Yoga body vs weight lifting body


I am having somewhat of a dilemma right now which I hope people here can resolve. I want to be more heathy, toned, and fitter, and to do this I am thinking of doing primarily weight lifting with some cardio. However, I understand that weight lifting develops your body in a way whereby your muscles contract and become bigger, but limit your flexibility. On the other hand, Yoga lengthens your muscle and increases flexiblity and coordination with the rest of the body.

This is a bit too abstract for me though, I learn better with pictures. Could you please show me through actual pictures of the kind of body that one develops using Yoga vs weight lighting. It is understood that everybody has a different body type, genetics etc, but I will at least get a general idea of which body I want to develop.

It might help you to know some stats about me. I am 6’3 and 80kg, with a bodyfat of about 20%. I am naturally thin, have a fast metabolism, and find it very hard to put on muscle. I tend to put on fat in the midsection quite easiy though(which sucks!) I am also vegetarian. Some say that I should put on a stone more in weight.

Using care so as not to come across as telling you specifically what to do…

Weight lifting addresses the external body. Yoga is not designed to affect the external body however an asana practice, which is a sliver of the larger tree of yoga, can have some effect on the eternal body but that is a by-product or secondary function, not a primary function of the practice.

While there is a segment of society that uses the phrase “yoga body” and there are clearly some practitioners who have a practice specifically for muscle tone, tight buns, and a nice look in lululemon, for the external body, functional strength training is likely the best choice.

And since asana practice varies greatly there could not possibly be “A” yoga body but rather many. And frankly the view of a yoga student should be a view that pierces well beyond the outer suit.

Thanks, I am aware that Yoga is more than just a work out for the body. However, the body is just as important as the later stages. At this stage I think my body is definitely very wanting and I want to be more physically healthy and obviously more asthestically pleasing.

Now, my confusion is what is the best approach towards this goal: Yoga asanas, weight lifting and cardio or a combination of both. It woud really helpful to see what a Yoga trained body looks like, so I can compare and contrast and decide which kind of body I want to transform into. It’s a simple and legitimate query I think.

Here is a yogi body

here is another one
just do a google search on Yogi body and you can see many varieties

asanas, weights, and cardio in a balanced manner makes sense, but I cant tell you the best approach for you, well I could but that dont mean i would be right.

I’ve seen funny video on youtube which you may find interesting:

If we are just discussing the outer, then it depends on entirely on what kind of body YOU want. I’m not a body builder by ANY means, but I’ve always appreciated it as another art form, such as painting, writing, sculpture (especially), and it is doubly true if one looks at the body as a sort of creative blank slate.

What are your personal goals-emotionally, spiritually, physically, mentally in conjunction with your workout (if any, some, most or all of the above)? That will determine what your route should be. Remember, even if you take Ronnie Coleman’s (noted bodybuilder—an 8-time Mr. Olympia) workout and diet plan, you are not guaranteed to look like Ronnie Coleman. Your body is different from anyone else’s so how you shape it is the creative part–what, when, how you eat/drink/sleep/workout/play. Those are huge factors. So figure it out what it is that YOU want out of a workout regimen, and let that be your guiding light.

And Pawel, that video is funny! But I wonder if he was really on steroids or was the videographer just making assumptions? If it’s true, what a shame to further the stereotype that all bodybuilders use steroids. Bah

I’ve trained some before but I came to the conclusion that it is best and easiest to maintain your “normal” body (without excessive weight or muscles), but still fit of course. I do have a quite normal body now and no desire to add more muscles.

One reply on that video was quite to the spot:

[I]“The crucial difference between the two disciplines is this: bodybuilding is a finite endeavor, yoga is for a lifetime. Bodybuilding is high-maintenance, dependent on access to external substances and equipment, all obsolescence-prone. There will definitely be a tipping point where the body will begin to dissipate regardless of effort. The desire for added, unnecessary weight forced onto the body against its natural blueprint is bound to backfire. Yoga culture is in terms of itself.”[/I]

Ok, that is my opinions :slight_smile: if you wanna build some, then do it. But not to much, I think one will regret that later.

I’ve seen more actual strength displayed by those who’ve honed a yoga practice than the most ‘built up’ weight-lifters. While weights can definitely tone and reshape your body, yoga seems to get the body working together as a whole instead of tweaking isolated parts. In my own experience, weight lifting seemed to be driven by, and create, a more tense and constricted impulse and result; yoga seem to demand that I relax and let go first, then develop a strength, tone and appearance that I appreciated because of how it felt, looked and functioned. Perhaps you can find a balance between the two that really fits for you - good luck! :slight_smile:

I definitey prefer the Yoga body in the above video. I was also checking out videos of the yoga asana championships and was really impressed with what I saw. I think I would definitely prefer to build a body that is natural, fit and strong. Now the only problem I can forsee is that Yoga asanas take a very long time to give benefits and develop muscle, and as I naturally find it very hard to put on muscle and need to gain more weight to fit my ecotomorphic frame and height, I should perhaps consider doing weight lifting and bulking up in conjunction with Yoga asanas. Then later when I have a decent size make Yoga asana my primary exercise.

Is this advisable?

Ok, that is my opinions :slight_smile: if you wanna build some, then do it. But not to much, I think one will regret that later.

You have a good body. Do you do only Yoga or do you do weight lifting and/or other exercise?

