Yoga + Strength training


#1

I am 29 yr old fairly fit guy who has recently taken up Ashtanga Yoga.

Previous to doing Yoga i lifted weights three times a week (not huge amounts of weight I’m a fairly slim athletic build)

I find now that the weight lifting interferes with my Yoga as my muscles haven’t recovered enough so i stopped lifting a few weeks ago. Does anyone else have this problem?

What i have begun to do instead is to do some simple body weight exercises a few times a week after my Yoga practice to maintain strength.

A guy i know ( not a Yoga guy) recommended Hindu Squats and Hindu Push ups. (i think there real names are Dands and Betheks or something like that) They are conditioning exercises Indian Wrestlers used u can find descriptions of them on google. The push ups are basically a version of two yoga moves.

Has anyone done these regularly on top of their yoga practice? I’m wondering how useful they are.

thanks

  • Blaze

#2

Useful to what ?

Physical strenght is good, it enables work, gives self confidence, provides good health. I am sure hatha yoga practice is able to give the necessary strenght for the spiritual aspirant.
If you are an athlete, than your strenght training should be designed for the specific goals you follow, and while yoga is good for balancing your body, it will not be able to fully support a very physical lifestyle. It is not it’s purpose, yoga practice usually is “designed” with other goals in mind. In fact, there are recomendations in the sutras against heavy exertion.

Still there are very muscular yogis. Yoga does not change you, if you are athletic you won’t become skinny, if you are skinny you won’t become athletic, if you are big boned, you won’t become a skeleton. It just lets the body blossom to what it has meant to be.


#3

Maybe my post was a bit unclear. I am aware of the benefits / limitations of Yoga in terms of gaining strength.

I was posting about how people integrate / balance doing Yoga AND other strength training activities. As i have found weights and yoga hard to balance and was curious as to how other people balanced the two activities.

In terms of usefulness I was referring to the usefulness of Hindu Squats / Pushups as a general strength conditioner for the body not for Yoga specifically. The reason why i posted about those two body conditioning exercises specifically is that they both have roots in Yoga movements and I thought there might be a fair few Yoga people who threw them in before or after their Yoga practice.

As to why - just for general body conditioning and strength not for any specific sport.

Rereading my original post it is kind of unclear i hope that makes what i was asking a bit more clear! :slight_smile:

and thanks for replying


#4

i also practice ashtanga and recently took about 3 weeks off (due to work-related travel). however, i picked up abdominal workouts daily. i also found that trying to do abs and ashtanga in the same day/same time didn’t mesh very well.

from the ashtanga teachers i’ve practiced with, they say that you will develop/maintain the muscle just by doing the practice (daily i assume). but my practice isn’t really complete because i don’t have the strength to do some of the lifts so i’m now trying to integrate abs and arms again into my daily practice.

what i’ve found is that if i do abs in the am then the primary sequence in the pm that seems to work- essentially separating the practices by time and space. because you’re right, one can/does interfere with the other.


#5

[quote=Blazeyoga;6266]Maybe my post was a bit unclear. I am aware of the benefits / limitations of Yoga in terms of gaining strength.

Rereading my original post it is kind of unclear i hope that makes what i was asking a bit more clear! :slight_smile:

and thanks for replying[/quote]

I am the one who, though I understood your question, answered with the righteous bullcrap of a zealot. I am sorry.

I did weight training, too. I find serious weight training and serious asana practice hardly compatible. Weight training is about stressing the muscles to their limit, than leaving time just about to recover, than reapeat the process. Where does asana practice fit in here ? Because if you do it while recovering, you hamper the healing of the muscles. If you do yoga after the recovery time, your weight training will suffer, because the delay betwen workouts. By suffer I mean you’ll get less results in time as others who focus only on weight training.
One must make up his mind. But the change must not be sudden. I understand you do Asthanga yoga. I think it will be more than enough to keep you fit.

I myself do pushups and pullups, but only once a week, without trying to accomplish muscle or strenght development, just as maintenance, because my home asana practice is focused on the lower body for now.


