If you’re starting your yoga journey, you’ll probably have plenty of expectations. Even if a physical transformation isn’t at the top of your list, when performed regularly, you can expect to see notable changes in your body shape.
Yoga is more than just a unique way to relax – it can also help you tone up, lose fat, tone up your muscles, and more.
There are plenty of reasons why those who practice yoga regularly never stop singing its praises. If you’re looking to change your body shape, you’ll be pleased to know that yoga can help you get there.
Here’s everything you need to know about how yoga can transform your body, and what to expect on your journey.
How Yoga Transforms Your Body
If you’re planning to make yoga your new go-to exercise, you’re probably going to experience some pretty big bodily changes.
However, the exact ways that yoga affects your body will depend on how often you’re practicing it, and how you exert yourself during sessions. These are some of the physical changes that you can expect to see when you commit to yoga:
One of the biggest changes you’ll notice is improved flexibility. Yoga can help improve your flexibility by stretching out your muscles, joints, and connective tissues. You’ll be encouraged to hold your yoga poses for extended periods of time, which encourage your muscles to lean even deeper into their stretches.
Although this can often be uncomfortable for beginners, with time, you’ll notice you can stretch further and hold your poses for longer.
Improving flexibility can reduce your risk of injury, reduce back pain, give you better balance, improve your strength, and encourage a more positive mindset.
Helps With Weight Loss And Toning
Yoga is also a great way to lose weight and tone up. Despite what you might think, yoga isn’t always easy. More complex yoga poses will help you build strength, tone up, and build muscle.
It’s a well-known fact that muscle tends to burn more calories when you’re resting than fat, which contributes to greater weight loss, as long as you’re watching your calorie intake, too.
In terms of toning up, you’ll probably notice that your triceps, biceps and leg muscles will become more defined, especially if you’re balancing, squatting, and lunging. You may even start to develop a slimmer waistline, as many yoga poses require a LOT of core engagement.
However, when you start building muscle, you may notice your weight increase. This is normal. Muscle often weighs more than fat, so you’re likely to see the number on the scales increase. It’s important not to measure your progress by how much you weigh.
With yoga, the biggest changes will be in your body definition. This is why many people choose to monitor their progress in terms of inches and centimeters, instead.
You’ll probably also develop a better posture from yoga, too. When you practice yoga regularly, you’ll learn how to bring your body into alignment.
When you become more aware of this alignment, you’ll learn how to position your body in the correct posture. With practice, this can help you break some of the many bad posture habits we’re often all guilty of.
Don’t underestimate just how much a good posture can transform your body. A better posture can make you look healthier, taller and leaner, which can have a significant effect on your body shape!
With time, all of these changes have the power to totally transform your body shape, giving you a more muscular, toned appearance.
The Best Yoga Poses For Strength And Muscle Growth
If you’re trying to transform your body, any yoga is good yoga. However, some poses are more effective than others. Here are some of the best yoga poses to do to build your strength and increase muscle gain.
The Forearm Plank
The forearm plank is a simple pose with big benefits. Start off on your hands and knees, and gently lower your elbows toward the floor. Ensure you’re keeping your elbows a shoulder width apart, and clasp your fingers together. Gently extend one leg at a time, and keep your toes tucked beneath.
Your torso should be positioned parallel to the floor and in alignment with your thumbs. You should now practice lifting your navel up toward the spine. Many instructors will ask you to imagine that you’re trying to pull your elbows and feet together for maximum benefits. Hold this pose for approximately one minute.
The Dolphin Pose
To perform the dolphin pose, start off in a low plank position, and gently walk your feet up and toward your hands. This pose should look almost identical to downward dog, except you’ll be leaning on your elbows rather than your hands.
Try to keep your legs and your feet at least a hip distance apart, and bend your body so that you’re starting at your feet. Root toward your elbows, and focus on moving your chest toward your thighs. Maintain this pose for 4-5 breaths, and release by returning to your knees.
The tree pose is one of the most recognizable yoga poses out there, and it has a pretty simple form. Stand up tall and straight on your yoga mat, and gently shift your weight into your left foot, while raising your right knee up to the front of your body.
You should then take your right ankle in your right hand and position your foot on the inside of your top left thigh. If you can’t reach, place it just below your knee.
Keep standing straight, and ensure your hips stay level with the floor, and put your hands into a prayer pose in front of you. For a bigger challenge, raise your arms above your head, keeping your hands at a shoulder-width distance apart. Hold this posture for between 5-10 breaths, and then switch sides.
The Crow Pose
Last up, we have the crow pose. This is a pretty intense pose, so beginners may want to practice building up their strength first with other poses.
Enter the crow pose by starting in a squat position, and moving your hands forward to the front of your mat. You should then start to lift your hips up, keeping your heels on the floor.
Then, move your hands back. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your elbows. Then, push your knees into the backs of your upper arms with your fingers hugging the mat. Start to push your weight forward until your toes start to rise from the floor, with your chest facing forward.
With enough strength, you can start to move your weight forward until your feet leave the floor, eventually balancing on your hands with your knees tucked into your armpits behind you. Hold this pose for a few breaths, and gently release.
The Bottom Line
Never underestimate the power of yoga. With practice and consistency, yoga can completely transform your body shape, giving you more definition, fat loss, muscle, strength, and better posture.
If you want to see the changes, you’ll need to commit to performing ‘regular’ yoga (at least two hours a week), and we’d recommend attending a class or working with an instructor to help practice your form, giving you the best results possible.