Yogis come in all shapes in sizes and so do different forms of yoga. Some forms may focus more on breathing and meditation, while others are great for working up for a sweat. Yoga classes involve a lot more than sitting on the floor for an hour and stretching, especially when it comes to power yoga. If you’re looking for long and lean muscles but don’t want to pick up a kettlebell, here’s how you can build strength just by doing yoga.
Why power yoga?
Power yoga is one of the most energizing forms of yoga, moving at a fast pace and engaging every muscle in your body. Throughout a class like Group Centergy, yogis will focus on one muscle group at a time during a calming yet trendy track. This form of yoga is excellent for bringing your heart rate up to a fat-burning zone and then delighting in a 5-minute savasana (i.e. laying on the floor in total relaxation). Yoga helps build the muscles you use for everyday activities because you’ll perform natural motions, unlike the moves you’d do for bicep curls. Instead of attacking one muscle group at a time, power yoga targets multiple groups, which leads to seeing results faster. And juggling a career and a family isn’t the only balancing act you’ll master. Each pose is repeated on both sides, helping remove any imbalances and improve endurance.
Poses to try
There are so many awesome yoga poses to choose from that we couldn’t pick just one! Here are some of our favorite strength-building moves that you’ll catch yourself doing over and over again in a power yoga class.
This pose tones your entire body, especially targeting your shoulders, chest, and abdominal muscles. Bonus points for lowering down into chaturanga.
Strengthen your lower back, glutes, and thighs with chair pose. Don’t forget to hold your abs tight while holding this pose. If you sense too much pressure in your lower back, don’t be afraid to not go as deep into the pose.
We promise your abs will be on fire after holding this pose for a few breaths. This pose is a prime example of how you can customize the pose depending on your core strength.
Baby got back – a really strong back and glutes thanks to the locust pose! Practice this move a few times to wake up the spine before attempting more difficult back-bend poses such as wheel or bow.
Things to keep in mind…
Wait, before you spend your entire paycheck on new Lululemon yoga pants or a fancy yoga mat, here are a few things we want you to know:
Don’t dive in head first.
It’s called a yoga practice because it’s a journey. Each class you’ll improve your form in strength, allowing you to try and master more difficult variations of a pose. Don’t attempt the more advanced poses right off the bat. Even if you’re a superstar athlete, you’d be surprised at how challenging a simple yoga pose can be. Start off slow to avoid injury to your body or pride.
You’re limited to your body weight.
This may not be a problem for some, but others will be disappointed that there’s a glass ceiling when it comes to strength training with power yoga. While you can’t increase weight like you would with a barbell, you can hold poses longer or attempt more difficult poses.
Don’t limit yourself to just yoga.
Power yoga is a fabulous way to build strength and relieve stress, but it shouldn’t be the only form of exercise you do, especially when you’re trying to shed a few pounds. While power yoga is more intense than other variations, your heart rate won’t get high enough to give you a calorie burn similar to that achieved while biking or jogging. Introduce some cardio and traditional strength exercises to your gym routine. Switching up your workout not only helps you see results faster, but will improve your yoga practice (and avoid the dreaded plateau).