How to Add Weights to a Yoga Routine - dummies

How to Add Weights to a Yoga Routine

By Sherri Baptiste, Megan Scott

Yoga with weights is a hybrid of two powerful, time-tested exercise systems: yoga and bodybuilding. Working out with weights is one of the best ways to achieve overall physical fitness, and yoga is renowned as a system of personal development by which you can cultivate peak performance and achieve a higher quality of life.

You don’t need to have lifted weights before now to study yoga with weights. The weights you use are only 1 to 5 pounds and aren’t difficult to get the hang of. If you’ve never picked up a weight before, rest reassured that holding a pair of hand weights or strapping on a pair of ankle weights doesn’t take any expertise whatsoever. The weights help you feel more grounded but don’t weigh you down.

What you need for a yoga with weights workout

Yoga with weights calls for 1-, 3-, or 5-pounds weights on your wrists and/or ankles. The weights stabilize your body and help you achieve a higher level of physical benefit and conditioning.

The addition of the weights makes you feel the effect of the yoga training sooner. The weights train your muscles where to be and where to go. In a beginning yoga practice, several months could go by before you start to “get it.” You have to figure out how and where to move different parts of your body. It doesn’t take you as long to understand what yoga is about when you practice yoga with weights, because the weights help you move your body into the right positions. The weights force you to engage the right muscles.

Weighing the benefits of yoga with weights

Before you take the plunge and give yoga with weights a try, you may be interested in knowing what the many health benefits of yoga with weights are. Here’s a list of health benefits you may experience if you devote yourself to yoga with weights:

  • Makes you stronger: Yoga makes you stronger and tones your muscles, but by adding the weights, you give additional boost to the muscle strengthening and toning powers of yoga.

  • Builds your core strength: Your core muscles are responsible for good posture. Unless your core muscles are strong, you can’t develop the muscles of your arms and legs to their fullest potential.

  • Tones your muscles: Yoga-with-weights exercises are designed to work and tone all the muscles of your body.

  • Addresses your flexibility and range of motion: Yoga with weights combines yoga techniques with physical culture practices. The goal is to achieve the proper body alignment and breathe correctly in every move and exercise while cultivating an open mind and heart.

  • Improves your circulation: Your muscles become stronger and healthier because they receive more nutrients. Stretching also helps renew muscles and muscle fiber.

  • Creates body awareness: Yoga with weights builds body awareness. You can think of yoga with weights as a dialogue between your mind and body.

  • Addresses balance and coordination: Yoga with weights helps you understand which muscles to contract or relax in an action, and in so doing it teaches balance and coordination.

  • Builds bone density: Weight-bearing exercises such as yoga with weights help bones retain their density.

  • Assists with proper breathing: Yoga and yoga with weights are two of a handful of exercise programs that concern themselves with breathing properly.