I was the stiffest person in every yoga class I took two years. When Yoga practice took hold inside me, and the desire to advance in the poses, to open my body, grew strong, I was convinced that - since many people had told me this - in order that i can become flexible, I it is fair to lose muscle mass.
Jump ahead many a few years. While I've not turned into a bendy yogi -like those uber flexi girls that look like they were born perfectly into a circus family - my body system is much more open, and postures I'd assumed I would never have the ability to do are regular the different parts of my daily yoga.
Much has been discussed the benefits of resistance (strength) training. It's helpful for general health, metabolism and youthening. You can call resistance training anti-aging actually better, physical immortality training, and you can see how well it's documented technically.
A friend who's a fitness buff, and who became dedicated to yoga years ago, struggles with oscillations between the gym as well as the shala (yoga school). Her big question is - how to get air cleaners and how both? Specifically, how to get the tremendous benefits of coaching (weight training) while still progressively deepening her yoga practice. Being a scientist, she researched the literature and documented reports.
The results she found (until now) were adamantly conclusive. It can't be done, these reports said - they are mutually exclusive endeavors. What you're doing in the gym sets back your yoga practice and what you do in the shala will undermine your strength mentoring.
I can say it's not true. While it possibly be true that the challenge of increasing flexibility for an individual with large amounts of muscle mass may be tremendous, it can performed. And for someone with less muscle compared to they would like, they can build it without problems on their flexibility. In fact, the added strength a great asset to their adjustability.
Resistance training involves taking muscle fibers out of their comfort zone, taking them beyond what they think they can do educate them that they have a higher potential. Each time you do this - and then allow time for recovery and rebuilding - the muscle fiber becomes bigger and better. It's the same process we undertake with pilates. And although there are manifold benefits from the physical part of us reaching a higher potential, the greater benefit is a result of that process as metaphor. Just like there are benefits in standing on one's head. Yet a far better benefit is produced by learning we can undertake it we previously thought we couldn't.
Now, each time I lift a few pounds - whether it's my own body or a dumbbell - I with the express purpose of realizing more of my potential. The term bodybuilding fits better than lifting weights. Within each session, I somehow top whatever I did in the previous session, either much more sets, a slower movement, a heavier weight or more repetitions. My body has come to anticipate more from my family. And so have I. When we expect more from someone or something, making use of result is folks get more. I've been amazed to find quickly and efficiently my body has responded to the increased demands. Muscles have raised rapidly. My shape has changed noticeably in the last 6 months. Moreover I feel better than ever. That I look better is often a welcome side effect.
The body - like all systems - craves balance, and will always find it inside the right conditions. Greater strength - which results in greater stability - allows the body more flexibility.
My experiment has clearly shown me that not only is muscle mass not a detriment to flexibility, it's a boon to this method. My own yoga practice has continued to produce with the addition of strength training. I practice asana in the mornings like usual, then 3-5 days a week I invest an hour or so or less on resistance training. Another 4 days 1 week I walk an afternoons.
The question I frequently ask - 'how good can it get?' - keeps revealing more as well as more delightful answers. Greater joy in your body may contribute to greater joy in most aspect of our lifetimes. And it's ten times more likely when we approach all we do with the smiling potential of 'may this create more love and joy in the realm.'