Thought yoga was just for women? Think again. There are many different types of yoga, and the benefits far go beyond the physical.

YOGA FOR FLEXIBILITY

Through resistance training and weightlifting, your muscles contract and shorten. This shortening in the muscle may result in a limited range of motion. By incorporating yoga into your training, you allow your muscles to lengthen, creating ‘space’. With a dedicated practice, you will begin to notice an increase in your range of motion and flexibility. For a focus on de-stressing your body and releasing muscular tension, look for Yin or Restorative yoga classes to add to your regimen once or twice a week.

Try This: Forward Fold

The Muscle Man's Guide To Yoga For Flexibility & Strength

  • Stand up with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Inhale, lifting your arms straight above your head.
  • Bending from your hips, exhale as you fold your torso over your thighs.
  • Without bending your knees, reach your fingers to the ground, or your toes, or your shins.
  • Let your head hang heavy.

FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH THROUGH YOGA

The body awareness required to mindfully transition into a pose and hold it, requires controlled movement, which in turn teaches you how to control your muscles. Similar to calisthenics, yoga relies on the use of your own bodyweight.

The fluidity of a yoga flow makes it seem like a walk in the park, but like anything in life, it is what you make it to be. Floating from a forward fold into chaturanga – a low plank variation – requires strength and control. Although different yoga sequences will target different muscle groups, a bulk of it lies in the core. It takes strength, control, and focus to balance in any given pose.

Try This: Forward Fold To Chaturanga

The Muscle Man's Guide To Yoga For Flexibility & Strength

  • Start at your end position from the forward fold move.
  • Inhale and bend your knees so you are crouching down with your palms flat on the floor.
  • Exhale and walk your feet backwards until you are in a plank-like position.
  • Keep your core strong and your back straight as you hold the position.
  • Walk slowly forwards and uncurl your body back through the whole movement.
  • The final finishing position is your original starting point.

HOW TO PROGRESS IN YOGA

Progression in yoga asana (poses) can be measured by the length of time you can hold a pose, and through advancement into more complex variations of a pose (think assisted headstand to freestanding handstand). Try mixing up your routine by adding Vinyasa, Ashtanga, or Power classes to your workout week.

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