The majority of people tend to be drawn toward weight training and tools to gain muscle. Lifting weights, after all, is the best way to stimulate muscle growth. However, your own body can be the most effective tool for the job at times. This is where yoga comes into play.
Yoga is often thought of as a way to stretch and relax by beginners, which is true in some cases. However, several positions require you to lift your body weight, which, if done frequently enough, can help you gain muscle.
Yoga for Building Muscle
Do you know that yoga is a great way to build strength as part of a workout routine? There are specific yoga poses intended to increase strength and muscle mass (more on that later). There are scientific studies that have shown improved muscle strength because of yoga intervention.
In one study, twenty-six healthy adults aged 20 to 58 took part in a six-week Astanga or hatha yoga class. All participants showed significant gains in upper body and trunk dynamic muscular strength and endurance on their follow-up.
Another study found that a 12-week Hatha yoga program and intervention had a significant positive effect on upper body muscle strength and endurance and abdominal muscle strength and endurance in both men and women.
In another study, 79 adults did 24 cycles of sun salutations six days a week for 24 weeks, a series of fundamental poses, and used as a warm-up. Their upper-body strength, endurance, and weight loss all improved significantly. And they noted that w omen’s body fat percentages decreased as well.
Science proves that there is more to yoga than just stretching. So put your dumbbells down because we’re going to talk about yoga asanas that can help you gain muscle holistically.
Yoga Poses to Build Muscle and Gain Strength
The wonderful thing about yoga is that you can gain a lot of flexibility and strength in a short amount of time and space. But, as you may be aware, it is a broad and comprehensive practice, so you have many options. So, to help you get started and narrow it down, here are some yoga poses for muscle building and strength.
Tree Pose, also known as Vrksasana, focuses on your core, glutes, thighs, legs, back, arms, and shoulder. If you practice the tree pose regularly, you will notice that it not only tones your muscles but also improves your posture and balance.
How to do it:
First, you need to stand tall at the top of your mat. Bring your right knee up in front of you and shift your weight into your left foot. Place your foot on the upper inner left thigh and grab your right ankle with your right hand. Place it below your knee. If you can’t get it that high up, just make sure your foot isn’t on the inside of your left knee. Keep your hips level to the floor by pressing your outer upper left leg into the sole of your right foot and ensuring that neither hip is higher than the other. Then, in front of your heart, place your hands in Prayer Pose.
Warrior 3 Pose
Warrior three’s single-leg nature necessitates balance and engages your core. Warriors three, unlike tree pose, has a forward-leaning orientation. It increases the amount of weight on the standing leg while also working the entire backside of the body. Calves, hamstrings, glutes, back, and shoulders will all gain strength and endurance.
How to do it:
Begin in a lunge by bending your front knee, straightening your back leg, and lifting your back heel. Your hips and chest should be parallel to the mat’s front edge. Also, raising your arms above your head is a good way to start. In a prayer position, bring your hands to your heart, palms against each other. Lean forward until your back leg is parallel to your hips and extends straight back. Maintain a flexed foot and a downward gaze. Then, check to see that your standing leg is strong and straight but not locked at the knee. Reach your arms forward to form a “T” shape with your body.
Chair pose works the legs and glutes while also requiring a strong core and lower back to maintain balance. Your quads and glutes will burn as your legs support your weight in this narrow-stance half-squat position with your feet together.
How to do it:
Take your feet hip-width apart as you stand at the top of your mat. Ensure that your feet are parallel and in two straight lines. Raise your arms to shoulder height in front of you, keeping your hands shoulder-width apart. Lift your heart when inhaling and bend your knees and shift your hips back in space as if you were going to sit in a chair when exhaling. Keep your breathing even and smooth by lifting your navel toward your spine. Begin to lift your heels off the floor, balancing on your toes, while maintaining this position as best you can.
Horse pose is a great way to tone your inner thighs while also activating your core muscles. The key, however, is to maintain this position. This position is so great for your quads that skipping those dreaded leg days at the gym for a week or two won’t hurt you in the least–because this pose will keep your leg strength intact.
How to do it:
Take a wide stance with your feet about 3 to 4 feet apart, facing the side edge of your mat. The wider your stance should be, the taller you are. Open both feet out to about 45 degrees, and afterward, bend your knees to your toes. Lift through your low belly and keep your torso upright by stacking your knees over your heels. Then stay in Prayer Pose for 1 minute or longer in front of your heart center.
The Bottom Line
Yoga increases muscular endurance while also lengthening and stabilizing the body, which can be seen both in and out of the gym. Well, you’ll surely reap the benefits of those newly-strengthened muscles in so many ways.
READ ALSO: Can I Listen to Music While Doing Yoga?