Yoga, Strength and a Balanced Routine
Written by Yoga and Strength Teacher Sarah Pay
Ears on yogis! Lifting weights is important for your health! It doesn’t matter your age, gender or relative fitness level, moving weighted objects works…dumbbells, kettlebells, sand bags, logs, bricks, boxes, pets or kids…they all do the trick. It’s really not worth arguing over what is the right or best method. The one you’re willing to do, and can do safely, is the one that’s best, because it’s the one where you’ll find the most success.
As an athlete who found yoga after a multitude of injuries associated with running and overtraining, I assumed yoga was totally risk free. I was wrong. Fortunately, I had the residual strength from years of training, to find stability and safety in my practice, but as I looked around the room, I observed many students executing postures improperly and even injuring themselves as a result of unsafe repetitive movements. A tweak here and a strain there, wasn’t enough to take them off the mat, but I noticed they weren’t making progress in their asana practice.
When I started teaching yoga, I became especially passionate about bringing strength to yogis, and mobility and breathe to my friends and clients at the gym. Strength training and yoga may seem like they’re on opposite ends of the fitness spectrum, and that they have to be mutually exclusive, but it’s not true. What if I told you your yoga practice would improve if you also incorporated strength? The flip is also true. Your strength practice will definitely improve with the addition of yoga. So how do I make time for both? It doesn’t have to be a “strength on Monday, yoga on Tuesday” arrangement. You can unite both practices to create a more balanced movement routine. I personally prefer to strength train first and do yoga afterwards, but everyone is different and every body is different. It just takes some effort exploring.
Although lifting is important for everyone, it’s long been neglected by women for fear of getting bulky. Hear me…You’ll only get bulky if that’s your goal and you’ll have to significantly increase your load to meet such gains (and lift heavier weights than we have here at the studio). It won’t happen in a bootcamp, a strength class, or in a few visits to the weight room. Two to three thirty minute strength sessions a week is a gracious plenty for the yogi looking to make “gains” on the mat.
What it will do:• Improve bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.• Preserve muscle mass as we age (muscle loss is the natural trend)• Stabilize joints and help to prevent injuries.• Improve your resting metabolic rate. (RMR matters)• Improves sleep quality.• Reduce anxiety and depression.• Increases confidence and self-esteem.
But don’t JUST lift weights and don’t JUST do yoga. Make movement a ritual, and mix up your modality. Do some body weight work, get your heart rate up, make sure your joints stay mobile, your muscles stay pliable, AND your mind stays active. Challenge yourself to try new things and break your movement patterns from time to time. Try a different variation the next time the teacher offers it and keep picking up the heavy stuff! You’ll be better for it.
Get a jumpstart on incorporating strength training into your routine this spring with our “Power Up your Practice” strength workshop. Me and my fellow strength teacher, Carrie Selby, are hosting a workshop on March 9th where we will give you a full body workout utilizing techniques you see in our Y2 Strength Classes. We are also using this workshop as time to educate you on the benefits of adding in strength and resitance training into your routine and how you can use these workouts to get you where you want to be in your yoga practice. Head over to our workshops page and sign up today or click on the button below to sign up!