We’re constantly told that yoga is a great form of workout. For our minds this makes sense, but what about our bodies? Can it really help achieve the figure you desire, more so than lifting weights?
I’ve always been into yoga, but it was always last on my week’s to-do list. Fitting it into my busy lifestyle was a challenge and hardcore gym workouts always took priority. I began to use yoga to clear my head but I actually noticed effects on my figure, too. Now it’s a regular feature to my workout routine – here’s why:
Tones not bulks
A lot of women worry that weight training will make them bulky as opposed to toned. Well yoga uses your body-weight as resistance so is a great way to ensure that you don’t bulk up. The stronger you get, the more muscle you build so you gradually tone. The movement in yoga means that you won’t be isolating a few muscles at a time like you are when doing bicep curls or squats.
The way you carry yourself has a massive effect on how your figure appears. It sounds crazy, but if your shoulders are hunched and your neck stooped, you’ll immediately appear less curvy and clothes will hang in an unflattering way. Every pose in yoga is designed to put your body back into alignment by pushing you into unusual positions. These unnatural poses force every part of your body to work together. If your body is in harmony you’ll stand up straighter, your shoulders will be relaxed and you’ll appear more confident. This not only changes the way people perceive you, but your womanly features will be enhanced!
Strength & Second-guessing your body
Yoga second-guesses your body. By this I mean every time you think you’ve cracked the hardest pose yet, there’ll be another one just around the corner. My kettlebells fitness instructor once told me that by doing different exercises at each workout you’ll second guess your body and force muscles that haven’t been used recently back into action! This will make sure you can strengthen your whole body rather than just the muscles you are used to working. Yoga is full of these second-guessing moves with hundreds of different routines.
It has been proven that yoga helps you sleep better (1), but how does this help your figure? To begin with, if you are well rested you’ll be in a healthier state of mind. This means you’ll probably find it easier to eat healthier and train better – both of which are crucial for your figure. Secondly, your muscles recover more effectively when you’re sleeping. Studies have shown that a deprivation of sleep actually favours the loss of muscle and hinders muscle recovery (2). So, the idea of beauty sleep is actually true…
If you’ve ever done simultaneous sun salutations you’ll already know this one! By matching your breathe to movement in a routine, you’ll soon feel the sweat building up on your forehead. While you hold poses in yoga, a lot of the time you move in-between poses in a way that gets your whole body moving. It may not be strenuous on your lungs like running is, but it’s still cardio all the same. Plus, low-impact cardio is a good way to prevent injuries and to be kind to your body.
How to incorporate yoga into your weekly routine:
I try to do at least one or two yoga classes a week – I love learning new moves and challenging myself. I also love hitting the gym as a way to keep fit. After each gym session I add an extra 10-15 minutes of basic yoga moves to my cool-down. This helps me come away from a gym session body-worked, well stretched and with my mind at ease – a great way to reap the benefits of yoga without having to sacrifice your beloved gym workouts!
Have anymore recommendations on how to fit yoga into a hectic lifestyle? We’d love to hear them – leave a comment below!