Some of us prefer hardcore, intense training that makes our heart race. Others prefer more relaxed or drawn-out workout routines.
That being said, yoga can offer powerful benefits to your routine, including joint stability, muscle strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. You can utilize yoga as a recovery for the rest of the day or incorporate moves into your daily workout routine.
Believe it or not, yoga poses are not just for passive stretching.
In most yoga poses, you want to integrate the muscles while lengthening for an eccentric contraction. This helps avoid hyperextending, promotes strengthening and muscle activation, while elongating and providing stability around the joints.
In other words, you will be exercising safer, and your workout routine will be a lot smoother.
Here are a few fundamental techniques to incorporate and improve your fitness routine. When focusing on lengthening, postures should be held for a minimum of 30 seconds.
8 Yoga Poses to Improve Your Workout Routine
Lengthen and Recover (4 Poses)
Stretching is a key component in keeping our full range of motion, and keeping the pain from tight or overactive muscles at bay.
Try these poses for increased mobility:
1. Low Lunge
From a table position place one foot in between your hands, keeping the front knee above the ankle allows the hips to sink, pull the belly button into the spine activating the core and bring your hands onto your front knee.
Then gently tuck the tailbone, continuing to engage the core, pulling the ribs back toward the spine, grounding through the front foot, as it remains in place, energetically pull the front heel towards the knee on the mat.
Taking the energetic pull, you will feel the front hamstrings activate and the back (posterior) leg hip flexor muscles.
2. Half Pyramid
From the low lunge position place your hands on the mat framing your foot, lean your hips back directly over the posterior knee as you straighten your front leg pointing your toes up to the ceiling.
Elongate your spine as you inhale and exhale folding forward at the hip creases, engage the front quadriceps, continue pressing the front heel into the mat as you energetically pull the front wheel toward the posterior knee.
The engagement of the quadriceps and the energetic pull will activate the hamstrings and calf muscles while further elongating.
3. Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Stand with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, the edges of your feet should line with the edges of your mat (it may even feel a bit pigeon-toed), if you have tight hamstrings you can take a slight bend in the knee.
If you have the flexibility engage your quads, yoga for beginners forward at the hips, keeping the spine long, into a forward fold, there is a tendency to lean into the heels, lean slightly forward spreading the weight into the toes so that the hips are in line with the ankles.
4. Supine Pigeon
Laying on your back bend your knees and plant your feet onto the mat, cross one ankle over the opposing knee, pressing the lifted knee out away from the body.
Lift the planted knee towards your chest, interlace your fingers at the belly of the hamstring, relax your shoulders.
Balancing Act (1 Pose)
Balance postures can aid in stabilization, joint integrity, and core strength.
Try these poses to improve balance, coordination, stability, and find your center of gravity:
From a standing position, shift your weight into one leg, externally rotate the opposite leg and place the sole onto the opposing ankle, calf, or inner thigh.
Careful not to rest the foot onto the knee joint. Engage the standing quadriceps, and pull the belly button to the spine, keep the hips parallel to each-other activating the supporting leg’s glutenous mediums.
The hands can rest on the hips, reach above the head, or sway to test your balance. If you like a challenge, you can play with closing your eyes.
Strength (3 Poses)
Core strength is a necessary foundation for spinal support and stability.
Try these poses for core strength:
6. Bird Dog
Start on all fours in a table position, shoulders over wrists, hips over knees, pull the belly button to the spine engaging your core (you should feel like you have a flat back), extend one leg straight back, tighten your glutes and press through the heel like there is a wall behind you, reach the opposing arm forward, hold for endurance before releasing.
Come into a seated position with your knees bent and your feet planted on the floor. Elongate the spine, pull the belly button in to activate the core, raise the knees toward your chest and bring your feet in line with your knees, for more of a challenge you can straighten the legs up or reach your arms forward in front of you.
You can complete an ab exercise set by keeping the core tight and lengthening down to hover your shoulders and your legs above the mat, hold, and rise back up into the boat.
Lay on your back with your hands by your sides, turn your gaze forward toward the top of your mat, the gentle press of your pelvic bone.
Into the yoga mat and pull the belly button toward the spine to ignite the core, lift the chest and the feet simultaneously while squeezing the glutes, hold for 3-5 breaths, and release.
Power is as Important as Recovery
Remember the importance of balance in any routine, rest and recovery are as valuable as rigor and strength. We all might not end up in a yoga studio ujjayi breathing together, but we can adapt its many fruitful rewards.
Yoga Products you May Be Interested In:
These yoga poses for workout routines will help you to revitalize your muscles and get your full body ready to perform exercises safely and effectively.
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This is a guest post by Amber DiPietro. A certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, conditioning coach, holistic health and wellness coach, and yoga instructor. Her mission is to educate and encourage individuals to their optimal performance mentally and physically. Website: Pravasanayoga.com
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