#6

Yoga will keep you lean and cut, but it will not make you big. I find that all other activities affect my yoga in a negative way, so I have stopped. I also just started doing ashtanga (was doing vinyasa flow) and its a very vigorous workout, so you won’t have to worry about muscle loss…that’s for sure.


#7

Hello Blaze,

interetsing path this thread has taken eh?

In a full, general yoga practice {sidebar: please know my definition of yoga is not synonymous with asana but for this thread we are clearly talking about asana} I do not see a need for hindu squats and pushups. The question I would want answered would be:

“What do these two things do for you biomechanically/anatomically and how/why was that not addressed in the asana practice?”

The first “event” is simple hip flexion and extension.
The second “event” is quite similar to the action moving from Adho Mukha Svanasana to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana via Phalankasana or Chaturanga Dandasana.

So these things might be great for combat preparation but seem, based on the above, unecessary in the presence of a robust asana (yoga ) practice.

As far as integrating Asana (yoga) with other things I don’t find an issue there. I do go to the gym. When I go I usually row and I do so with a certain posture and form and breath so I am squeezing as much “yoga” out of it as I can. The rest of what I do is in integrity with my practice: some aided twisting, some hanging, some backbends. The action typically not built in to asana practice is this latisimuss dorsi rowing action or door-handle pullling. And those of us with wall rope systems in our studios are even finding ways to add that to asana. I don’t believe there’s a way this is incorporated into many of the other practices.

If you find weight training to inhibit your yoga practice it may simply be how you are weight training. Though I frankly do not advocate it since weight training seems to strengthen while shortening.

If it is running you want to do then I advise really working hip adduction, abduction, internal and external rotation in the asana practice for proper balance of the body.

I do hope we will all effort to keep in mind that every asana practice is not OUR asana practice. For this very reason I use care with statments that might be perceived as absolutes. Just as we are ALL not sitting around in a cave neither are we all using a towel to mop up the sweat from our brow.


#8

Some great and thought provoking responses. My weight training was the same as your’s Hubert - i found it interfered too much.

To be honest I’ve never really enjoyed lifting weights anyway. I understand Yoga will not give me big muscles, I’m not after big muscles. But i enjoy having at least a base level of functional strength. After reading Innerathlete’s post I think what I am concerned with is the parts of my body a rigorous Yoga practice will not work out. So i can use some supplementary exercises.

I’m interested in what specifically you add to your routine Innerathlete. Just some hangs, Pull ups and rows?

Just to be clear i know Asana’s are only a small part of Yoga, i very much enjoy the meditative aspects of the system and find the Philosophy fascinating. I am an Aboriginal person from Australia and we have our own system of spirituality and i’m finding many areas of congruence between the two systems.


#9

Blaze,

more specifically it depends on my body that day.
I rarely do what others are doing. But I think that’s been the case for decades and I’m simply biding my time until the Mother Ship comes and it’s time for me to go back.

After rowing I typically hang in Adho Mukha with a yoga belt at the top of the femurs.

You know what…I tried writing all this out. PM me if you want me to go into it so I don’t take up vital space here on the board with drivvle.


#10

This may well be heresy, but I haven’t practiced yoga in over 20 years and am only now getting back into it.

What I have been doing for the past decade is mixing a lot of different exercises–aerobic, weights, calisthenics, martial arts–and you’re absolutely right, that if you do heavy weights one day, running the next day sucks. If you run a lot one day, stretching out the next day sucks. The only way the guys I trained with found to make it all work together was to do it all in one workout–so my recommendation to you is to try a bit of yoga, then a set of weights, then more yoga, then more weights.

You may end up doing less yoga than you had planned, and less weight training, and you may not get as much of the overall health benefit from the yoga or as much bodybuilding from the weights, but I think you’ll find that overall, you will feel better, and look better, and the day after a workout will really suck.

Do not do this every day.


