The Benefits of a Yoga Workout

Yoga is a non-aerobic exercise that can improve balance and flexibility while increasing strength. It can be a great addition to any exercise routine or may even replace your aerobic workout.

The Pyramid pose is an excellent hamstring stretch for people who sit a lot and have tight hamstrings. For those who have trouble stretching their arms to the floor, a block can be used.


Strength training involves using weights to build muscle mass and increase your strength, which helps with a range of activities. Yoga, on the other hand, uses bodyweight as resistance. This means it can’t help you build upper-body strength, such as in a push-based exercise like a chest press or shoulder raise.

Having said that, there are a number of yoga poses that can strengthen your arms and core. For example, Four Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana) and Reverse Tabletop Pose are both great for building arm strength, while Boat Pose is a good choice for the core.

In general, however, yoga is unlikely to help you build the type of muscular strength that would enable you to do a bunch of back squats in a row, says John Porcari, PhD, an associate professor of clinical exercise physiology at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. It is, on the other hand, a great workout for building muscle endurance and developing the small supporting muscles that allow larger muscles to work harder.


Adding yoga to your exercise regimen increases flexibility and enhances joint mobility. Flexibility training can help prevent injury, improve muscle performance and reduce pain in tight muscles. It’s a good idea to add flexibility training to your workout routine before or after other exercises to increase range of motion and minimize post-training muscle soreness.

Yoga provides a range of poses that challenge static and dynamic balance, including the pose known as “cat-cow.” To perform this pose, start with your wrists directly beneath shoulders and your knees below hips, both with your weight balanced evenly across both feet. Breathe in, and then stretch downward by lowering your tailbone toward the floor and lengthening your spine.

Some people avoid trying a yoga class because they assume they need to be flexible to start, but this isn’t true. As with any other type of exercise, yoga will increase your flexibility as you practice it more and more. This flexibility will also improve as you learn to relax more during the practice of yoga, allowing your muscles to release tension and become more loose over time.


Posture training is one of the reasons why many people turn to yoga. People who sit for long periods of time tend to slouch or slump over, which places extra strain on the back and neck. A good yoga workout will help to strengthen and tone these muscles so that they can support a healthy spine.

Start in tabletop (or quadruped) pose with your knees under hips and hands on the floor directly under shoulders. Roll your inner upper arms toward each other and lengthen the back of your neck, pulling chin into chest. Hold this position for up to a minute.

Another posture exercise is standing forward bend, which is done by laying on your back and placing your hands on your thighs. You can then twist gently from the center of your back, opening up your chest and stretching your front body. This posture also helps to strengthen the core and improve balance.

Stress relief

All forms of exercise help reduce stress levels, but yoga is especially effective at doing so. This is because yoga involves breathing exercises and physical movements that soothe the nervous system and release feel-good hormones.

While high-intensity exercise can raise cortisol levels and actually add to your level of stress, low-impact yoga moves can lower them, and you get the added benefit of stretching out sore muscles and boosting circulation. Plus, the soothing music that plays in most yoga studios is scientifically proven to help calm your mind and ease stress symptoms.

While a yoga workout can be beneficial for anyone, it’s generally best not to do it before an intense aerobic activity, such as running or biking, because it may not raise your heart rate enough to count as moderate physical activity, Laskowski says. That’s why he recommends adding a gentle yoga session to your workout routine after a strenuous cardio or strength-training activity.