Yoga Builds Muscle


Yoga is great for flexibility and minimizing stress – but can it help build muscle?

The ability to build muscle depends on a number of factors, not the least of which are:

– Genetics

– Nutrition

– Rest/ Sleep

– Exercise

Yoga is a workout in itself – effectively body weight/balance work : push-ups, squats, sit-ups, lunges, handstands, headstands, stretches. If you think that yoga sounds easy – do an one hour yoga class then we can talk. I’m not against gym work (I do it and enjoy it), but things like yoga and even simply walking can enhance the effect and help burn body fat and promote muscle.

Building muscle can be hard, but maintaining a good base is relatively easy – both building and maintaining are made easier with lower stress hormones (eg  Cortisol).

So what has happened to me after several months of yoga? (male – already long term eating well and going to the gym, with reasonable starting base):

– Increased bulk (lean)

– Increased flexibility

– More balanced : now can do headstands and handstands

– Stronger legs

– Less stressed and happier

– Sleep better

How much of it can purely attributed to Yoga? : I’m not sure.

How much of it is placebo effect? (a real phenomenon) : I’m not sure

Though nothing works alone – everything works part of a system (eg weightlifting alone, won’t yield much if nutrition is poor, stress is high, sleep is bad and you’re not happy).

Perhaps if Yoga is part of your routine, you might find muscle is added and other aspects of your life improve.

Any thoughts on this : Does yoga promote muscle?







5 thoughts on “Yoga Builds Muscle

    • That “toning” is MUSCLE tone (and lower body fat) – right? 🙂
      Looking at your website pics – your lifestyle is working for you.

      I guess the post is more directed at males (higher testosterone is key), as even women lifting weights can’t put on muscle like men.

      Yoga is often seen as a ‘soft option’ for men – but I’d argue that.

      Note : I do eat a lot of natural foods that feeds the whole process (including a lot of natural fats and protein… whole eggs and butter)

  1. I’ve been doing a minimum of 1 and sometimes 2 yoga classes per week for the past 2 years (I’m 51) and would say that it has made my muscles leaner and firmer as opposed to bigger. I’m not bulky be any means but I find the classes (90 minutes each) combine a great workout with great relaxation. I’m hooked!

    • Oh OK, I’m hooked too – I’m still wondering why (it’s just exercise – right ?)

      Lately I’ve been doing 4 to 5 days a week – I’m leaner too (though I was lean to start with). I usually push myself to the higher levels of the poses (stupidly??). I normally also eat big and skip breakfast (morning meal) – a short, sharp gym session with yoga and I’ve added 2kg (about 4.5 pound in weight).

      Great to hear you’re enjoying it.
      Thanks for commenting.

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