Can Yoga Really Build Muscle?

Rodney Yee has built muscle with yoga

Rodney Yee has built muscle with yoga

Just like Yoga Expert Rodney Yee, I have been asked, “What else do you do besides yoga for strength training?”

It’s a well known fact that as we age, women need to be sure to continue to build strength to fight against osteoporosis – and yoga has been my first line of defense for years. Some people still think yoga is something you only do for relaxation, so I was glad to see that my local studio, The Yoga Company in San Ramon, California recently included this article in their newsletter from The Yoga Journal. I obviously have work to do, I am far from being as buff as Rodney Yee, but I’d like to think that I’m headed in the right direction.

Can Yoga Really Build Muscle? 

“People always ask me, ‘Don’t you lift weights?'” says yoga expert Rodney Yee. “I sort of giggle to myself and say, ‘Yes – I lift my own body weight!”

When you do yoga poses, Yee explains, “You’re putting your body in positions and orientations that you ultimately have to support with your muscles. So you are lifting weights.” Like many yogis, Yee doesn’t like focusing on how yoga can sculpt your physique. They want students to focus on yoga as a way of thinking, feeling and being, versus getting preoccupied with perfecting their outer appearance.

Still, when you look at Yee’s arms (this photo shows him in a strength-building yoga pose), you can’t help but want some of the yoga poses

they’re having for breakfast. The upshot is that you can increase muscle tone and definition – and even muscle size – with yoga. But because you’re limited to “lifting” your own body weight, it may take a lot more skill, time and determination than it would with lifting weights.

Not Rodney Yee (but getting there)

Not Rodney Yee (but getting there)

“Yoga can be just as effective as weights when it comes to building a stronger, more impressive physique,” says Nicholas DiNubile, M.D.

Comments 2

  1. i just loved the post Carole. I’m finally responding and getting back in my grove. Tell me? When and where can I sign up for the next class?

  2. Hi there,

    Do you have a story of healing or transformation with yoga that you’d like to share with the world? The Yoga Diaries is now accepting submissions. http://theyogadiaries.net/

    Please spread the word!

    Cheers,
    The Yoga Diaries

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