Most of the times, we rely on worldly things to achieve joy and peace. We are accustomed to looking for fulfillment outside ourselves. Despite attaining all the worldly luxuries, we still find ourselves trying to fill in the hole that we feel exists within us.
- What is Yoga… with Weights?
- Benefits of Yoga with Weights
- Yoga with Weights
- Types of Handheld Weights that can be Used in Yoga
- Selecting the Right Weight
- The Edge of Yoga with Weights over Simple Yoga
- Weight Training Moves for Yogis
- Benefits of Yoga with Weights
What is Yoga… with Weights?
Yoga is a practice that aims to unite the mind, body, and spirit with the ultimate goal of achieving liberation. Yoga is not just some exercise routine, it allows you to connect with yourself. It lets you explore the deeper levels of awareness. Yoga helps you solve the enigmas that might exist in your life such as who am I?, what is the purpose of my existence?, etc.
If you like the idea of adding resistance training to yoga, you can do so by doing various yoga poses with weights.
Benefits of Yoga with Weights
Yoga is an ancient practice that can be traced back to 3000 B.C originating in India. It was developed as a means of achieving harmony between the soul and heart on the path to divine enlightenment. With that said, yoga brings with it numerous physical and mental benefits as well:
- Improved muscle tone
- Increased muscle strength
- Better flexibility
- Improved energy and vitality
- Improved respiration
- Circulatory and cardiac health maintenance
- Weight reduction
- Stress management
Yoga with Weights
Many people are concerned that yoga does not provide enough when it comes to building strength and you will be forgiven if you think the same. They feel that other forms of exercising can help them gain strength more than yoga can. Despite the physical and mental benefits, gaining strength is a priority for many people.
Due to this demand, a lot of trainers have started adding weights to their yoga routines. By incorporating different types of handheld weights in yoga, it adds an extra element of stamina, strength and body awareness to yoga poses, which are already quite challenging. Such yoga is called a hybrid workout that merges two powerful exercise systems that are time tested; yoga and bodybuilding.
Types of Handheld Weights that can be Used in Yoga
The most commonly used handheld weights are:
1. Rubber dumbbells
These are rubber coated weights with a rubber handle. They are perfect for you if you don’t want them damaging your floor.
2. Cast iron dumbbells
These are iron dumbbells that have PVC handles attached. Cast iron dumbbells look and feel more sophisticated and professional.
3. Rubber hex dumbbells
These come in a hexagon shape, fixed weight dumbbells that prevent the dumbbells from rolling on the Also, the rubber coating makes them safer to use and easier to grip.
These weights have handles attached to the main body that makes lifting easy. They don’t make hands sore by the end of the workout.
5. Wrist Weights
These are padded weights that are strapped around the wrists and are secured by Velcro.
6. Ankle Weights
Ankle weights are like wrist weights – they strap on and are usually secured with velcro.
7. Soft Bell Training System
These types of weights are ideal for people who are scared that they might drop the dumbbell on themselves or on the floor. They have soft discs which are wrapped in neoprene. They are spongy to touch but solid enough to maintain their shape.
There are many different types of handheld weights that can be incorporated into yoga routines. The most commonly used weight props are usually the lightweight free weights (lightweight dumbells) and kettlebells. It’s important to note that excessively heavyweights should not be used . 1 – 5 pound handheld weights are recommended, especially if you are a novice. Heavier weights reaching up-to 15 pounds are suitable for men who have been subjected to weight training in the past.
Yoga with weights incorporates 1 pound, 3 pounds and 5 pounds of weight on your wrists or ankles that provide a higher level conditioning and physical benefit. This allows the user to fully perform the yoga poses without the hassle of holding on to weights.
Selecting the Right Weight
Choosing the right handheld weights that can be used during yoga is critical. If you find yourself feeling excessively tired or sore for more than a day, it means that you have used heavier weights in your routine than you should. If the tiredness you feel is comforting, your selection of weight is correct. You should always begin with the lightest weight available and work yourself up to heavier weights to see what works best for you.
In case you have never picked up weights before, you need not to worry. Lifting weights as light as 1 to 5 pounds does not require a lot of expertise or technique. You can easily get a hang of these weights in no time.
The Edge of Yoga with Weights over Simple Yoga
When you start performing yoga, you may not understand where and how to move and position your body. Doing yoga with weights trains the muscles where to go and where to be. With weights, your body moves in the right directions with more ease. The free weights engage specific muscles, making your activity even more fruitful than it would have been otherwise.
