Have you ever wondered how does yoga tone your body? There’s no denying that long-time yoga practitioners always look like they have been carved out of marble: perfect proportions, muscles for days, and curves exactly where curves should be found. However, most people don’t really associate yoga with body toning that same way that they do with more dynamic workouts such as weightlifting and running.
So, does yoga tone your body? If so, how does it do it?
First, Let’s Define “Tone”
When it comes to fitness, being “toned” is defined as having certain areas of your body targeted for strengthening and development. These areas are usually your arms, shoulders, lower abdomen, and thighs. However, there is no one exercise that will create a perfect balance that will tone your body in one go, which is why you will need separate exercises that will target different muscle groups in your body.
This is where yoga enters the picture.
How Yoga Tones Your Body Through Different Poses
Have you ever wondered why there are so many different poses in yoga? From beginner poses to advanced poses, it takes years for a person to memorize and master all these poses. The reason for the variety of poses is that yoga is considered a holistic activity: it exercises different parts of your body and increases strength, stability, balance, and coordination all these different parts together.
Yoga is a unique method that brings marries physical conditioning and mental development so that you can work on your body and mind at the same time. Thus, the toning that yoga offers is not only a physical one, but a mental and even a spiritual one as well.
Here are some yoga guides to help with your fitness workout:
Are There Different Intensities to Yoga?
In a simple answer, yes– different types of yoga will bring different types of intensities. If you’re a beginner, looking for something low-impact, or you are recovering from an injury, vinyasa yoga or hatha yoga are recommended to help you achieve the fundamental levels of strength and flexibility that you will need for more advanced types of yoga.
If you’re looking for something more challenging that will get your heart rate up, Bikram yoga and power yoga are more suited for you.
In the beginning, it can be difficult to find which type of yoga best suits your taste, your physical level, and your fitness goals. There’s nothing wrong with taking one or two classes for each yoga type to see if it fits you!
How Exactly Does Yoga Tone My Body?
Here is a quick rundown on how yoga helps tone different parts of your body:
- Core – virtually every yoga pose targets your core muscles. Yes, even simple and relaxed poses such as the corpse pose or the savasana where you are totally relaxed means that you will need to consciously release your core muscles. It’s not as easy as it sounds! If you have stubborn love handles around your belly, doing yoga on a regular basis will help you tighten your muscles.
- Arms – yoga does help you tone your muscles but since you’re using your own body weight, you won’t be gaining any additional bulk. Yoga is perfect for people who want to tone their arms without looking ripped.
- Legs – many of yoga’s poses, particularly standing poses, work all the muscles in the legs including the quadriceps, thighs, and lower legs. The main difference between yoga and other workouts is that yoga tones the whole leg completely, while you would need separate exercises to target different muscle groups at the gym.
- Glutes – have you been wanting firm and tight glutes? Squats, bridges, and warrior poses are only some of the yoga exercises that will help you tone your glutes.
- Back – not only do yoga poses tone the muscles in your back to make them stronger and firmer, poses such as downward-facing dog and child’s pose also gently stretch out your back to increase flexibility, reduce tension, and relieve tightness.
Do I Need to Take Classes If I am Serious About Yoga?
In a word, yes. While you can learn the fundamentals of yoga at home, you might need to invest in yoga classes if you really want to learn the more advanced yoga poses. Paying for a yoga class gives you a different atmosphere than the one you have at home. You will be around people who are also serious about leveling up their yoga practice, and you will be under the guidance of a yoga teacher who has years of experience and practice.
However, there is one caveat to taking classes: a sense of “competing” against your classmates. It’s normal and natural to start glancing around your yoga class and comparing yourself to your classmates. While it does inspire some people to also improve their yoga, it can lead to a sense of failure and stress in others.
Remember: what’s important in yoga is learning at YOUR pace! The finish line is there for everyone and any insecurities that you have is most likely only in your head. Once you get rid of your inner saboteur, yoga classes will become more enjoyable.
What About Special Yoga Equipment?
As a beginner, you will need the basic yoga mat. A yoga mat helps keep you safe and stable and prevents you from slipping and getting hurt. As you progress, you can invest in other yoga equipment such as a yoga ball for balance and core training, a yoga wedge to help you position yourself better, and even a yoga wheel to help increase flexibility and massage your back.
Higher-end yoga equipment are not necessarily required but they will help you tone your body faster and perform yoga poses more efficiently so that you will enjoy their full benefits.
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Now that the question of how does yoga tone your body has been answered, the final piece of the puzzle is whether you are ready to commit to the process. If there is one similarity between yoga and other forms of exercise, it’s that they all need a certain level of dedication in order for them to be effective. You can’t really get into yoga having a half-baked mindset and expecting significant results. Remember, when it comes to yoga, you’re only going to get as good as you give!