Yoga is breathing control, simple meditation and the adoption of different postures.  But a quick scroll through social media will show you lots of contorted bodies on white sandy beaches in far flung locations that make yoga look like something other people do. Don’t let that put you off. There are some incredible benefits to be had.

Glasgow isn’t without its fair share of yoga studios and devoted yogis. If you’re all about strength training you might have written it off but you don’t need to commit to it daily, burn incense and wear tie dye to get the most out of it.  There are 14 types of yoga, the style of each is very different. Hatha is smooth and relaxing for example, while Ashtanga is more challenging.

The Reactive trainers recently took part in the Broga teacher training course. Broga offers a style of yoga that promotes strength and conditioning. It promises the “pumped up feeling of working out” as well as deep flexibility and relaxation. What’s not to love?

As the name suggests, we are about to trial Broga for our male gym members. But also as part of the women’s personal training and group training sessions. It is for everyone! Broga has been popular the world over. This Huffington Post article talks about how it was first invented to appeal to men as a sportier form of yoga. It has since become popular with women too in line with the increase in popularity of women’s strength training.

Yoga – The Stress Solution

Now for some real talk; stress is a part of modern life but too much stress will impact your training and your health. We know that long-term stress can have an adverse effect on mental health and well-being. We also know it has a corrosive effect at a cellular level on all the systems in the body. It can even go on to damage your immune system. There is tonnes of academic research into the subject, you can read all about it here.

If further reading hasn’t convinced you of the dangers of prolonged stress. Cortisol – the stress hormone can also play havoc with your body. Increased exposure to it increases your visceral fat, in particular abdominal fat. Fat around the middle is the most dangerous kind, linked to cardiovascular disease and a host of other dangerous diseases. So its more important than ever to relax!

It’s not the only answer but yoga offers a simple way to help manage every day stress.  It is also another form of active recovery and helps to maintain strength and flexibility on your ‘days off’.

We know that exercise is great for improving energy levels and can help towards a better night’s sleep. Yoga in particular is proven to help if you struggle to drift off and achieve a full eight hours of sleep a night.  Harvard Health performed a national survey in the US of people who practised yoga and not only did 85% of them say it lowered their stress levels but 55% said it helped them sleep better.

male and female yoga class

Photo by Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash

Strength Training & Yoga

There’s a positive knock on effect from strength training in that it helps all other kinds of training that you do and yoga is no different. The stronger you are, the longer you will be able to hold postures and get the most out of every move. Yoga also elongates the body and obviously provides a great stretch which can aid recovery from strength training.

Most women’s personal training still focuses on traditional cardio and can shy away from the weights. If you are still struggling to get on board with strength training then yoga offers the perfect way to build muscle with body weight. The more strenuous forms, including Broga will push you that bit further too and provide enough cardio to get the heart rate up.

Yoga is also one of the best exercises for strengthening most muscle groups. It is one of the best examples of an exercise where you can utilise the large and small muscle groups at the same time. This is achieved when the poses require arching, twisting and pressing to get into the postures. Ultimately this can work muscles much harder than focusing on one major muscle group at a time.  Take your triceps as an example, performing tricep dips will work that muscle alone but if you were to attempt an inverted yoga move, you will work your shoulders, triceps and deltoids as you support and balance body weight! It’s also a great distraction. Focusing on getting into postures and getting them right almost detracts from any difficulty or discomfort. But it’s the accompanying deep breathing, deep stretching and increased blood flow that will complement any strength training you do.

Give Broga a Try (it’s for women too!)

If you’re new to yoga, the trial Broga sessions at Reactive will be a great place to start. These are brand new classes to the gym, so everyone is learning together. Most postures can be adapted and there’s options for everyone. If you’re an existing member or someone who is further along with your fitness journey and has lots of strength training experience, yoga is a great way to increase mobility and flexibility. It can reduce your recovery time and help build upon your existing strength training.

If you are interested in giving Broga a try or attending any of our women’s personal training, group training and general gym sessions in Glasgow, then get in touch here.  There is a high level of coaching and groups are kept small so that every members specific coaching needs can be monitored and adapted. We work to your ability and goals and there’s loads of additional support from the coaches and other members. If you’d like an informal chat or need some quick answers to your questions, you can also reach us via Facebook – Until next time, NAMASTE!