Is yoga slowing me down? Is it draining my energy? Should I be doing yoga before or after a workout? These are some of the most common questions people ask their instructors and trainers. Many people live with the notion that yoga is simply about stretching, relaxing, and breathing. However, there’s a lot more to it. This article will ensure that you get a satisfactory answer.
Should I do yoga before or after an exercise? Doing yoga after a workout is preferred by most trainers as that’s when your muscles and tendons are already warm and it increases the flexibility of your muscles. You can go through some asanas to further stretch the muscles that you’ve already worked out. Doing yoga right after a workout can also help you get out of the aggressive iron-singling mentality and maintain a foam rolling routine.
Yoga and exercise are vital in improving health at all levels, be it physical, psychological, or emotional. Before incorporating yoga into your daily routine, it is always important that you know the benefits and factors associated with each style of practice. Read on to learn more.
Yoga For Good Health
Yoga has been practiced for more than 5000 years and now more than 11 million Americans are reaping its health benefits. Most yoga classes focus on learning the physical poses – the Asanas – offering myriads of health benefits to people of different age groups. Even if you are up for some fancy headstands, simply focusing your body into the current moment can slew a lot of health benefits, some of which are discussed below.
A study published in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal proves that a single class of yoga can swirl you away from your depression, anger, tension, and even hostility.
Reduces Back Ache
Attending 2 yoga classes per week can reduce your chronic backache. Yoga has also been proven as an effective remedy for reducing lower (lumber) backache, as per this study.
Improves Heart Health
Evidence suggests that doing yoga is as effective as cycling, especially for people who want to follow a more aerobic type of exercise. While some yoga classes can put an increased pressure on your heart, most of them tend to reduce hypertension and other cardiovascular complications.
Improves the Quality of Sleep
Research proves that doing yoga every day can help you get to bed earlier and sleep longer and better. Just 10 minutes of yoga every day can be a great remedy for insomnia for many people.
Improves the Flexibility of Muscles
Yoga has been famously used around the world due to its ability to flex nearly every muscle of the body. A study proved that doing yoga three times a day can improve the flexibility of muscles as early as 8 weeks.
Simply put, yoga can be a great addition to your daily activity if you want to decrease stress, be it physical or mental.
Should You Do Yoga Before or After A Workout?
Yoga can be an excellent complement to your workout regime even if this includes exercises that are not linked to yoga. Should you be doing yoga before or after a workout is really a matter of preference and the style of yoga you are choosing.
If you are doing a really slow, calm, and stretching style of yoga, it’s probably best if you do it after working out. So, hit the gym, work out rigorously, get out that sweat, and give your stamina a kick. After that, you can go and take a relaxing yoga class where you can stretch some of those muscles that you’ve just worked really hard. That way, you can feel relaxed for the rest of your day or evening. In short, if you are doing a hard workout, opt for an easier and calming style of yoga.
If you switch between the two exercises and go for a more rigorous and difficult style of yoga, you should be working on your stamina and strength during your yoga workout. So, consider going for yoga first and when you feel like your blood is pumping and you are ready to conquer the world, go for a run or do something that you think is a moderate kind of workout.
Following are some of the benefits of doing yoga before or after a workout.
Doing Yoga Before a Workout
Individuals who cherish yoga know that there are some yoga poses which may prove to be a workout themselves. Such poses can be too much for the body, especially when you have already gone through a rigorous session of training and are best performed before a workout session.
Performing yoga before hitting the gym can be more beneficial for your workout than you think. Here’s why:
Warming up the body
People who have been doing rigorous workouts can understand the importance of a warm-up before doing one. Although it may seem like a burden, believe us, it will certainly pay off.
As soon as you start doing yoga before a workout, your body tissues will open up and break any adhesion, thereby, preparing your body for any kind of workout. There are some yoga positions that require full body rotations. Such positions can increase the flexibility of your body and can reduce muscle cramps during heavy lifting and training.
Increasing your Stamina
Performing the famous warrior pose is advisable before going to a gym or starting a rigorous training. This yoga pose will ensure that your stamina is increased and the stress in your shoulders is released. Pre-workout yoga is also helpful because it increases the total time of exercising by combing yoga and the workout.
