What do Jennifer Aniston, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Gisele Bundchen, Jessica Biel, Pink, Kerry Washington, and Emma Stone have in common besides being rich, famous, and beautiful? They all share a love of one activity: Yoga.
While most people think of yoga as a relaxation tool, the reality is that it is also effective for lengthening, strengthening, and toning. The takeaway? If you’re looking for a body-boosting workout, look no further than yoga.
What is Yoga?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical poses, controlled breathing, and meditation or relaxation.” A popular integrative wellness technique, yoga “brings together physical and mental disciplines that may help you achieve peacefulness of body and mind.”
However, the advantages of yoga don’t end there. Because while some types of yoga, such as Hatha yoga, are especially suited to promoting relaxation and stress management, most general yoga classes also offer enhanced fitness across a wide range of measures, including “improved balance, flexibility, range of motion, and strength.”
Are You Missing Out on Yoga’s Body Benefits?
Research published in the American Journal of Medical Care indicates that even gentle yoga may be a wonderful entryway to working out for newcomers to fitness. It’s conclusion when comparing the results of women participating in a 48-week program of stretching exercises to those participating in restorative yoga? “That the restorative yoga practitioners lost significantly more subcutaneous fat over the initial 6 months of the study period, and kept losing it during a maintenance period with less direct supervision.”
(In addition to yoga, a number of strategies can help newcomers get up and running — or walking, swimming, lifting, or a hundred other things. Be sure to check out our 20 best tips for gym newbies for even more ways to get started and stick with it.)
But even elite athletes can add yoga to their fitness routines to help increase muscle mass and galvanize weight loss. Explains Muscle and Fitness, “In yoga the only weight you lift is your own. By completing a routine of stretches and movements that rely on the push and pull between your own muscle groups, yoga has many incredible benefits.”
In addition to increasing cognitive function, balance and coordination, these include raising the heart rate for optimal cardio and fat burning; low impact muscle strengthening; and greater flexibility.
Why Take a Yoga Class
Still not convinced that yoga can help you build your body? Says StyleCraze, “Some yoga poses have the ability to break your muscle fibers by creating tension in them. Then, your body builds more muscles as a backup, thereby increasing muscle mass.”
Some of the yoga poses are particularly effective when it comes to muscle building, including Vrikshasana (Tree Pose); Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1 Pose); Trikonasana (Triangle Pose); Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose); Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose); Bakasana (Crow Pose) and Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand).
Want to know one of the best ways to maximize your yoga workout in order to safely achieve your fitness goals? Take a yoga class. A trained yoga instructor can help you maximize the many benefits of yoga by ensuring that you’re adopting the proper form and posture. Additionally, Brick Bodies offers different types of yoga classes — from the total body conditioning of Yoga for Athletes and Vinyasa Yoga to calming Restorative Yoga. Trying various yoga classes can not only help you find a style you love but also keeps your workout exciting.