3 Yoga Poses That Give Weight Training A Run For Its Money

Penetration of our mind is our goal, but in the beginning... there is no substitute for sweat. ~ B.K.S Iyengar Click To Tweet

Excess weight is a major health problem that affects people from all over the world. Numerous studies have shown that it increases one’s susceptibility to various complications such as high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes — the list goes on.

Poor body image is another far-too-common affliction, the breadth of which is only recently beginning to be understood. For many years, weight and weight training were perceived as the only guaranteed ways of getting over both of these issues. However, new studies have shown that Yoga is equally effective in promoting weight loss, as well as firming and defining your physique by increasing your metabolic rate, as well as muscle tone and strength.

There are learning facilities in nearly every city and town now that offer courses focusing specifically on Yoga training. While a graduate from such an institution can teach you numerous things, it may be a bit too pricy to hire an actual personal trainer. If this is the case, simply joining one of these facilities will definitely be more affordable. 

Unlike weight training, which focuses on specific muscle groups and joints, Yoga is a holistic training program that involves not only muscles and joints but also your mind. It is imperative that you concentrate when doing the body movements to avoid injuries and increase your chances of getting the expected results. Honing your concentration in such a manner will, over time, grant you the strength to hold very advanced and challenging poses longer and deeper, leading to improvements in everything mentioned earlier — muscle tone, strength and metabolism. 

While there are numerous poses that will benefit you (particularly once you learn the art of concentration) the following 3 are known for specific physical benefits, and will hopefully spur you further along in your research. Bottom line: take the time to learn how to do the various exercises before trying to do them on your own at home.

1) Bridge Pose

woman sarvangasana setu bandha bridge pose posture position in silouhette on studio white background

This pose is very effective in helping you lose belly fat, toning abdominal muscles, spine, and hip flexors. Weight training exercises can often exert an excessive amount of pressure on the spine, and unless executed with near perfect form, can result in re-curring pain that makes it difficult for one to keep up with their routine. It can also result in chronic injuries. 

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, Bridge Pose helps to not only increase the metabolic rate but also digestion. In addition, it helps to increase flexibility and alleviate the pain caused by most weight training exercises.  Once you get better at this, you can eventually advance to the full bridge pose, pictured here. Release and slowly lower your body back to the floor. Repeat at least five times per session.

2) Bow Pose

bow pose

If you have been taking part in strength-training exercises, this Yoga pose will be comfortable for you. Just like the bridge pose, it is very effective in burning fat and toning major and minor muscle groups that other forms of exercise cannot. Studies also show that it can help resolve constipation and menstrual problems.

According to a white paper posted on Art of Living,  this exercise will stimulate the reproductive organs, increase your back’s flexibility, and open up your chest and shoulders. All of this in addition to burning fat.

3) Cobra Pose

cobra pose

This body movement is designed to tone the abs and firm the buttocks. It is also an ideal choice for people who experience backaches, a common side-effect of weight training. According to a publication posted in Yoga Journal, Cobra Pose can not only help you achieve your weight loss goals but also strengthen your spine, promote the healthy functioning of the heart and lungs, strengthen your chest, abdomen, lungs, and shoulders, sooth sciatica, and many other health benefits.

Clearly, Yoga offers a much wider berth of long-term health benefits than weight training, helping not only to shed fat but also toning muscles and joints. It is also self-regulating in effect, as the number of repetitions that you can do is solely based on your fitness level. To avert injuries, you should start with simple exercises to give your body ample time to be acquainted with the exercises. Otherwise, starting off at a high can predispose you to injuries thereby making your goal to get a lean body even difficult to achieve.

Finally, it is recommended to consider a number of factors when looking for a training facility that offers Yoga classes. Some of the primary factors that you need to put into consideration include reputation of the facility, location, experience, and charges. Despite the fact that price is an important factor to consider, you should not compromise other factors such as quality of the training lessons.