After a quick Google of ‘yoga’, you’re likely to find a copious amount of images mainly featuring women tangled up in pretzel-like positions and doing a stretch that makes you think: ‘how is that physically possible?!’ Despite the assumptions that you need to be flexible to participate in yoga, thinking you’re too impatient for the zen-like atmosphere of yoga or it’s “not hard-core enough”, this is simply not true, there are many advantages for everyone. This blog looks at the benefits of yoga and why adding some yoga sessions into your weekly gym routine is a fantastic way to push your body to its full potential.
Without further ado, here are the benefits of yoga:
Builds Lean Muscle Mass
Imagine you’ve reached your personal best in the bench press or deadlift; feels amazing, right? But as great as weightlifting is for targeting a particular area of muscles, solely focus on weight lifting (especially if you don’t combine stretching in your workout) may lead to limiting your range of motion. Yoga will help not only strengthen your big muscle groups, but strengthens your supporting, stabilising muscles too. Yoga builds lean muscle mass using body weight resistance to lengthen the muscle and connective tissue. This is amazing for pushing your limit and targeting those areas that might not be activated during weightlifting sessions; do both and you’ll feel an increase in progress. Even stretching out your muscles through yoga after a week of intense gym sessions or classes will feel great.
You may find yourself lying in bed with work on your mind combined with your partner’s snoring and you’re struggling to sleep. However, after your body’s been active yet relaxed through a session of yoga – perhaps the dynamic class to strengthen your core and expand awareness – you’ll find that the deep breathing and frequent movement will have a relaxing effect and induce sleep. Yoga also assists in muscle recovery –essential for injury prevention which can otherwise disrupt your sleep.
Work, bills, family issues – they all cause us stress. Perhaps you’ve had a rough day in the office, you’ve been doing heavy labour or something else is on your mind. Yoga reduces this tension and slows down the impact through mindfulness; known to improve wellbeing and ease burnout. Yoga also encourages you to take in fuller, deeper breaths – granting more oxygen to lower the release of stress hormones, prevent panic attacks and detoxify the body.
Relieves Joint Pain
I know that many of our members love higher impact/higher energy sessions such as Super60 or running. Whilst jumping on the treadmill is an excellent way to burn calories and shed some fat, always doing high intensity exercise may lead to joint pain and over-use injuries. Common problems like hip-related issues such as inward-turned hips can be a result of running too many kilometres; yoga can help with injuries like this and more. Since yoga stretches the muscles, it assists in overcoming these issues and prevents tight muscles from becoming tighter, whilst alleviating joint pain so that you can continue to hit the treadmill or join our HIIT and Core classes.
Did You Know…..Yoga Was Originally A Men’s Activity?
When I first started writing this blog, it was about the benefits of yoga for men…..but let’s face it the benefits are good for everyone, but did you know that Yoga was originally an activity designed for men? One of our yoga instructors, Becs, taught us that….. “For hundreds of years, yoga used to be for men and pretty much only men, up until the 1930s. Yoga is believed to have its early roots in the Brahmins who were wise priests of the Indian caste system often referred to as ‘men of learning’”.
So remember, yoga isn’t just for women wearing flowery leggings and chanting whilst in downward-facing dog as the media often presents. Truly, it’s a physically and mentally stimulating exercise which pairs well with weight training and cardio and benefits everyone.
See you on the mat! x