Does Yoga Build Muscle?

June 25, 2022
Does Yoga Build Muscle


Can Yoga Build Muscle? Exploring the Strength Training Benefits Yoga May Provide

You want to be lean and strong.

You already know that yoga can help improve your flexibility, coordination, and even your mood.

But you want to be stronger too, and you’ve got questions:

• Does yoga make you stronger?
• Can yoga tone your body?

We get it. The benefits of yoga are attractive — but muscular strength isn’t the first thing you think of when you picture a yogi.

The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice muscles for flexibility and mental health. We’ll answer your questions and more as you learn the many benefits of yoga for building muscle and functional strength.

Table of Contents

Does Yoga Build Muscle?
How Does Yoga Build Muscle?
7 Possible Benefits of Building Muscle Through the Practice of Yoga
Can Yoga Replace ‘Traditional’ Strength Training?
How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle With Yoga?
Build Muscle the Holistic Way With Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi

Does Yoga Build Muscle?

Yes, yoga is a popular practice to help build muscle. Yoga practice particularly focuses on building internal, lean muscle. Yoga has the potential to increase fat loss, develop muscle tone, and build flexibility — leading to a more lean body. It can help increase strength in many of your muscle groups.

At Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi, we believe that different mindful and breathing techniques used with yoga can help our bodies and minds create…

• Strength
• Power
• Endurance; and
• A sense of peace

…within ourselves, as we also build lean muscle.

How Does Yoga Build Muscle?

Unlike weightlifting, which isolates single muscle groups to target, yoga uses your body weight to provide balanced muscle building through multiple areas of the body at once.

Through lifting your body weight, you may even discover muscles you didn’t know you had.

Yoga can be particularly beneficial for your back muscles. Many yoga poses depend on the flexibility and strength of your spine. The twisting movements work to elongate your spine, causing the muscles around your spine to have an increased blood flow — leading to growth.

Visible ‘Bulk’ vs. Internal Strength

Concentrated weight training contributes to the bulky look of muscles.

However, yoga contributes more toward strengthening smaller groups of…

• Muscles
• Connective tissues; and

…leading to many of the benefits outlined below.

7 Possible Benefits of Building Muscle Through the Practice of Yoga

Building internal, lean muscle is important whether you also want to build external muscles or not.

When you increase your lean muscle mass, you may decrease your risk of injury to ligaments and tendons. You can improve your posture while strengthening your core and back muscles.

As we age, the benefits of building lean muscle might be even more important to protect our bones through increased bone density and strength.

Keep reading for a deeper understanding of the importance of building lean muscle through yoga.

#1: A Strong Core

It is well known that as we get older, our balance and flexibility can begin to diminish. Strengthening the internal muscles around your core can improve these.

Core strength is critical for everything from sitting up in your bed to leaning over to pick up something from the floor.

The abdominal exercises key to the Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi practice (such as Dahn Jon tapping) not only work your muscles, they build up the internal energy stores you need to get through your daily routines or additional workouts.

#2: Improved Functional Strength

Functional strength is the strength required for you to perform activities in everyday life.

Activities such as…

• Picking up a child
• Standing from a sitting position
• Reaching for an object
• Squatting down; and
• Hauling in groceries

…are made simpler through functional strength training.

Yoga is one of the best examples of functional strength training as many poses are based on our natural movements and use bodyweight as resistance to build lean muscle in your body.

#3: Increased Flexibility

If you spend a lot of time weightlifting, you may be strong — but you may struggle with flexibility. This is because you aren’t giving attention to working your internal muscles.

Much of our tension and inflexibility comes from our joints. It’s hard to do the things you want to do – inside or outside of the gym – if your body’s slowing you down.

Through yoga, you can focus on rotating your joints to loosen up both your body and your mind, improving circulation and muscle stiffness, so you can strive for all your fitness goals.

#4: Better Posture

If you’re working larger muscles through weight lifting only, you could be putting yourself at risk for injury.

It’s one thing to have great-looking muscles. But if you are hunched forward while showing off your guns from poor posture, you’re doing yourself and your body a disservice. This happens when opposing muscle groups in the back are ignored.

Through yoga, you can become stronger and more flexibleleading to better posture. Poses that open the chest and shoulder combined with core strengthening exercises that build lean, internal muscles are key to improving your posture.

#5: Improved Balance

Yoga helps improve your body’s overall balance with:

• Focus
• Movement; and
• Coordination

Improving your balance can significantly improve your physical ability as you work toward building muscle and a leaner body.

#6: Comprehensive Muscle Development

Yoga is a full-body focus instead of isolating specific large muscle groups.

Yoga works to tone muscles all over your body (inside and out) — creating balance within the body.

#7: Injury Prevention

The more flexible you are through yoga practice, the better equipped you’ll be to move through your days without injury — whether you’re going about your daily routines or pumping iron in the gym.

Yoga focuses on both the mind and the body — building both internal and external strength. This gives yoga practice the potential to address both the physical and the nonphysical aspects of an injury.

Balance like that learned through yoga has been shown to reduce the risk of injury in athletes as it advances an athlete’s “proprioception.” This is simply the awareness of the body and how it moves through space.

If an injury does occur, higher cortisol levels can inhibit injury recovery. Yoga has also been known to reduce cortisol levels in the body, aiding in recovery.

Can Yoga Replace ‘Traditional’ Strength Training?

What are your goals?

If your primary goal is to build muscle and look “buff” or “ripped,” then yoga alone might not be the answer for you.

If your main goal is to have more internal strength that can help your posture and flexibility, then building leaner muscles with yoga is for you.

Ideally, Your Regimen for Well-Being Should Be Well-Rounded

There’s no rule against having both bulk and internal strength. You can have your cake and eat it, too.

They go together like peanut butter and jelly — yoga and strength training can complement each other well. For gym rats (or even sports enthusiasts), yoga has benefits beyond internal strength.

Practicing yoga along with your strength training helps ease your mind, teaches you to learn to listen to your body, and allows you to focus better on your breathing. This can help you push and pull more weight.

Combining yoga with traditional strength exercises or sports can help:

• Reduce your risk of injury
• Provide greater range of motion
• Reduce soreness
• Help you feel in tune with your body as you workout

How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle With Yoga?

How long it takes to build muscle with yoga varies and will entirely depend on:

• The type of yoga you’re doing
• How often you participate in yoga sessions
• How committed you are to the overall process

Build Muscle the Holistic Way With Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi

Are you ready to take a holistic approach to your health and wellbeing? Ready to get your own “yoga muscles”?

Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi is unlike common forms of yoga from India. It’s based on East Asian energy principles and the idea that the brain is the command center for the body and its energy system.

Rather than focusing on a series of poses, we use…

• Energy meridian stretching and rotation,
• Vibration and breathing exercises, and
• Energy meditations

…to awaken your ability to feel your own energy.

You’ll learn to use this energy to affect your body and brain to help improve your mindset, habits, and physical wellness — including having a stronger body with healthy, lean muscles.

With support from a yoga center community, practice becomes:

• Easier
• More consistent; and
• More fun

Sign up for an introductory yoga class online or at one of the many locations nationwide where Body & Brain training is available.