Yoga For Bodybuilders

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Yoga has become very popular worldwide in the past few decades.  Originated in India, it is a type of meditation based exercises which offer numerous health benefits.  Whether or not it can be used as a means of bodybuilding has been a point of repeated discussion.  But over the years many people have embraced yoga and it is becoming a way of life.

Even though Adonis Golden Ratio does not include yoga, lets ask the question: how does yoga help your body?  The list is a rather long one and mind you it is just the tip of the iceberg!!

Benefits of yoga

  • Stretching of muscles
  • Since yoga exercises involve stretching the body, it helps to keep the muscles and joints loose and improves muscle strength.  It also helps to prevent injuries to the muscles and tendons and heals the already injured ones.
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Controls blood pressure
  • Aids in digestion and helps to flush out the toxins
  • Improves concentration by reducing stress and calming the senses
  • Uses the stored body fats thereby helping to burn the excess fat
  • Helps in healing of recurring back pain
  • Improves sleeping

What is involved in yoga?

Yoga involves a series of asanas (exercises in various postures).

There are different types of yoga types amongst which Vinyasa yoga, Hatha yoga, Ashtanga yoga, hot yoga and power yoga are used as physical exercises.

Yoga involves doing exercises in various postures with focus on body balance, posture and breathing.

Due to different forms of stretching, muscle flexibility improves thereby contributing towards muscle growth.

All the exercises make you to inhale and exhale to maintain sync between the mind and body thereby helping in physical, spiritual and mental healing.

There are more than 20 forms of yoga asanas which range from low intensity to high intensity workouts.  Most yoga asanas will not make you sweat.  There are quite a few which increase your heart rate thereby acting as cardio exercises.

Some popular yoga styles

Hatha yoga

This includes yoga asanas which are based on meditation.  It aims to reduce stress and bring our mind and body to sync.   It makes the body flexible and strong.  All other forms of yoga have been created out of this yoga.

Hatha yoga are a combination of posture based and breathing based exercise thereby providing relief from respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis.

Ashtanga yoga

Unlike Hatha yoga, this has fast paced asanas and can be used as a replacement for strength training exercises in your bodybuilding workout plan.

Ashtanga yoga is done by balancing with Vinyasa and Tristhana.

  • Vinyasa refers to breathing and movement.  Each asana movement has to be followed by breathing movement.
  • These asanas produce sweat by making our body hot and toxins get flushed out through this sweat.
  • Tristhana refers to three places of focus which are body posture, breathing style and where to look (Drishti).

Ashtanga yoga improves blood circulation, gives a flexible and strong body, and relieves the mind of its stress.

Iyengar yoga

In this style the focus is given to body alignment.  Exercises in this style use various tools like sandbags, cushions to provide support while performing the asanas, thereby preventing any injuries.  It is very good for beginners to yoga.

Kundalini yoga

In this style of Yoga focus is on awakening of the energy packet present at the base of our spine.  It is one of the most powerful forms of Yoga.  This energy is believed to take the shape of a coiled snake.  “Kundalini” in Sanskrit means “coiled up”.  The aim of this Yoga is to wake up this “snake” and make it move slowly from your spine to reach your brain.  This results in a mental state of well being.

It involves exercises which involve breathing, various postures and meditation.  It might result in side effects if done by force.  A well trained yoga instructor is a must for practicing this style of yoga.

Hot Yoga (Bikram)

This is a unique form of yoga practised in a heated room.  It comprises of yoga asanas in standing posture, bending the back, forwarding the body and twists.

There are about 26 poses in this form of yoga.

Practicing in heated room promotes sweating of the body which flushes out the toxins.  Not only the muscles, but our internal organs and nervous system benefit from Bikram yoga.

Bikram yoga is also called hot yoga.

Power yoga

In US, power yoga is a customized version of Ashtanga yoga.  It is intense like the Ashtanga method, but not as much meditation based like its exercises.

Power yoga has series of exercises focusing on strength and so helps in increasing muscle size.  It can be clubbed with other normal weight training exercise and together it will be a good combination for those who do not have daily access to gym or for those with injuries.

Kripalu yoga

Kripalu is a form of Hatha yoga which focuses on a gentle approach using meditation, healing our body’s injuries and making our body spiritually aware.  In this, each learner understands his own capability and limit of practice every day by reading his inner mind.  The sessions begin with breathing exercises and then gentle stretching exercises. This is then followed by a sequence of individual posture based exercises and finally relaxation based yoga asanas.

Yoga styles have evolved a lot over the years and they have been accepted by all walks of people.  Though yoga alone by itself might not be enough for bodybuilding, in combination with proper strength training exercises and cardio it is indeed very beneficial.  The beauty of yoga is that it heals the mind too along with the body thereby making it an excellent way to get rid of stress, which if present, hampers our dedication to exercise our body.

For folks who have never practiced yoga before Hatha yoga is seen as the entry point into the world of yoga.  Gradually power yoga and Ashtanga yoga along with other forms can be introduced.  It is always recommended to perform yoga under the guidance of a yoga master initially so that you don’t hurt the body through wrong postures.

Category: Bodybuilding

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