When it comes to strength and power training, the first thing that comes to mind – building muscles with weights and dumbbells or a rigorous workout at the gym. While these ironclad gym workouts definitely help, it is not the only route to strength or power.

Why not take refuge in our own Indian exercise system of Yoga? While many connect Yoga to better flexibility and relaxation, its benefits don’t stop there. It follows a well-rounded approach and is designed to provide strength to your muscles by working out every part of your body.

So, the next time someone tells you that you have to combine Yoga with other strength or power workouts like running, weight-lifting, rethink it. Yoga on its own has the potential to perform double duty in your fitness program. Here’s how:

Yoga Improves Aerobic Function and Lung Capacity

Exercises done to improve lung capacity is the best form of fitness. Since the lungs tend to get weaker as you age, exercises that make you modestly out of breath are essential. While doing Yoga, you are always working out your Lungs and Heart.

While you exercise, the lungs have to work hard to use more oxygen and the heart speeds up blood circulation to take the oxygen to the muscles so that they can keep moving. As you perform exercises to maximize your lung capacity, your lungs stay healthy and build a large breathing reserve.

The breathe in and breathe out the momentum of Yoga will exactly help you achieve this purpose by increasing the lung function. As the lung and heart function improves, you would have better stamina.

Yoga is All-Inclusive with Four Components

Part of the reason why Yoga has such broad benefits is that it emphasizes on four components:

1. Postures or Asanas

 These are the standing, sitting, supine and other various positions. Sometimes, you have to hold the poses and others require you to move rapidly from one pose to another. These poses help to build strength endurance and flexibility over time.

Without any equipment, the repetition of these poses is one of the simplest ways of building strength in your muscles. For instance, the Yoga style of Surya Namaskar is one such sequence of poses that is equivalent to a cardio workout when done in the right manner.

2. Breathing/ Pranayama 

The most common breathing patterns in Yoga are slow and rhythmic. And, this activates the nervous system, thereby promoting a balanced and relaxed state of mind. Your lungs, heart, and muscles all work in tandem to reinforce a healthy working system of your body and mind.

3. Deep Relaxation 

After you build strength to your muscles, it is also important to relax them at the end. Yoga includes a common muscle relaxation technique that sequentially and completely relaxes various muscle groups throughout the body. With deep relaxation to your body and mind, you have increased energy and focus.

4. Meditation 

Focusing on your emotional health, meditation is generally practiced at the end of the Yoga session. It helps to improve balance, cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory fitness, ability to concentrate and build endurance.

To know more about the health benefits of  Yoga read Top 8 benefits of Yoga

Yoga Involves the Use of Your Own Body Weight

Rather than relying on gym equipment for bodybuilding and strength, you can achieve the same results by using your own body weight with various Yoga Asanas. You can improve muscle, tendon and ligament strength and postural support. Practice coming in and out of yoga postures in repetition to strengthen the muscle throughout its full range of motion.

Yoga Counts as a Cardio Workout

According to a research from the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, yoga can greatly decrease the risk of Cardiovascular Diseases. Since it performs similar to the effects of cardio activities like sprinting and walking, a fast-paced Yoga session definitely qualifies as an effective Cardio exercise.

The study also revealed that Yoga decreased risks associated with metabolic syndromes like obesity, cholesterol, and high blood pressure. To get a cardiac benefit from your own Yoga practice weave in 20 minutes of Sun Salutation or Surya Namaskar or other vigorous flowing posture movements.

Who says you cannot break a sweat with Yoga? Yoga helps a great deal to increase your strength and muscle endurance to levels beyond your imagination. It not only gets your heart pumping and lungs breathing but also quiets the mind and body in order to experience the best sense of well being.

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