Yoga is one of the most popular forms of exercise among humans. It is believed that it helps improve flexibility, balance, coordination, endurance and many other physical qualities. However, there are some limitations associated with this form of exercise. For example, when it comes to stretching or strengthening muscles in general, they need time to recover from the activity. When it comes to strength training, it takes longer than usual because the body needs time to adapt to the new demands.
Also, while certain exercises may be beneficial for your health, others can cause injury if not done properly.
In order to avoid these problems, you have two options: either do them slowly and gradually over a period of weeks or months; or do them all at once in a short amount of time.
The first option is much easier for beginners and those who don’t want to spend too long preparing themselves. But the second option requires more dedication and practice.
So which one should you choose?
Strength training for yogis is often misunderstood by people who aren’t familiar with it. They think that doing squats will make their bodies explode out of their skin like Arnold Schwarzenegger did in movies! That isn’t true!
We are only interested in building strength in our core, and doing different kinds of squats is a great way to achieve that. In the article below you will learn how to do them, and how they can help boost your yoga sessions:
The Yoga Squat Benefits
As we mentioned above, the squat is one of the best exercises you can do for your whole body. It strengthens your core while also working your legs. If you want to become a strong yogi, then this is the kind of exercise you need to do on a regular basis. Here are some of the many benefits you will gain by regularly squatting:
It tones your legs: Your legs will get stronger and leaner the more you squat. Even though it is a compound exercise, it specifically works out your quads, hamstrings and glutes quite well.
It improves your flexibility: How is this possible?
Well, as you keep doing squats your thighs will get longer and longer. And as your legs get longer, so will your muscles. This elongation of the muscles will in turn make them stronger and more flexible. So, squatting makes you flexible through strength.
It improves your balance: By placing one leg on top of the other while squatting, you challenge your body’s sense of balance. The more you do it the better you get, and before you know it, you have great balance and are less likely to fall over when moving around.
It improves your overall core strength: As explained above, squatting helps improve the strength of your core. This is important as it helps you maintain good posture, stand up straight, as well as sit and sleep properly. It also reduces back pain (among other kinds of pain) and other muscle-related issues.
It improves your flexibility: As you keep squatting, you will eventually reach a point where your legs cannot go any further down. At this point, you need to continue practicing in order to increase the flexibility of your quads, hamstrings and hip flexors. Over time, you’ll be able to touch your nose to your knees, which is the ultimate goal of squatting.
The process may take years, but with dedication and patience you’ll get there eventually. To get the most out of squatting, we recommend that you do them at least once a day, if not more often. It will also help if you can have someone to spot you as you squat. If done properly, you should not feel like you’re about to fall over or hurt yourself in any way. Rather, the pressure should be equally distributed throughout your body.
When you start feeling comfortable, you can increase the depth of your squats. Also, you should try to do partial squatting on one leg too, as this will help improve your balance and core strength in the long run. So get to it!
You should try to incorporate weight training for yogis into your routine as well. We have a separate guide for that, which you can find here:
(Weight Training For Yogis: A Beginner’s Guide)
However, if you want to get serious about it, you might need someone to help you out with form and technique. If that’s the case, you can always hire a personal trainer or join a gym where experienced trainers offer guidance and assistance. Alternatively, you can purchase instructional fitness DVDs that come with personal trainers offering you guidance on proper form and technique.
All of these resources should help you get started in the right direction. As for the other equipment you will need, you can get most of it at a standard sporting goods store or department.
Naturally, there is a lot more to fitness than just diet and exercise. You also need to manage your stress, get plenty of sleep and take care of your mental well-being. While we don’t have the space (or competence) to go into those topics here, there are many other resources that offer advice and guidance on those subjects. All of which is vital to one’s quest for fitness.
With all this in mind, you should be able to start your journey towards a fitter, healthier you. While it may seem difficult at first, with dedication and patience you’ll get there eventually. Good luck!
If you found this guide helpful, let us know by clicking on the “recommend” button below. Thank you and train hard!
Sources & references used in this article:
How yoga, meditation, and a yogic lifestyle can help women meet the challenges of perimenopause and menopause by HKK RYT – Sexuality, Reproduction and Menopause, 2004 – Elsevier
Combining Exercise with Yoga Postures, Breathing, and Meditation to Help Manage the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease by L Newell – International Journal of Yoga Therapy, 2005 – iaytjournals.org
Co-Contraction of Knee Stabilizer Muscles during Sustained Squat Posture (A Yogic Posture) in Athletes by S Nara, M Kaur, D Bhatia, D Shaw – J Yoga Phys Ther, 2016 – researchgate.net