7 Forms of Yoga for Strength Athletes

March 23rd, 2012 Posted in Yoga No Comments »

Think you are too Swole to do yoga? Think again fool!

Mr T

Studies indicate that yoga combats common ailments of modern man such as depression, osteoarthritis, and stress. By fighting off these diseases, we have a better chance of recovering from intense workouts and illness.

The practice of yoga involves the union of the mind, body, and spirit. It is a combination of breathing, flowing movements, stretching, endurance, balance, and even strength training. Most of the commercial yoga you find in western culture tends to prioritize the physical benefits, although the best instructors will teach you how to maximize the mental and spiritual benefits as well.

My favorite yoga forms are those that stretch my back, legs, and abs; as well as those that help to strengthen my legs and improve unilateral balance. Any weight lifter knows how tight the shoulders and hips can get, and yoga is a huge flexibility tool.

Yoga’s benefits were realized by many eastern civilizations hundreds and even thousands of years ago. The hardest part is knowing which style of yoga to choose, so here are 7 common forms of yoga. Choose the one that best fits your lifestyle, or try them all.

7 Forms of Yoga for Strength Athletes

  1. Hatha Yoga
    Hatha is a form of yoga that focuses more on the body by using a variety of postures, poses, breathing techniques, meditation, and even diet. This is great for beginners to learn the basics.
  2. Iyengar Yoga
    Iyengar is perfect for stretching and challenging the flexibility, strength, and stamina of the muscles. This form of yoga utilizes tools such as blocks, blankets, mats, and straps to gradually increase physical performance. Poses are often held for minutes in Iyengar to condition the body for difficult postures.
  3. Ashtanga (Aka Power Yoga)
    If you are looking for an aggressive strength building yoga, Ashtanga is for you. Ashtanga involves fitness movements such as push-ups and lunges, and is the best option for those whose main goal is to lose weight.
  4. Bikram Yoga
    Bikram is the sweatiest yoga you will find. It is performed in a closed room with 100 degree temperatures, and trust me when I say the smell is not overly pleasant. Bikram also uses the same forms each class, so there isn’t much variety. If you want to sweat but you don’t want vigorous exercise, Bikram might be for you.
  5. Mantra Yoga
    If you always thought yoga should be spiritual and you want a meditative style, mantra yoga uses chanting and other spiritual sounds to encourage a divine spiritual union.
  6. Raja Yoga
    Those who are looking to yoga to bring about well-being and contentment, this Raja yoga is a great option. The focus of raja is in centering the life force around the spine and a point on the forehead known as the ‘third eye’. Another great choice for spirituality.
  7. Vini Yoga
    Possibly the gentlest form for yoga, Vini yoga is great for those with problems in their back or neck. This form of yoga focuses on flowing and uses breathing techniques to control the muscular system. While not the main focus of Vini yoga, most practitioners will see gradual weight loss to a certain point.

Choose the form of yoga that seems best for you or try them all. Endurance athletes, bodybuilders, and sedentary folks alike can benefit from yoga. I know I did. You have no idea how much your flexibility is lacking until you try advanced yoga forms.

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