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Strength, Flexibility, Endurance, etc: How Does Yoga Stack Up?


Depending on which yoga roundabouts you tend to run in, you might sounds the theme that A) yoga is a cure-all that gives our organization everything it needs, or B) there a ton of things incorrect with yoga and although it does have psychological and spiritual benefits, it doesn’t do much for us on a physical health& fitness level.

Now I’m overdoing somewhat for influence now, but I do observe two definite tents in the yoga life. As someone who started off my yoga tour in camp A and then later moved to camp B for a time, I can certainly relate to both perspectives. But these days I prefer to take a realistic, evidence-based approach that is more nuanced than either clique A or B.

It’s a physiological information that yoga doesn’t furnish our body everything the work requires health.( No single physical pleasure possibly could !) Those in tent A would be wise to reconsider this idealistic approach.

But at the same period, there are many fitness and health-based advantages that yoga certainly does render us that seem to be overlooked by many in camp B. As two examples, I recently put under a investigation via my Instagram account that invited parties to respond with the ways they conceived yoga was good for our mas. I received numerous good responses, but to my catch , no one mentioned any musculoskeletal/ biomechanical the potential benefits of the practice at all! The reported helps were mainly psychological in sort, such as relaxation, era for introspection, improved mas portrait, etc. But there wasn’t any mention of physical interests such concentration, flexibility, tenacity, etc.


And so today I thought we could look at some classic core components of fitness and use research and critical think is required to determine whether and how yoga includes these components. Once we understand which components yoga volunteers and which it doesn’t, we can then decide to either integrate some of the “missing” entries into our yoga practice to the best degree that we can – or we are going to be able simply choose to partake in other activities that naturally do a great job of offering these components.

There are of course many other benefits of yoga beyond physical ones, but I’d like to focus on this category solely because I feel that our yoga community could use some clarification on these points.

Flexibility – YES


It’s been well-established in the research that yoga does improve opennes. This is because a usual yoga practice makes our joints through their end array of flow on a regular basis. Here are just a few citations that support this:[ Ref ],[ Ref ],[ Ref ],[ Ref ],[ Ref]

Of course there is a lot of nuance to this topic. Yoga doesn’t seem to improve opennes for every person at all joints, and oftentimes additional techniques like directed muscle contractions during unfolds can help increase flexible more efficiently than classic yoga skills alone.

Additionally, there is a proliferating discussion around the differences between flexibility and mobility, with mobility being the preferred quality to follow over opennes. But because “flexibility” is the official expression on most fitness constituent indices, let’s just deter this debate simple-minded and consider flexible to be about stray of motion( ROM ), and we’ll expressed the view that in general, most of us could use to increase our ROM, at the least at some joints.

And with that said, yoga in general has been demonstrated to reliably improve flexible in most people!

Strength – YES, but restraint


Yoga is absolutely volunteer muscle strengthening interests, but they are limited. For instance, yoga does strengthen the upper body in a “pushing” direction of progress( contemplate propagandizing the flooring apart in timber pose or chaturanga ), but it does not include significant strengthening in the “pulling” direction of fluctuation( meditate drawing your mas toward something, like a pull-up ).

Additionally, because yoga involves bodyweight merely, it can definitely strengthen our body up to a degree.( And some yoga courses intentionally incorporate inventive bodyweight strengthening moves to maximize this benefit for yogis .) But once our person adapts to the consignments of our bodyweight, if we’re interested in further strengthening, we need to start using some figure of external loading( i.e. weights or another form of opposition ). To accomplish this, we could try incorporating some forms of external resistance into our yoga practice, or we could take on a separate weightlifting pattern, which is a physical act whose particularly “job” is to increase strength.

Muscular Endurance – PROBABLY, but merely to an extent


Muscle endurance is a distinct list from muscle strength( although there is some natural overlap between them .) Whereas muscle backbone is designated as the amount of make that a muscle can generate against fight, muscle fortitude has to do with a muscle’s ability to sustain a submaximal reduction for an extended period of time without fatiguing.

Does yoga mount muscle fortitude? From my look at the research, I didn’t find an abundance of high-quality analyzes that examined this, but the studies that I did find seemed promising. These two subjects[ Ref, Ref] both accompanied muscle endurance increase in their experimental yoga groups. I also detected two analyses on Pilates mat employs( different from yoga, but same in that they use bodyweight only and no rig ), and in these studies muscle tenacity also increased from these best practices[ Ref, Ref ].

Additionally, based on my understanding of how muscle fortitude runs, I would imagine that regularly rehearsing prolonged standing pose sequences would build muscle tenacity in the lower mas, as would frequently practicing vinyasa-type sequences for the upper body.

Power – NO

It’s seducing to equate the word supremacy with the word strong, but in fitness expressions, these are two separate( although relevant) calibers. Whereas strength means the amount of force-out a muscle can generate against fight, the call influence necessitates how quickly you are able to exert the strength that you have.Power might start to represent more impression if you consider some activities that typically utilize it: sprinting, swinging a baseball bat, and playing basketball all require an element of generating thrust very quickly. In order to develop for influence, works like plyometrics( jump rehearsal) and dynamic kettlebell task are often recommended.