#11

I can definately relate to your experience Blaze, except that when I was weight training, I loved it, was addicted to it. I started doing Yoga and found the lifting was interfering with the Yoga. I decided to take a break from the weights and I’ve never gone back to them. I too am fairly slender, 5’10, 160 lbs. I do Yoga about 5 times a week, hour to hour and a half at a time and jog about every fifth day and most people look at me and still assume I must do some sort of weight training but the switch cost me about 25 lbs in weight, of which I don’t miss.


#12

Yoga should compliment your weight routine. Yoga is about stretching and fluid movement. This is something that pro athletes have found to work wonders when used in combination with weights.


#13

As an FYI only…

From a look in through the classical Yoga perspective it is not at all about stretching and fluid movement. Factually speaking none of the great yogis of the past did any asana at all. Asana was frowned upon as an ego pursuit and was not entertained, it was shunned.

Even a look at the Sutras indicates there isn’t anything about yoga that remotely indicates stretching and movement. There’s only one sutra that mentions asana at all and that sutra, depending on ones interpretation indicates one should be still, not move.

If one applys the ashtanga path of Patanjali the purpose of asana is to prepare the body for pranayama. Pranayama is to facilitate sense withdrawl or praatyahara. This alllows the practitioner to focus the awareness (Dharana) and so on.


#14

[quote=InnerAthlete;6424]As an FYI only…

From a look in through the classical Yoga perspective [I]it[/I] is not at all about stretching and fluid movement. Factually speaking none of the great yogis of the past did any asana at all. Asana was frowned upon as an ego pursuit and was not entertained, it was shunned.

Even a look at the Sutras indicates there isn’t anything about yoga that remotely indicates stretching and movement. There’s only one sutra that mentions asana at all and that sutra, depending on ones interpretation indicates one should be still, not move.

If one applys the ashtanga path of Patanjali the purpose of asana is to prepare the body for pranayama. Pranayama is to facilitate sense withdrawl or praatyahara. This alllows the practitioner to focus the awareness (Dharana) and so on.[/quote]

Word to the Mother.


#15

I would like to use yoga to build muscle and strength, and I would like to get some advice on how to incorporate yoga in with a gym workout schedule (i.e. there is always some part of my body that is sore from lifting weights, depending on what day it is. Should I do yoga that works sore body parts, or should I avoid those poses and let that part rest?).

Thanks!


#16

Just do what I do.

Warm ups and dynamic stretching (swinging arms and legs around)
Then the strength excersises (neck, abs, back, push ups, pull ups or curls) I do a ton of ab reps and 1 set for push ups and biceps.
Then I do upper body stretches and hold for 20-30 seconds.
Run for about 2 miles
Then I do yoga stretches for my midsection, back, and legs.

That’s been working out great for me. I’ve always stretched after workouts before but just like 10 seconds and that comprehensive. Now I’m doing a lot more stretches for more body parts and for a lot longer. Recovery is better, I feel good, and I’ve been losing fat a little faster.


#17

[quote=yobabones;6676]I would like to use yoga to build muscle and strength, and I would like to get some advice on how to incorporate yoga in with a gym workout schedule (i.e. there is always some part of my body that is sore from lifting weights, depending on what day it is. Should I do yoga that works sore body parts, or should I avoid those poses and let that part rest?).

Thanks![/quote]
Sore body parts are exactly why I had to stop lifting weights in exchange for doing Yoga. Doing something as basic as down dog is hard if either your arms or shoulders are stiff and sore. Not to mention how difficult any or all of the twisting variations are if your back is tight.


#18

In other words, you didn’t end up finding a way to merge the two schedules together in such a way that your body could heal from the weight lifting while still being able to do yoga at least twice a week? I have to admit, that wasn’t the answer I was hoping for lol… but I don’t know if I would choose yoga over weight training. That is something I’m going to have to think about, as I was hoping to find a way to do both.


#19

Well I’m sure there are people, even professional athletes who are able to merge the two but my goal was never to do Yoga twice a week. I might have been able to manage that in some way. For me it got to the point where I wanted to do Yoga more often. I wanted to see better results as well as enjoy it more. The only way I saw that to be possible was to stop weight training.


#20

I think I understand why you want to do weight training. But why do yoga ?