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Yoga Builds Smart Strength. Smart means Functional.
People think that Yoga is all about flexibility, until they try it. Then they realize that yoga is hard – because when you do it correctly you have to build a lot of strength!
You can’t see that when you look at a picture or watch a class, it just looks like stretching. But as soon as you try even the simplest active yoga pose, you’ll see that doing the pose correctly demands strength.
Put simply, you have to stabilize the body as you stretch it, or you’ll loose your form. And stabilizing means firing muscles and holding them firm.
Yoga utilizes both isometric muscular contraction (that’s when you’re holding a pose steady without moving) AND isotonic muscular contraction (when you’re moving into or out of a yoga pose) which creates an ideal strength in the muscles.
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Yoga as a fitness tool creates strength and flexibility, perfectly conditioning and shaping your body. Most sport and fitness classes create tight muscles; they become shorter as you become stronger. Yoga, on the other hand, will create longer and leaner muscles as you strengthen and tone your body.
Distinct poses target specific muscle groups to improve tone, balance and strength. Certain poses focus on upper body strength, while others make the legs strong and when done correctly, virtually all poses strengthen the core.
The more poses you practice, the more benefits you will reap as you begin to use more and more parts of your body to achieve the various postures. Most fitness or sport programs repeat specific movements and overuse the same muscle groups, but yoga comprehensively trains the entire body, lengthening the muscles that are too short and strengthening the ones that are too weak.
Yoga offers so many postures, it’s simple to find a practice that best suits your needs. Whether you are recovering from an illness, or training for a triathalon, there are poses and classes that will improve your condition and performance.
You will notice all-around improved strength and flexibility which will positively affect all aspects of your life. As your strength improves from practicing yoga, you’ll develop increased body awareness, a noticeably stronger core and improved mobility which are key components to feeling and functioning better.
Overall, yoga for fitness will increase your balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength.