A well-toned body means you have strong muscles, and with each training, your muscle mass grows, and the body fat reduces. Thus, this effect becomes visible when you look at yourself in the mirror. More often, people want to get in shape their arms, abs, and thighs.
So to give you hope, I’d say that yoga can surely help you tone the whole body without extra equipment. Still, the results for a beginner and an intermediate or advanced practitioner will differ.
While many pieces of research prove yoga benefits for mental and spiritual well-being, people still argue whether yoga can tone your body and help you look more fit. Can it replace working out in a gym? And will it provide the same effect on your physique? Do you need to pair yoga sessions with running or cycling to improve the results? We’ll discuss all these in the article today.
How Does Yoga Tone Your Body?
Yoga does its thing insensibly!
Regular and consistent yoga practice significantly changes your body appearance. The more you practice, the more noticeable the changes will be. With time, your posture, the way you walk and sit change; your muscles form and mass will become different; even your skin condition will improve.
Yoga offers you a range of bodyweight exercises similar to weightlifting you may have done in a gym. Such postures as Navasana or Chaturanga use your body weight to gain muscle strength and overall stamina. Triangle pose challenges major core and back muscle groups to enhance balance and flexibility. Using these poses regularly provides enough resistance to make your muscles contract and grow extra muscle fibers. Holding such postures for more extended periods increases endurance not only in muscles but in your mind too.
In addition, Sun salutations speed up the lymph flow and warm up your muscles and joints. While such exercise as the Wind pose helps to massage your gut and enhance digestion.
All these poses harmonically fit into sessions with a convenient duration from 30 to 90 minutes, depending on your practice’s intensity and fitness level.
So to sum up the above, I can surely say such a holistic yoga approach tones your body, improves overall health, creates that tight ab, and helps lose weight in a natural way.
How Long Does Yoga Take To Tone Your Muscles?
As a beginner, you get visible results sooner than those who have been practicing for several months. This happens because, at the start of your practice, the stress related to a new position and load your muscles get is more considerable.
With time your muscles and neurological systems adjust to the exercising and eventually reach their peak mass. This is when you will need to change the practice if you want to tone your body further. To get to this point, you’ll need from 4 to 6 weeks of doing yoga.
What Type of Yoga Is Best to Tone Your Body?
Basic postures that help tone your body, such as Plank, Chaturanga, or Downward facing dog, can be found in any yoga style. But some yoga types are better if you want to get super-cut biceps and bust some extra calories.
Power yoga is a good choice that includes many exercises where you use your body weight as equipment for the training. With this yoga style, you can increase your strength within a few weeks as a beginner.
Hatha yoga is a softer practice if you don’t want to push yourself too much. But even with its light sessions, you’ll be able to get your body in shape quickly. A study by Human Performance Laboratory in Wisconsin shows even a short 8-weeks practice (3 yoga sessions per week, 55 minutes long) increases the number of push-ups you can handle in a row.
If you want more, proceed on to the Ashtanga class. This yoga style includes fixed sequences of poses divided into three series. The complexity of each series increases gradually. This practice is more advanced than Hatha, so it is enough to challenge your abdominals, hands, and legs even with its 1st series. I’ve added an example of a nice guided Ashtanga session below:
What Yoga Poses Are Best to Tone the Body?
Below I’ve put together some basic poses to tone your body with yoga:
Poses to Tone Arms
- Chaturanga is known as a yogi push-up. It aims at the biceps, triceps, and upper chest muscles.
- Downward Facing Dog is literally the pose that involves all muscles as you stay in it. However, if you target to tone the arms – try pressing the index finger to the mat more and squeezing your elbows inwards.
- Dolphin Pose builds strength in small arm muscles and improves shoulder joints stability.
Poses to Strengthen Core
- Triangle pose (Utthita Trikonasana) strengthens and stretches the side body muscles.
- Revolved Triangle pose (Parivrtta Trikonasana) engages deep core muscles and develops a firm abdominal wall that helps your belly look hot.
- Plank pose tones whole body muscles.
Poses to Tone Legs and Thighs
The thing I like about yoga is that it’s like a Lego. You can use the instructor’s flows you’ve learned in the class, or you can create your own based on personal needs. With yoga, you can exercise new sequences every day and get creative; thus, getting your body in shape is not exhausting anymore but becomes fun.
Quick note: Developing muscles is more of a process than an action. Schedule a few days to rest between yoga sessions to give your muscles time to build new cells and restore them. Don’t exhaust yourself with yoga trying to tone your body faster.
Is Yoga Better than Gym?
I do believe yoga is more convenient and effective than gym workouts. Primarily because of these:
Yoga exercise can be done anytime and anywhere
Well, almost anywhere. Seriously, no heavy dumbbells, which you need to put in your backpack when you travel; only grab your yoga mat, and you’re done. And in your lazy days, you can even skip laying your yoga mat and practice on the floor.
Fun fact: Ancient yogis did not have any yoga mats. They used to practice on the bare floor or ground, sometimes rugs made of animal skin or cotton. Maybe you have one?
Plus, gym training usually isolates one group of muscles and work with it
In a gym, you repeat one exercise over and over again. It sounds boring and looks the same.
In yoga, poses are designed to affect different groups of muscles, joints, and, in some cases, even bones. And no matter if you aim to tone your body with yoga or just lose weight – no muscle can escape yoga impact.
Some would argue that yoga doesn’t give you cardio
Really?! But have you tried doing 10, 20, and more Sun salutations in a row? I bet you didn’t! Even such a simple set as Sun Salutation increases your heart rate and makes you sweat and lose those calories.
To Wrap Up
Yoga provides a safe and gentle toning effect not only on targeted muscles but on you in general. For a guaranteed outcome, be sure to learn how to do each pose correctly, eat healthily, and don’t skip your yoga classes.
Namaste! Have an enjoyable practice today!