Yoga, by contrast, is a slower-paced act. Even faster “power yoga”-type castes( no pun proposed !) are still slower in race than the quick, explosive movements of power-based rehearsal. One could possibly argue that rushing back to chaturanga might be a power-type activity because it’s done quickly and utilizes backbone – but this isn’t enough to qualify yoga as a “power”-building activity in my opinion. If you’re would be interested to civilize the element of strength, there are many other activities that are excellent at offering this!

Balance – YES


Yoga includes many constitutes that naturally challenge our equilibrium, including high move, warrior 1, and all of the single-leg standing counterbalance constitutes( tree pose, dancer constitute, etc .) It seems like horse sense be presumed that yoga would therefore have positive effects on offset, but research has actually substantiated this to be the case as well[ Ref ],[ Ref ],[ Ref ],[ Ref ],[ Ref ].

As we age, the risks from taking a autumn can actually be quite harmful to our state and well-being, so yoga’s potential to help us improve equilibrium is a very valuable assistance on a functional level.

Additionally, when we take arm poises and inversions into account, yoga also helps us to work on counterbalance with our hands as our basi of support. So yes, in numerous considers, yoga helps us to improve counterbalance!

Proprioception, Body Awareness, Body Maps – YES

Proprioception is your sense of how your body is arranged in space, and it’s intimately related to the “body maps” in your psyche, which are neurological illustrations of all of the components of your form. The more precise your mas delineates are, the very best your proprioception, mas awareness, and character of advance in general.

I didn’t find a plethora of good learns on yoga and proprioception( although proprioception is included in the discussion of some of the studies on yoga and counterbalance that I included in the “balance” division .) Nonetheless, given that yoga is a low-load task that tends to be rehearsed slowly, mindfully, and with controller, it would stand to reason that it has the potential to improve our proprioception and to help clarify our torso maps in our brain.

Cardiovascular Endurance – POSSIBLY, to a minor length


Most of us are familiar with the notion that a “cardio” or “aerobic” activity is one that has the heart rate promoted for a sustained amount of season. Classic cardiovascular endurance activities include moving, float, and biking.

Based on our understanding of how these aerobic undertakings glance and feel( heightened heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, lots of exercise ), it seems clear that yoga is not a cardiovascular fitness rule to the same degree as these other classic pleasures. However, depending on the tempo of the yoga practice, I believe that some yoga categories could be considered low-intensity cardiovascular activities.

In fact, this recent subject[ Ref] compared “high speed yoga” to “standard speed yoga” and found that “high-speed yoga outcomes in a significantly greater caloric spending than standard-speed yoga. High-speed yoga may be an effective alternative program for those targeting cardiometabolic markers.”

Other research on this topic is mixed. These two considers[ Ref ],[ Ref] did not support the idea that yoga could be considered cardiovascular practice, but the type of yoga examined did not appear to be a very intensive flesh. These two studies[ Ref ],[ Ref] were more favorable to the idea – although the first one “wouldve been” stronger suggestion if it had included a limitation group.

My feeling is that if the wording of yoga you’re practising includes faster pacing and makes you to feel like you are reasonably utilizing yourself for a sustained amount of period, that tradition could be considered a organize of low-intensity cardiovascular exercise.

On a related memo, I witnessed a exhaustive experiment review that looked at 69 considers for purposes of determining whether yoga reduced the dangers of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, and it concluded that “there is predicting evidence of yoga on improving cardio-metabolic health”[ Ref ]. This isn’t reacting the issue of whether yoga improves cardiovascular fortitude, but it does be stated that yoga is available with same health benefits to cardio-type exerts!



The reality of yoga’s influences on the body is of course more nuanced than this generalized roll. For instance, a soothing yoga class is very likely to not include the elements of persuasivenes, muscular patience, and low-intensity cardiovascular endurance – but it might include balance, proprioception, and flexible. And a faster-paced vinyasa yoga class might include the elements that a amiable class doesn’t – but these won’t be inexhaustible, and they actually do depend on what and how an individual coach chooses to teach.

When making decisions about your own yoga and shift rehearses, consider yoga in situations of everything else that you do on a regular basis. For lesson, if you happen to trail lead 2-3 times a week, you might not be interested in the potential cardiovascular the advantage of faster-paced yoga classes; perhaps you would choose a slower-paced rehearse instead. If you persuasivenes civilize regularly at the gym, you are able to not need to focus on concentration in your yoga practice; perhaps a gentle type of yoga is the right fit for you.

And if yoga is your sole model of physical task/ effort, then it would be great for you to take yoga categorizes that excel in advance mixture and well-rounded strengthening so that you can maximize the benefits from your practice.

In general, the more that we increase yoga for what it does furnish us while consenting what it clearly doesn’t, the highest our chances are of feeling realization in our yoga practice and counterbalance and health in our bodies.

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