Yoga After a Workout
There are certain calming styles of yoga which may prove to be an excellent post-workout option. This is what post-workout yoga can do for you:
Cooling down the body
Yoga is a perfect way to cool down your body after a workout. Doing some soothing and calming poses of yoga can help you stretch the muscles that you just trained. This will reduce soreness and speed up the healing of body tissues that have been worn out due to strenuous exercise sessions.
Increasing the Oxygen Supply
The most important part of a post-workout routine is to find ways to increase the oxygen utilization of the body. The shoulder-stand style of yoga has been proven to be extremely efficient in replenishing the depleted oxygen supplies. As the oxygen supplies build up in your body, your muscles start recovering and growing.
Calming down your body
Performing calming poses of yoga after a workout can be very beneficial. They can help to lower your adrenaline and dopamine levels. This will ensure that you get a good night’s sleep after your evening workout. Yoga can be particularly helpful especially if you have trouble falling asleep after a workout.
Quicker recovery from pain
The corpse pose (savasana) is vital in providing deep relaxation and restoration for the entire body and mind. It is a perfect yoga position after a workout as it relaxes the sympathetic nervous system and relieves any headache or fatigue caused by rigorous training. This position can help integrate the entire yoga practice into your mind and body.
Clears the toxins created due to exercise
The Kapalbhati (Skull Shining Breath) can be a perfect post-workout yoga position. It clears all the nadis (the energy channels) as well as the sinuses, lungs, and the rest of the respiratory system. This position will increase the metabolism and will tone the abdomen. This, in turn, will enable the body to release all the toxins either through breath or through the GI tract. Yoga after a workout will also help to improve circulation and rejuvenate brain cells.
Some Yoga Poses To Try
While most of the people consider yoga as a complicated form of exercise, it is actually the opposite. If you woke up this morning and overextended your arms in a vertical or horizontal position, you’ve already done yoga. It is a way to introduce mindfulness into exercises and to make you more aware of your body alignment. It enables you to feel how various positions work for your body. Below are some of the poses you can follow either before or after a workout.
The majority of the yoga poses – including the mountain pose (also known as Tadasana) – will seem very easy but this does not mean they are actually easy to follow. While this pose appears to be simply erecting your body straight, in reality, it can be a bit challenging.
Your body is doing a lot of work as you practice the mountain pose. Your heels are rooting down, your bones are being stacked, and your muscles are becoming fully engaged. If you are able to maintain shallow breaths, Tadasana can be an amazing yoga pose to start with.
Raised Arms Pose
This pose can simply look like a stretch, but it will enable you to focus on maintaining the alignment of your body. Simply inhale and bring your arms above your head and you will reach the Urdhva Hastansana pose. You can gaze up to see your hands, which will enable stretching your ocular muscles too.
Standing Forward Bend
The Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana pose consists of exhaling and folding your legs into a forward bend. If your muscles are feeling a little tighter, bend your knees to a few degrees. This will aid in releasing your spine and making the whole practice more comfortable. It’s completely up to you if you want to keep your feet touching each other or slightly separated.
This position is quite normal for children but may be more challenging for adults, mainly because we lose the flair for it as we age. Come into a squat position by moving your feet to the edges of the mat and then bend your knees. Following the garland pose can reduce the effects of sitting long hours in chairs and can reduce the fatigue associated with long drives.
The famous plank pose is a classical position for doing pushups. You can micro bend your elbows if they are hyperextending too much. Take five breaths while holding this pose and then rest for a while.
Exercise and meditation promote your health at all levels, be it physical, psychological, or emotional. Although both forms of exercise are equally important, performing one after the other can have different effects on your body. Before choosing whether to do yoga before or after a workout, it is best that you understand the benefits of each practice beforehand.
Performing yoga after a workout has proven to be more beneficial. It can help you cool down your body, relax your muscles, get rid of toxins, and get a better sleep. A very gentle Hatha with long and slow cooling movements and asanas will ensure you get rid of all the post-workout problems.