your focus through conscious breathing. Being aware of your breath helps activate parts of your brain that relaxes and balances emotions. Yoga techniques such as Nadi Sodhana or Ujjayi Pranayama help to deepen and synchronise your breathing pattern.
In the ring, it can be easy to get distracted with heightened emotion. So, practicing focusing on your breathing will be helpful during these times to calm yourself and ultimately improve your martial arts skills.
Improve Your Martial Arts Techniques
As mentioned above, daily yoga can improve your flexibility immensely. This helps to improve certain martial arts techniques. For example, it can improve high kicks, and submissions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Injuries can set back fighters immensely and yoga can help reduce this injury time. Joining a yoga session after a martial arts workout helps relax your muscles and act as a preventative method for common injuries. This is because the classes will stretch your muscles.
Other benefits Yoga has on Martial Arts:
- Improve core strength
- Increase endurance
- Improves balance
Muscle Building Yoga Poses
For beginners, it is important to start with basic moves and not dive straight into advanced yoga poses as it can result in injuries.
Start at a low plank and start to walk your feet forwards towards your hands. This pose is similar to a downward dog pose, but you are resting on your elbows instead of your palms. Keep this pose for five breaths and then lower your knees to rest.
You may see this one quite often, it helps strengthen your leg muscles by holding the pose for 5 – 10 breaths. Start by shifting your weight into your left foot.
Slowly bring your knee up in front of you and grab your right ankle, placing your foot on your upper inner left thigh. For beginners, if this is too difficult, try placing your foot below your knees instead. Finally, get into a prayer pose with your hands, or, if this gets too easy, hold it above your head. Repeat this on the other leg to keep both sides of the body balanced.
These poses are just some of the pose that help to build muscle strength and improve your overall fitness. Yoga is a good way to unwind whilst keeping your muscles healthy and strong.
Whether you are interested in seeing the benefits of yoga for your body or are currently a Martial Arts fighter wanting to improve your skills, why not try our Vinyasa Yoga classes at M1FC Osborne Park! Contact us today for a free pass to see what it’s all about.