Why I Incorporate Yoga Into Weight Training
When I first started working out, I wanted to build muscle! And that meant a lot of weight lifting, maybe 10 minutes of cardio, and almost nothing else. I stretched a little bit after each session, but they were never deep stretches. After almost a year, I felt pretty stiff. I was slowly losing my flexibility (not that I was very flexible to begin with), and I was getting worried! Then I found yoga.
A long time ago, I thought of yoga as something girls did when they didn't truly want to work out. Yoga didn't burn the calories I wanted, and it didn't build the muscle I wanted either (spoiler alert: I was wrong).
My first few times doing yoga, I had just worked out my full body. I was immediately more relaxed, less stiff, and my muscles didn't hurt as much. It felt like I went through a body rehab. I was also sore in muscles I didn't know I wasn't targeting during my normal weightlifting routine! That was the moment that changed my perspective on yoga. I realized that yoga works you out in ways that balance, or even add, to your weightlifting routine. It's like yin and yang.
After a few yoga sessions, my weightlifting actually improved. I had more range of motion, and I felt like my muscles weren't so stiff that I had to take a day off. Yoga improved my weightlifting, and weightlifting helped me in yoga. I had found a beautiful balance!
Speaking of balance, a long time ago, I tried to do a headstand. I had no idea what I was doing. After building up some muscle (and learning some balancing tips from yoga), I finally did one! And it wasn't just because I had the strength. It wasn't just because I knew technique either. It was a combination of both: I finally had the core strength, but yoga also taught me how to focus and activate the muscles I needed. It was a magical moment!
While yoga gives you the deep stretches your body needs, it also gives you the mental soundness your mind needs — I really appreciate how much concentration you need for your body and mind to work together. When you go to the mat, it really is a place where you can leave your worries behind and focus on what your body is telling you.
I truly believe in a balanced lifestyle, whether it's indulging a little in your meals or not always forcing yourself to exercise, so finding yoga was another way to add balance in my life. I highly encourage you to incorporate yoga into your routine. While it can get expensive to attend classes, the SWEAT app offers a 12 week BAM yoga program for just $19.99 a month — and you can do it from the comfort of your own home. Give it a try and let me know if you see a difference in your gym routine!