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Is Yoga enough?


Flo
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Hi!

I am new to the group here! I did an introduction in the intro forum.

I am 29, vegan and I have been an Ashtanga Yoga student for about a year now.

Through changing my diet and making healthier decisions plus including Ashtanga Yoga I was able to go from 149 to 130 in a year.

I am very happy with my results because I feel SO much better than I did a year ago and it has encouraged a continuous growth in my attention to my health. I am not so much looking to lose more weight. Mainly to firm up and trim the fat!

I am 5 foot 4 and 130 don’t seem bad.

But here is me in my bathing suit last week at a yoga retreat.

It takes a lot for a girl to post a picture in her bathing suit!!!

 

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2262/2366572134_4db7cab238.jpg

 

See. I feel beautiful, but I don't feel STRONG.

I want to build muscle and definition and feel stronger.

I do not want to stray away from my Ashtanga yoga, but I am not certain if Yoga alone can create the muscle and strength I need?

So, for you Yogis out there what other exercises do you include in your routine?

I know that my yoga practice will also improve once I build more muscle.

Thanks for any input!

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No.

 

Yoga is great for flexibility, *basic* strength, and stress control. You got the gains you did because you started from zero and cleaned up bad habits ( not doing anything ).

 

If you do a LOT more yoga you might get some more gains, but you will get many more fitness gains in less time with other types of exercise from this point on.

 

A good regime includes all three types of exericse: cardio, strength training, and flexibility training.

 

If you have a lot of fat to lose, cardio should dominate your workout time. You should monitor your calorie intake. 1-2 bad snacks a day can replace the energy you lost by working out like a bear on some cardio machine.

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No.

 

Yoga is great for flexibility, *basic* strength, and stress control. You got the gains you did because you started from zero and cleaned up bad habits ( not doing anything ).

 

If you do a LOT more yoga you might get some more gains, but you will get many more fitness gains in less time with other types of exercise from this point on.

 

A good regime includes all three types of exericse: cardio, strength training, and flexibility training.

 

If you have a lot of fat to lose, cardio should dominate your workout time. You should monitor your calorie intake. 1-2 bad snacks a day can replace the energy you lost by working out like a bear on some cardio machine.

 

I have seen some pretty athletic people doing only yoga. Perhaps try switching to a harder form of yoga or combining more than one type so that you get the benefits of each

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I thought so!

I am pretty clueless when it comes to creating the right routine. I am looking into a gym right across from where I work.

I also need to educate myself more on my food intake. Because I KNOW I am a bad snacker. So what suggestions for a beginner would you give as far as where to start reading about diet and creating a good workout plan?

Sorry to have so many questions!

Thanks for your time.

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I've seen some really muscular people that only do yoga as well. You won't gain much muscle until you're capable of a lot of the more advanced movements but you can get pretty muscular. I've seen a few guys bigger than me(relative to their shorter stature) that only do yoga.

When it comes to books I suggest the "Thrive" by Brendan Brazier(very popular book here). Its not completely performance based and is a great diet for pretty much everyone.

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There are some really hard forms of Yoga out there. I'm not sure if I have the name right but Bikram yoga is supposed to be harder I believe. I don't do Yoga, it's not for me, although I''m pretty flexible, I prefer a barbell or free weights to Downward dogs, and cobras. Anyway I think incorporating some form of strength training would only make you stronger with Yoga. It's also good for raising your metabolism so you end up burning more calories.

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first off, you are doing great! it's really gutsy to show your pic like that, too. "love yourself, at whatever shape you're in", imho, is easier said then done; i suffered for years from poor body self-image. you have come a long way in the past year or so and your story is an inspiration that we can all be motivated by to be the best we can be, and really live life.

 

anyway, i definitely agree with above posters in that the body needs change and challenge. otherwise the efficiency will stay the same, most likely.

 

this is why, in addition to practicing yoga, i also use weights, run, do martial arts, and walk (i.e. extra walking, as opposed to everyday regular walking). basically i change up my routine so that my body is always guessing. i recommend you try some other activities, too. main thing: have fun! otherwise it will be hard to come back to it. and you can alter your routines slightly to challenge yourself and get more results.

 

yoga: you could do poses longer or deeper (which may be hard if you are in a group class but can be easier if you practice alone or take private lessons); weights: it means either using heavier weights or increasing the amount of sets or reps each workout, week, month; running: going further each time or faster...

 

this is why it can be advantageous to document what you do to chart your course. then when you hit the peak of what you can do, start a totally new workout. for me, that keeps it interesting for me mentally and physically. personally, i don't periodize my yoga, i do that more with weights and running. when i practice yoga, i just let how i feel physically, mentally and emotionally right then and there dictate how and where i am going; it can be many things which i usually don't find out til i get there... it can be a spiritual experience, a therapy of sorts, an altered state, an escape, a retreat, and or communion with my self, Self, and others. sure it is physical, too, that is the gateway to inside. but, imho, the physical asanas (poses and movements) are part of but not the whole of yoga.

