We all know about the plethora of benefits that come with exercising regularly, and it’s no different when it comes to yoga. Yoga is an excellent form of exercise no matter your fitness level, and it’s the perfect complimentary activity for someone wanting to enhance their existing workout routine. However, if you’re a fan of both yoga and other types of exercise, you may be wondering how you can fit the two together in your schedule, specifically the order you should do them in. For example, can a workout come right before or after yoga?
It is generally safe to work out after practicing yoga. However, the style of yoga you participate in will play a huge factor in how well you can perform during a workout routine afterward.
In many cases, people prefer to practice yoga to stretch the muscles first before going into a workout session. However, the order in which you should perform these fitness activities comes down to personal preference, your health goals, and the types of yoga you enjoy. But, for the remainder of this article, we’ll discuss how you can maximize your health goals when working out after yoga.
Why Should You Work Out After Yoga?
Because yoga is a form of exercise on its own, you may be wondering why it’s necessary to work out after practicing it. After all, yoga shares several of the same benefits as other methods of exercise, including:
- Weight reduction
- Improves athletic performance
- May reduce the risk of heart disease
- Improves mental health
- Improves quality of sleep
- Reduces stress levels
- May decrease depression symptoms
However, working out and doing yoga can both be part of living a healthy lifestyle! In fact, it is often recommended that people switch up exercises regularly to offer new challenges and to avoid getting bored with the same routine.
When we perform exercises such as running or weightlifting, our body experiences resistance; it is during this resistance that we create small tears in our muscle fibers. When the connective tissues in these areas start to rebuild, the muscle becomes stronger.
Yoga, on the other hand, is a physical activity designed to help those same muscles relax and become flexible. This is especially beneficial before a workout routine, as your body will have the opportunity to soften those muscles through specific stretches to help reduce tension and the level of soreness you may feel later in the day.
Why is Stretching Important?
According to Sports Rec, “Stretching with proper technique can help to promote efficient circulation of your blood. The circulation allows oxygen and nutrients to be carried to your organs and muscles, which they need for proper function, strength, movement, and flexibility.”
In other words, stretching offers benefits for both your body and your performance during exercise, including:
- Improves posture
- Increases flexibility
- Increases blood flow
- Increases range of motion
Again, yoga is an excellent activity to partake in before a workout (even as little as a five to ten-minute session) because it can offer stretches that provide these benefits.
Best Yoga Stretches for a Pre-Workout
Of course, as we mentioned, the style of yoga you choose to participate in will help determine how well you can perform in your workout routine after.
The most important thing to consider when choosing the appropriate yoga style before a workout is the stretches involved. In general, there are two different stretching techniques used in yoga: static stretching and dynamic stretching. While both help improve your body’s overall performance, each technique has its own set of unique benefits and play a specific role in how your body responds and functions.
Static stretching is used to build strength in target areas through a series of positions held for some time. It can help improve your range of motion and muscle flexibility and reduce stress and stiffness in tight muscles—all things people may experience following a high-intensity workout.
Examples of Static Stretches:
- Triceps Stretch
- Cobra Pose
- Biceps Stretch
- Seated Butterfly Stretch
- Head to Knee Forward Bend
- Neck Stretch
Dynamic stretching is usually a series of stretches performed through continuous movements as opposed to holding them like in static stretches. It can help warm up your body, reduce the risk of injury, and aids with extension. Dynamic stretches can even be specific to an activity or sport.
Examples of Dynamic Stretches:
- Hamstring Stretch
- Standing Arm circles
- Walking High Kicks
- Jumping Jacks
- Shoulder Stretch
- Lower Back Stretch
These stretches can help prepare your body for more intensive activities, such as participating in sports or cardiovascular exercises like running.
If you want to work out after yoga, it is best to practice a yoga style that involves more dynamic stretching to warm up first. Yoga with more static stretches, on the other hand, is best suited for adding to an exercise routine after a workout.
Types of Yoga with Dynamic Stretching
Because the best yoga session before a workout is one that involves dynamic stretching, it’s essential to make sure that the type of yoga you participate in fulfills that need. There are plenty of different disciplines of yoga, but not all of them may involve dynamic stretching.
With that said, below are a few examples of dynamic-infused yoga worth checking out:
- Vinyasa Flow Yoga: Considered the “most athletic yoga,” this type of yoga uses fluidity through a combination of movements going from one pose to another in a fast-paced manner.
- Power Yoga: If you’re looking for a fast-paced, intense form of yoga, this one is for you. This form of yoga includes handstands, push-ups, and toe touches at an accelerated pace.
- Kundalini yoga: Although vigorous, this style of yoga is a good option for both beginners and those more advanced at the practice because of all the physical and mental benefits you can receive.
- Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga: Not well-suited for the beginner due to the physical demands and the postures practiced both standing and sitting, but great for advanced practitioners.
- Kali Ray Tri Yoga: A system of yoga derived from the Hatha tradition, this form of yoga is offered through a series of classes from Basics to Level 7 to fit the needs from the beginner to the more advanced yogi.
No matter which type of yoga you discover that works well for you, they all provide, through regular practice, the tools to increase your strength, improve your flexibility and balance, and encourage both mental and physical discipline.
Note: If you’re trying to take a specific class that offers one of the above-mentioned yoga disciplines, remember that the overall methods may differ from instructor to instructor. Ask questions before starting the class to ensure that it can provide the type of experience you’re looking for.
In conclusion, you can most certainly work out after practicing yoga, as long as you perform the right stretches that are more conducive to a pre-workout routine, like dynamic stretches, which promote movement—rather than held positions—to help warm the body up.
There are various types of yoga that include dynamic stretching for this purpose, including Vinyasa Flow, Power, Kundalini, Ashtanga Vinyasa, and Kali Ray Tri yoga. Practicing one of these many disciplines can help you mentally and physically better prepare for even the most intensive workout right after.
Just remember if you decide to practice yoga and workout back to back that you stay mindful of your body’s needs. If you feel exhausted, it’s okay to stop and take a break or even leave a little time in-between each activity for a rest period. Just make sure you don’t overexert yourself.
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