The benefits of mixing strength training and yoga are huge which you might already know, but you might not be entirely sure why. Like, what SPECIFICALLY will strength training DO for your yoga practice?
I wanted to share my own journey & experience with you to hopefully fill in some blanks about why this works and why you should do it.
The first time I ever joined a gym, I was 13-years-old. Yes, seriously! My mom joined our local gym and got the family plan so anyone 13+ could join her. I’d get on the stationary bike and watch her do the step aerobics classes in the group fitness room. This gym became my second home because my mom would go every day after work and I’d jump on the bike and read a book.
A few years later I got more adventurous and started trying the different classes like zumba, aerobics, spin, pilates and finally, yoga. That’s the class that introduced me to what would ultimately be my full-time job, but that’s a story for a different day 😉
Through college I also worked with a personal trainer to get more “fit” and compliment my yoga practice with something different. I learned SO much about my body and what works well, how to avoid injury, and how to balance strength training and yoga in my schedule. That college life eventually caught up with me and I couldn’t afford to keep working with him. But I kept working out on my own through school, into my finance job, and stopped once I started teaching yoga and building Bad Yogi full-time.
It was only a couple years ago that I picked it up again and joined a gym here in Nice. Once I got the balance between doing my yoga with the Bad Yogi Studio and PBYP AND fitting in time for the gym, I’ll never go back to living without either.
Changes I’ve Personally Noticed:
Sometimes I wonder if I’m living in a different body when doing yoga. I can flow through endless vinyasas, jump back and forth from forward fold to chaturanga, and hold those warrior poses for as long as I need to. It feels a thousand times easier than it did a year and a half ago and I’m blown away every time.
Yoga can help define your muscles, but strength training with weights has given me SO MUCH MORE! Yoga set a great foundation but strength training really brought enhanced everything.
Not to sound cheesy, but with everything feeling generally more toned, I just feel better. I feel stronger, I can run up the stairs without feeling like I’m going to collapse, I hiked 1,000 meters up a mountain without having to stop, and I just feel good about the fact that I’m taking care of myself the best I can.
Okay I won’t even try to pretend like I’m not vain! Yes, I love that I have a few lines in my abs now. I love that my quads are defined. I love that my butt looks like the peach emoji, lol!
– Yoga feels easier.
Let me give you a specific example: when I filmed the first PBYP, I had literally just started working out and doing yoga regularly again since moving to France. Filming those classes felt HARD. I felt good, but it felt like a really big challenge for me to film multiple classes day after day. When we filmed PBYP Resolution, I seriously felt like a different person. I felt challenged, but not worn. The habit of combining strength training and yoga really prepared me for such a heavy filming schedule and I’m so so grateful for it.
– My posture is better.
Here’s another specific example: I focused on strengthening the anterior chain which corrected my ribcage flaring out, got rid of that lower belly pooch, and helped me stand taller in my daily life. I walk better and I look better in pictures and yes I’m vain but this is just the truth! 😉
– My injuries are better.
Anytime we stick to one activity, we can easily acquire little injuries from overuse or imbalances from not strengthening the areas we typically focus only on stretching. My recurring shoulder injury has come up fewer times than ever before and the few times it has, has been so mild I’m barely affected by it. This is MASSIVE progress in my book!
If you only do yoga and that’s your go-to, it’s not like you’re doing anything wrong. If you love what you’re doing and you feel great in your body, then keep doing what you’re doing! But I know some of us feel like we need or want something to add to our yoga practice, and I think strength training for yogis is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Over to you! Do you do anything else besides yoga? Do you strength train with weights? What’s been your experience?
PS: If you’re curious about how to even start incorporating this into your practice, stay tuned. I’ll have some specific tips for you verrrrrry soon. You’re gonna love it 😉