[QUOTE=Surya Deva;32065]You have a good body. Do you do only Yoga or do you do weight lifting and/or other exercise?[/QUOTE]Thanks. Well, I use to train martial arts. But not anymore. I do yoga and bicycling now. Actually I have to be careful for the “middle section” also :slight_smile: difficult, but I have to eat more correct as a first step I think.

Weight lifting will give you faster results, I guess.

I did weight training for 10 years; now I’ve moved on to yoga practice (asana practice so far; total beginner).

In my opinion, whatever you do, it should be
a) fun for you – I know people who hate weight lifting; I personally loved it. I found working through my routines, focussing on my body and my breath, very calming and gave me peace of mind. Others find it simply boring…
b) under the supervision of an experienced, knowledgable teacher. You can do great damage to your body by wrongly executed weight lifting and asana practice.

Of course you could also combine the two practices, if you like; but it’s important not to overdo it. If you’re exhausted, it’s very hard to listen to your body and to maintain correct alignment (important, again, in both practices). Also, your muscels need to rest in order to grow.

Good luck :slight_smile:

Remember, there is a difference between bodybuilding and weightlifting. It takes more than training with dumbbells and cable machines to achieve the body that was seen in that video. Training with weights does not ensure a body builder’s frame.

Just came across an article in the newspaper about Kettlebells. They are supposed to be quite good exercise for a normal fit body, check this out: (that guy trains quite much though)

From what I know, training with kettlebells involve several groups of muscle in the whole body, where as many exercises with normal dumbbells address isolated muscles.
The risk of injury with kettlebells is pretty high, since they’re way more difficult to use.

(sorry for wandering off into a not-so yoga-related topic)

Surya Deva, though its allright now, later combining yoga and weightlifting may be like trying to move in different directions simultaneously. Gaining bulk is hard or ectomorphic body. It gets quickly lost after lightening diet or reducing intensity of trainings. There are some asanas that charge your muscles enough. If they dont - you may include some hard body weight exercices - push-ups, pull-ups etc.
Trainings should be natural.

I say go to a gym and look at the body types then go to a yoga class and look at the body types. Do that at a few places and you’ll get a good idea. Personally I like having the shape and strenght of a natural equilibrated bodybuilder but with the posture, flexibility and endurance of a yogi. Thats why I do both.

It wasn’t always like that though. I have been weight lifting for over 20 years now and been doing yoga for about 5. In my first 15 years of weight lifting I was the typical meat head that never stretched and was pushing as heavy as I could. My posture was awful. My body was soar all the time and my body was as flexible as a 2x4. I’m great-full that I had at least the common sense to develop my legs and not just my biceps. You’ll see a lot of those monkey like people in a gym, big biceps with no legs. However most yogi’s will be more equilibrated.

There was a lot of trial and errors during my adaptation from lifting weights only to doing both. There was also a period where I only did yoga, but I felt I was missing something. The main challenge the first few years was to get the knowledge about yoga from people who never lifted weight and gaining the endurance to do both. Re-learning how to lift weight while keeping energy for yoga. Putting the ego aside, being willing to put some brut force aside for endurance and flexibility. Contracting and stretching may work against each other if your looking at being at one extremity. However they can be in harmony if you do both in an equilibrated manner.

So coming from my point of view, I suggest you do both. You obviously care about your physical appearance or else you would not be asking this. Your challenge will be to find your equilibrium. How much muscles do you want? how much flexibility do you want? What is your current physical condition and how old are you? If your 15 and full of hormones than feel free to go all out on both but what ever you do never skip stretching after lifting weight. Thats the piece of advice I would give myself if I could move back in time.

Weight training is very vague. Are we talking specifically in barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight? All of the above? I think the term is frequently considered to mean “strength training” (getting stronger, which would meet your “toned” description of your goal) or “bodybuilding” (big bulky muscles). All of the above methods can be used towards the same goals, and all use a variety of isolation and compound (usually full body) movements.

Yoga is not very useful for bodybuilding but as strength training, is most similar to isometric bodyweight training. Which just means static holds in various positions using only your bodyweight and leverage to provide resistance. This can be very effective and is capable of getting the results you’re after.

I do believe that the culture surrounding weight lifting (which I’m far more involved with than yoga) is less healthy. Gaining more muscle mass than is healthy, eating enormous quantities of food chosen usually just for high protein quantities (guzzling several litres of milk per day, for example), building muscular strength faster than tendon strength can keep up with and the drugs (steroids) that are relatively commonplace. It is a perfectly fine method of training one’s body, it does however require you to follow an intelligent sense of direction.
Yoga however can be… soft. Some yoga practitioners are physically truly phenomenal, and mentally/spiritually they can be even more impressive. Most however are not, it is not a culture that demands intensity or consistent progress, it is decidedly not competetive and you really have to decide on your own how dedicated you are going to be, you will not be pushed as hard.

Keep in mind also that regardless of what method of physical training you use, the single greatest contributor to your body (in appearance and functionality) is your diet rather than your exercise. This is very often greatly underestimated.

I hope all of this has been helpful. :slight_smile:

I think it’s interesting with body types (and personalities). David Swenson is a great yoga icon for me. He has been practising yoga since 1969 when he was 13 years old, he is now 54 years old and have quite nice body I think, if you could say that as a guy :slight_smile:

[QUOTE=Danny;32232]I think it’s interesting with body types (and personalities). David Swenson is a great yoga icon for me. He has been practising yoga since 1969 when he was 13 years old, he is now 54 years old and have quite nice body I think, if you could say that as a guy :slight_smile:

Amazing, he definitely has a nice body. If I can have a body like him at 50 I would be be very proud.