How Does Doing Yoga Firm Your Muscles?

Many people think of yoga as a "light" exercise. However, it is a full body practice that helps to tone and firm your muscles
How Does Doing Yoga Firm Your Muscles?

Last update: 27 May, 2022

Although it may seem like yoga doesn’t tone your muscles, the truth is that it is actually a lot harder than it looks. Today we will learn why doing yoga firms your muscles, and will get rid of any ideas about that not being true.

This activity helps us to harmonize our body and our mind while working on our balance. However, the wonderful thing about this practice is that it gets us to focus on the muscles.

Practicing yoga helps your strength

One of the reasons why practicing yoga firms your muscles is because it helps our strength. However, not all types of yoga will help us with this. Some are more “fitness oriented” or more “athletic” than others.

For example, ashtanga , vinyasa  or power yoga  are considered the best types of yoga for strength building. The question then is: how do they do it?

  • Ashtanga: Consists of different poses in a continuous, fluid and consistent manner. The movements are accelerated and you don’t get to rest from one position to another.
  • Vinyasa: Also known as flow yoga, this type makes use of our asanas, which create a specific pattern and flow smoothly.
  • Power yoga: Includes fitness movements and pilates. Music can vary from jazz, to soul or hip hop. It is an innovative type of yoga.

The postures are challenging

There are some postures in yoga that are a challenge. For example, the crane pose (Bakasana)  is not suitable for beginners. In this position, balance is very important, as well as your arm strength.

Each asana has to be held for a certain time. Also, some are done using our body weight. This tenses the muscles and makes them work.

Let’s look at some more poses:

  • Sun pose (Purvottanasana): Ideal for weight loss and toning your arms.
  • Chair pose (Utkatasana): Works on balance in addition to helping to strengthen and tone both your glutes and legs.

Iron pose (Utthita Chaturanga Dandasana) : Tones your arms, legs and glutes.It’s important not to force your body to do these poses because, if you aren’t flexible enough and have just started yoga, you could hurt yourself. Although this practice may not seem like it involve many risks, we have to be careful to not injure ourselves.

You train your entire body

When practicing yoga, you are firming your muscles because they are not being worked separately. You will use all of them at once to get into a certain pose.

For example, if you are doing the angle posture in eight (advanced yoga) you will be working your chest, arms (biceps and triceps), shoulders, legs, abs, obliques … You won’t just be working one muscle group like you do when lifting weights, but several at the same time.

Posture in eight yoga

That’s because by putting many muscles to work at the same time, some have to support others in order to make the pose possible. If those parts of our body do not work as a unit, you won’t be able to do the pose.

By practicing yoga, your muscles are progressively worked

It’s true that with weight training we could build our muscles faster. However, the benefits of practicing yoga are far greater than if we just workout on machines.

Practicing yoga builds muscles progressively, while improving our balance and helping us to achieve a better piece of mind.

Yoga may become a complement to your weight training. However, if you just want to tone your body and build strength, this practice is enough to achieve your goals.

The key is perseverance and to keep moving forward onto more difficult positions. Many of them, at first, will be very frustrating since you won’t be able to do them. But, doing a yoga pose correctly takes time.

Do you practice yoga regularlyHave you seen changes in your body after doing it for a few months? We highly recommended that you try this discipline because it has so much to offer.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Ni, M., Mooney, K., Harriell, K., Balachandran, A., & Signorile, J. (2014). Core muscle function during specific yoga poses. Complementary Therapies in Medicine.
  • Hart, C. E. F., & Tracy, B. L. (2008). Yoga as steadiness training: Effects on motor variability in young adults. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.
  • Balasubramanian, B., & Pansare, M. S. (1991). Effect of yoga on aerobic and anaerobic power of muscles. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology.
  • Smith, E. N., & Boser, A. (2013). Yoga, vertebral fractures, and osteoporosis: research and recommendations. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. [pii]
  • Woodyard C. (2011). Exploring the therapeutic effects of yoga and its ability to increase quality of life. International journal of yoga4(2), 49–54.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.