Whether you’re a yoga lover looking to build strength to advance your asana practice, or a dedicated gym-goer looking to increase flexibility, there are tremendous benefits that can come from making time for both yoga and strength training. Rather than one being superior to the other, both offer unique and complementary benefits, contributing to a supportive routine that benefits both body and mind.
Why is it important to do both yoga and strength training?
Yoga as a physical practice is a terrific way to increase flexibility and mobility. Depending on the style of yoga you practice, there will also be a moderate to significant opportunity to build strength and muscular endurance. As a bodyweight-only exercise, yoga can facilitate a stronger mind-body connection, and help the practitioner to connect with their natural movement patterns.
First and foremost, weight training can help to build muscle mass. As we age our muscle mass naturally decreases, however by implementing strength and resistance training, we can help to combat this. It can also increase bone density and joint flexibility, thereby reducing future risk of fractures and symptoms of arthritis. Using resistance in your training can also help to build better balance, which can in turn benefit your yoga practice.
How do yoga and weight training complement each other?
Individually, they each have their benefits, but together, weight training and yoga become a beautiful partnership. One picks off where the other leaves off, and together they can help you to create an optimal balance between strength and flexibility.
One of the key movement patterns missing from the typical yoga practice is pull strength. For all the time we spend on our mat pushing into our hands, or pressing our feet into the floor, there aren’t many opportunities to pull through the upper or lower body. This can lead to postural and strength imbalances. Weight training creates the opportunity to balance this. Using targeted exercises such as bent over rows and reverse flys can work parts of the posterior chain that may be neglected during yoga.