When you think about strength training, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably weight training! Spending time lifting weights as resistance to build body muscle is the usual route people take. Yoga to tone your body is a great idea as it emphasizes on proper body alignment with a conscious effort to maintain a breathing flow.
When performing yoga to tone your body, you put your body into positions and orientations that put a strain on your muscles. This becomes similar to the energy exerted when lifting weights and an increase in muscle tone and definition becomes visible.
A Well-Rounded Approach
There are various reasons why you should utilize yoga to tone your body, gain physical strength and improve your balance.
Practicing Yoga regularly reduces the risk and chance of injuries. It conditions your body to perform everyday tasks much more energetically and efficiently. Forms of functional fitness such as walking, sitting, twisting and bending allow you to move with more fluidity and ease. In yoga you use both large and small muscles moving them in many directions and not just back and forth. The multiple motions work the flexor muscles exercising the entire body.
Yoga to tone your body relies on eccentric contraction. This means that muscles stretch as they contract giving them a sleep elongated look and allowing for flexibility in the muscles and joints. Weight training on the other hand relies on the opposite with concentric muscle contraction. This means the muscle fibers heal close together giving a compact, bulging look.
Yoga to tone your body does not only give you a great looking physique but it also increases muscle endurance. This is because you usually have to hold any given pose for certain periods of time and repeat the exercise multiple times. This builds stamina and endurance throughout the body.
Which Poses Are Most Effective?
The Three-Legged Downward Dog
One of the main stays of any yoga to tone your body routine is the downward facing dog. This pose shapes your upper back, shoulders and arms. A variation of the exercise makes it even more effective.
Begin by placing your feet and hands on the floor with your body making a ‘V’ shape. Once you are in the downward dog position lift your left leg as high as you can. Remember to keep your shoulders parallel to the floor and take five deep, long breaths. Bring your left foot back down and raise your right leg.
Repeat this exercise at least five times in one set.
Another staple yoga pose, the warrior, which is a standing pose, targets the glutes and thighs. Considering that you also engage your arms in the movement it also strengthens your shoulders.
Begin by turning slightly to the side and stepping your left foot forward. Make sure your hips, arms and chest are open with your left knee over your ankle and your thigh completely parallel to the floor. Extend your arms and gaze past them as you take five deep breaths. Straighten your legs, rotate to your right side and repeat.
Another standing pose, the ‘fierce’ looks simple enough but it will surely give you the perfect workout for your thighs and core.
Begin by keeping both feet together and keep your back straight. Bend your knees as you lower your hips. Shift your weight towards your feet similar to as if you were about to sit in a chair. Extend your arms over head stretching as much as possible. Hold the position for five deep breaths and then slowly revert to the standing position. Repeat this pose at least five times to get that muscle burn!
Using yoga to tone your body provides overall fitness and can be done without the need of special equipment. The poses are easy to do and they manage to deliver a complete body and mental exercise. Remember before indulging in any physical activity you should always consult your physician! Exercise responsibly!