5 reasons to do yoga if you work out

20 April 2017 by
First published: 1 October 2016

Here’s 5 reasons to do yoga if you work out. Finding balance in life is always a struggle, especially if you live in a big city. It’s no wonder that we can start to feel unbalanced. But a regular yoga practice can help you find balance. From strong and sweaty Vinyasa classes, to soothing, restorative Yin, here’s how yoga will help you feel better.

Longer, leaner muscles

If a regular part of your regime is weight training, you must be all too familiar with ‘the burn’ – when your muscles ache for days afterwards. Weight training relies on the principle of concentric contraction – the muscle gets smaller as it contracts. Muscle fibres heal close together, resulting in that ‘pumped up’ look. This is great for building strength and increasing muscle size, but to have a beautifully balanced and sleek body, you need to stretch out the muscles.  Yoga relies on eccentric contraction – the muscle stretches as it contracts, giving it a sleek, elongated look, while reducing muscle tightness and fatigue.

Yoga tones both large and small muscles

Weight training isolates one muscle group at a time, which can result in major muscle groups being overworked through repetitious exercises. In contrast, in yoga you use both large and small muscles and move in many directions (twisting, arching etc.), not just back and forth as in the motion of a bicep curl or squat. You can increase muscle tone and definition — and even muscle size — with yoga, since you are lifting your own body weight, which requires concentration, stamina and strong back, core, arm and leg strength. Weights and yoga work surprisingly well together, so try doing a weightlifting class followed by a yoga class for a beautifully balanced workout.

Yoga is a well-rounded approach

Think of yoga as a complete multivitamin. It provides strength, flexibility, numerous physical and health benefits, and a deeper mind-body connection. A regular yoga practice can reduce your risk of injury, and condition your body to perform better at things you have to do every day: walk, sit, twist, bend, lift and climb. A form of ‘functional’ fitness, yoga moves your body in the ways it was designed to move, to help ensure it keeps functioning properly, well into your (ahem) old-age.

Yoga is empowering 

One way to make yourself feel great is by finding an exercise routine you love and sticking to it. With yoga, you learn much more about your body and its limitations than you could ever learn from running or weights. From that moment when you realise that, after dedication and perseverance, you are completely rocking a headstand, to the sense of wellbeing you feel while lying in peaceful, blissful savasana. Yoga is empowering, because it’s all about YOU. Your body, your rules, your mind. Start little and often, and you will be amazed at what you can achieve if you roll out your mat regularly.

You will find your own tribe and style

No matter how motivated you are, workouts can become dull if you constantly go to the same class or run on the treadmill each day. The beauty of yoga is that there are over 21 different styles you can explore to find the right ones for you. Throughout the long days of summer, you might feel more energetic and uplifted, so Vinyasa is the perfect dynamic style to get your heart-rate going. In the cold winter months, Hot Yoga can be an amazing way to warm the body and to aid the detox process. If you fancy the warm glow of candles, sensuous smells and a deeply relaxing experience, Restorative candlelit yoga is your new best friend. There is a style to suit everyone. All you have to do is to grab a friend or go alone, and try as many classes as you can. You will soon find yourself feeling at home in a specific style, or fall in love with them all!