Strength Training for the Yogi

Yogi’s appear to have it all – flexibility, mind-body connection, self appreciation, a centered heart, and can get upside down in some impressive poses.

Yoga can be tough. I remember the first time I did a yoga class, I was blown away at how inflexible and unbalanced I was, and I had been training my entire life. Those in the class that had been practicing yoga for years had such amazing flexibility.

At Perform 360, we train a few yoga instructors. Our instructors are so strong and flexible when teaching their yoga classes, but when they join our strength training groups, they find they feel unstable and weaker in these different planes of movement, and are so surprised that they aren’t as strong as they thought they would be. Our yoga instructors have have found that strength training has enhanced their practice.

To improve your yoga practice, you not only need flexibility, but you need strength through that range of motion which is what we refer to as mobility. Flexibility without strength is just as limited and susceptible to injury as strength without flexibility. I had a client who could easily perform the lateral splits, relaxed in the bottom position, but when I asked her to hold herself an inch off the ground in that lateral split for 60 seconds, she couldn’t. Once she could achieve that 60 second hold, she achieved strength in range of motion.

Here are my top reasons why strength training will improve your yoga practice:

  • Stability through flexibility

Some yoga poses also promote hypermobility which can lead to injury. Weight training will improve strength in poses and will increase muscle awareness in your practice. More muscle awareness leads to stronger, more aligned poses and reduced chance of injury.

  • Improved muscle tone and shape.

Strength training will not only boost your metabolism as it builds your muscles, but it will also define and shape your body.

  • Strengthen your poses

Can you imagine how much easier holding a downward dog will be if you could overhead press 40kg or more? Or imagine how much longer you could hold the Chair Pose if you had strong quads and glutes from weighted squats?

  • Balance the body and focus the mind

Lifting weights needs focus, you need belief in your mind to know you can lift that weight. Controlling your focus, and empowering yourself to lift heavier than you could have imagined can translate into those tough poses in the yoga room.

  • Strong body, Strong mind.

Enough said.

Yoga can make you more flexible, but yoga combined with strength training, is the ultimate package for those looking to elevate their yoga practice.


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