After spending some time travelling, I’ve recently settled back home in beautiful Australia. Here, I’m spending time with my family and getting back into a routine. Of course, one of the most important parts of my routine is exercise.
Yoga’s calming benefits are well known, and it’s obvious that it can help stretch out your muscles.
One thing that I’ve been doing recently is stretching and yoga. I started incorporating these practices into my life mainly for their calming, meditative benefits. However, I’ve also realized that I’ve become more flexible because of them too!
In the past, you have had questions about yoga. After all, it is very popular! I’ve tried answering your questions in previous blogs, including:
Today, I want to look at yoga from a different perspective – Yoga for lean muscle.
However, is yoga appropriate for building lean muscles? Or do the routines bulk you up too? Does yoga even make a difference?
Let’s look at the different types of yoga to learn more about the way they’ll impact our bodies. If you want to use yoga as strength training, you need to understand that not all yoga is created equal.
Yoga has many forms, and we won’t cover all of them here. However, a few common types of yoga include:
Be prepared to sweat! In this yoga class, you’ll be performing your routine in a sauna-like room. The temperature typically reaches 105 degrees with 90% humidity. This heat helps your body burn more calories and be more flexible.
Breathe in, breathe out. This type of yoga is all about relaxation and flexibility. It is a good yoga for beginners because the focus is all on letting gravity do the work. If more intense yoga classes intimidate you, this could be a good starting place.
After a long week, restorative yoga is perfect for unwinding. With this yoga, you’ll be focused on holding a few poses for a long time. This helps your mind and body connect. Sometimes, your class will use pillows or blankets to improve the cozy factor.
While you might burn some fat during this routine (you are burning a few calories after all), you shouldn’t expect to see many physical results from this type of yoga. Still, it can be a great way to de-stress. Remember, mental health is important too!
In these classes, your movement is coordinated with your breath, so you feel like you flow from one position to the next. Over time, this can put a strain on your muscles. Ashtanga, power yoga and prana are all types of Vinyasa Yoga.
Vinyasa yoga workouts are great to use as strength training. Over time, these classes can help you burn calories and build muscle.
Yoga can build and tone your muscles. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. When you perform yoga exercises, muscles throughout your body are activated. Routines follow repetitive movements (if you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you know what I’m talking about!) that are at the core of what yoga is all about.
These movements can help calm you down and increase your flexibility. As you work your muscles, again and again, you build muscle. Power yoga works with muscle building especially well!
The muscles yoga helps develop are different than the muscles you’d build from traditional strength training. Because of the unique movements, you do in a yoga class, yoga targets most muscles in your body, including all of the little ones that are hard to get to with other exercise routines.
For example, let’s take a look at the classic downward dog. When you bend over to perform the exercise, your entire body, from your arms all the way down to the muscles surrounding your ankles, have to work to keep you from falling over.
As a result, many women find that yoga helps them create a toned, even look throughout their bodies.
If you are already fairly lean, you might want to see a tiny bit of muscle definition. Yoga can help highlight some of the natural muscles along your legs, abs, and arms.
Yoga doesn’t cause the appearance of bulky muscles in most people. In fact, a quick yoga before and after search shows women who are stronger, in super impressive positions (handstands, anyone?), and leaner than their before photos.
Lifting heavy weights does the opposite of this. When weight lifting, your muscles tear and repair. The tear and repair is what makes the muscles get bigger and bulkier.
Yoga can create the appearance of lean, toned muscles in your body like some other lower intensity resistance workouts. Yoga also helps with posture, and your increased flexibility will help you everytime you move. Incorporating yoga into your weekly workout routine can make your other exercises more effective!
However, for full transparency, I don’t want to act like yoga is a magical solution for everybody. Some women, depending on their body type, do find that yoga enhances their muscles (especially in their arms!) more than they would like.
If you don’t know your body type, you can take my quiz! It’s completely free and it will help you learn your body type in just two minutes :)
If you choose to do yoga, do it slowly and watch how it impacts your body. Only you can decide if yoga helps you create a lean body.
And if one of your fitness goals is to build lean muscles and get toned without getting bulky, you might really enjoy my 3 Steps to Lean Legs Program :)
It has a complete 8-week workout and nutrition plan that is adjusted to your body type so you can be sure you’re going to get the best possible results.
We’re all different and what works for your friend might not work very well for you. I know what it’s like to train hard and be disappointed with the outcome and I want you guys to be happy with your results :)
So I would advise you to learn your body type and decide on your fitness goals. That way you’ll be able to choose a program that will help you achieve those goals :)
Like any other form of physical exercise, yoga does burn calories! The number of calories burned will depend on the type of yoga you are doing, of course. However, yoga isn’t the most efficient way to burn fat.
For example, a person visiting an average yoga class will burn roughly 175 to 298 calories. However, somebody who walks for an hour will burn an average of 315 calories, according to the Mayo Class. Running burns almost twice that.
Yoga is better than nothing. If you hate walking and or running, yoga is a solid alternative. But don’t forget that cardio gives amazing results especially if you want to get lean legs.
Beyond burning calories, yoga can:
All of these this will assist your body in losing weight!
If you like yoga or want to try, I think it is a great addition to my Lean Legs Program.
Yoga has been a calming practice for me. It has increased my mental peace and physical flexibility!
However, everybody is different, and yoga might not be right for you. If you find yourself gaining more muscle than you’d like, try to stop doing yoga or do it less often.
Let me know what you think about yoga in the comments section!
Love Rachael Xx