Weight Training Moves for Yogis
There are certain moves that can be incorporated in yoga routines, which make use of handheld weights such as;
Stand straight with free weights in each of your hands. Your arms should be hanging down, on your sides and your palm should be facing the body. Exhale and bend your elbows until your palms are facing your chest. Inhale while you slowly lower your elbows, till your arms are hanging down at your sides.
Bicep curls help you build arm strength which is essential for many yoga postures like Tripod Headstand and Supported Headstand. Arm strength is also important for static yoga postures like Side Plank.
Lateral Shoulder Raises
Stand straight with free weights in each of your hands. You should be standing in such a way that your arms are hanging on your sides, and palms are facing your thighs. Exhale and lift both arms slowly straight out up-to shoulder height. Inhale and lower down your arms back to your sides.
Lateral shoulder raises help you build upper body strength. Upper body strength is beneficial for yoga poses like Headstand, Handstand and Downward Facing Dog.
Lie down straight on your back on a bench or yoga blocks, if available. Start with both your arms extended fully up to the sky with your palms facing the sky, holding free weights in each hand. Inhale and bend your elbows as much as you can, retracting the shoulder blades. Exhale and lift your arms starlight up to the sky again.
Chest press promotes strong chest muscles that are essential for a lot of yoga postures like Crow and Dolphin Pose.
Stand straight with free weights in each hand. Inhale and put the right foot forward in such a way that it makes a 90-degree angle with the right knee with the left knee touching the ground. Exhale and place the right foot back to the starting position. Continue for 5 minutes alternating each foot throughout. To maintain balance, hold the belly firm.
With the help of lunges, you can build strong quads that will assist you in perfecting Warrior series and Garland poses.
One-Leg Deadlifts With a Kettlebell
Stand straight with a kettlebell in your right hand. Stand on your left foot with the knee bent slightly. Inhale and start bending from the hip with the right leg extended backward. Lower the body till your right leg, head and torso are parallel to the ground. Exhale and start coming back to the starting position. Continue for 5 minutes on each side and then repeat on the other side.
This move helps you build strong hamstrings for balance poses like Lord of the Dance and Eagle.
Place three yoga blocks on the floor in a line vertically. Place your left knee on the block at the bottom and your left hand on the top block. Hold the free weights in your right hand. Exhale and bend your right elbow behind you till the weight is up beside your chest. Inhale and bring your right hand back to the starting position. Make sure to keep your arms close to your body so that the shoulder blades are squeezed towards each other. Continue as many times as you can in 5 minutes then switch sides.
Back rows strengthen your back which is something you will make use of in yoga poses like Upward Facing Dog.
All of these exercises can be performed between poses as well as incorporated in the poses themselves. It is recommended you ask you instructor how to mix in the weights best withing your workout and should be performed under supervision.
There are significant benefits of practicing yoga with weights.
1- Improvement of Health and Bone Longevity
Bones respond really well to healthy stress. Adding handheld weights to yoga routines improve the stress your bones can bear. This helps the bones to remodel and modify their stress-bearing capacity. Bearing weight can help improve bone density, making bones stronger.
2- Improved Efficiency of Heart
It is recommended that you perform cardio exercises at least thrice a week to strengthen the cardiac muscles. By incorporating weights into your yoga routine, you increase the weight a joint has to propel through space and time. Due to this stress, the heart is forced to pump more blood to active muscles in order to provide extra strength. As a result, cardiac muscles tend to become stronger and more efficient.
3- Increase Joint Stability and Core Strength
Muscle mass is reduced with age. By of the time a person reaches 70 years of age, you one can lose as much as 30 o 55% of your body mass. Lifting weight helps in increasing muscle mass. Increased muscle mass increases the ability of muscles to stabilize, protect and support bones and joints.
When you add weights to some of your yoga postures, you are challenging your core supporting muscles. The core includes the muscles that help with supporting movements of the spine, namely: extension, flexion, lateral flexion and rotation.
4- Keeps You Leaner and Lighter
Incorporation of weight into yoga postures can help burn more calories than fats. This helps you in maintaining a healthy weight. If you want to look leaner, you should try adding handheld weights to your yoga routine.
5- Improved Balance and Coordination
Practicing yoga with weights improves balance and coordination. It helps you understand which muscles to contract and relax during an action, improving your control over muscle movements.
Yoga and weight training have their individual benefits that appeal to people who are looking for well-rounded health. By incorporating free weights into you’re your yoga session, these people can get the best of both worlds without holding to different workout sessions.