Yoga is one of the best ways to tone your muscles and develop flexibility, but it can also work practically alongside an active lifestyle, strength training or sports.
During exercises such as weight training or sprinting you activate your fast-twitch muscle fibres; this helps you develop power and speed. Contrastingly in yoga, by doing the movements slowly and holding poses you activate slow-twitch muscle fibres, which helps to build endurance. Slow twitch muscle fibres can work for a long time without getting tired and so It's very useful to maintain a healthy balance between both of these types of muscle fibres.
Strength & Flexibility
The strength and flexibility you develop on the mat — namely in the core, quads, hamstrings, and hip flexors — can help you train more efficiently and stay injury-free. Most injuries arise from imbalanced muscle function and so incorporating even, targeted stretching can lessen the chance of an imbalance occurring and thereby significantly reducing the risk of injury. A steady yoga practice can also improve co-ordination, stability and balance by strengthening your nervous system's ability to coordinate muscle groups.
Most of us are shallow breathers and we hardly ever utilise the full capacity of our lungs, thereby less oxygen is absorbed in a single breath. A regular yoga practice can increase your breathing capacity resulting in more oxygen supply to your blood, and this oxygen rich blood boosts performance and endurance. Yoga also encourages a mindful awareness of your breath, this can help your mind quieten and focus on what is actually occurring in your body. This self awareness will almost certainly reduce the likelihood of injury, but may also enable you to become more aware of the positives; your progress, your enjoyment and resilience.
Everyone knows it’s important to exercise and eat right, but we also need plenty of sleep. The practice of yoga produces a physiological state opposite to that of the flight-or-fight stress response and with that interruption in the stress response, a sense of relaxation, balance and union between the mind and body can be achieved. And when mind and body are in sync, you can really tap into your potential.