 

in any event, all the physical stuff be it asanas, weights, running, etc. that's only one half of the whole enchilada (some may even say 10% or less). i remember a personal trainer (can't remember exactly who though) saying that even though working out and being active plays a part in tone and definition, the real contributing factor is what we are eating. . you can workout like a maniac but if you eat like a maniac and your bf% is high, there will be little definition. look at the strongman competitions or football linemen.

 

if you can can get your bodyfat down to a lower percentage than it is now than you will see how much muscularity you have. sure if you build muscle that will boost your metabolism and you'll be burning calories even while you sleep... but imho there is no substitute for a) reducing caloric input or b) reducing caloric input while increasing caloric output.

 

imagine wearing a sweatshirt or a heavy coat and pants. well how can you tell what's underneath?

 

you can only guess, unless you strip down to a t-shirt or spandex.

 

no one can or will say it's easy though; it takes patience, persistence, consistence, dedication, and will power. i think the trick is to not eat less volume food but less calorically dense foods and also to go with a slight decrease as opposed to a drastic amount of calories cut. don't forget to make sure that you keep your blood sugar at normal, too.

 

anyway that's my 2 cents, hope it is insightful and helpful for you; it actually has made me realize that my diet (calories input) is the hole in my game, so to speak. as one poster mentioned above 1-2 bad snacks can undo whatever caloric burn you accomplished.

 

i have worked out like a crazy person over the past 10 years (i just love the high from it) and eaten whatever i wanted to in any amount and although i did drop and keep off about 50 lbs i wasn't disciplined enough to get past the plateau because of it. after being mindful and aware of my eating input i have now got down 10-15lbs and kept that off and i'm inching up to the summit losing my footing every so often but at this time unable to get to the peak. which is my goal. it's really an undertaking and i'd imagine it is for other people who tend to be heavy due to genetics, metabolic type, and or a voracious appetite and love of food (most of the members of this forum?).

 

this is why it's dangerous to dramatically cut calories or forbid foods because you may set yourself up for overeating.

 

alright well i'm going to hit the hay, namaste

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First of all, CONGRATS on your awesome progress! Feeling great is the most important thing...and if you have that accomplished...you are about 10 steps ahead of the game.

 

To your question....

 

I know PLENTY of people (male and female) who only do Yoga as their primary exercise...and they are super strong and have a lean/muscular physique. It is possible but you need to challenge yourself with Level 2-3 classes and be very consistent. Just going a couple times a week to an entry level class wouldn't cut it. This probably holds true for any exercise for that matter.

 

For me, I've found yoga workshops/intensives as a great way to get exposed to new poses and push myself beyond plateaus in my practice. You might want to look into them if you studio hosts them or there are any nearby.

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Thanks! I received some truly inpsirational and kind advice here. Now I see why Nicole talked highly of this place!

I look forward to educating myself more on calorie intake and what my body needs and just up my yoga asanas to a more advanced and more steady routine. I have an elliptical and dumbells at home I will try to incorporate into my routine to keep things new for my body.

Wish me luck & thank you.

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I am not an expert on yoga by any means, but from what I understand, it isn't designed to necessarily build muscle. You could build muscle via yoga, but I think it makes more sense (if building muscle is part of your goal), to also incorporate some other form of training. Definitely, I don't think it will hurt to pump a bit of iron couple of days a week

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here is a short answer to your question as opposed to the long one i posted yesterday followed by a whole lotta of then some. please note i am not an expert either (that'd be a nod to Richard) per se just another traveler on the road.

Q: Is Yoga enough?

 

A: Yes

 

here's why: if you can lower your BF% slowly and steadily through a modest decrease of caloric input coupled with the physically active yoga lifestyle you already are living, then you most likely will be able to see what existing definition you have (this phase would be known as "cutting"; when your BF% is low & you're muscularity is high you'd be "cut up" aka "ripped" or "shredded" where if you're "tone" then you are lean but not too muscular).

 

at that point, if you want to stay the same then you "maintain" (calories in = calories out); on the other hand, if you want more muscle then you introduce weights into your life (come to think of it, you can even do some yoga with weights albeit lighter weights) coupled with a slight increase of caloric input (this phase would be "bulking" to get "mass", be "bulked up" "big" "huge" or an "animal").

 

NOTE: it is near impossible to cut and bulk at the same time. the rub being that when you cut usually you will lose some lean muscle mass along with the fat while when you gain inadvertantly there will be some fat put on along with muscle.

 

it's like the miracle weight loss products and plans that say eat whatever you want, don't exercise, and the fat will just melt off.

 

or the ones that say turn fat into muscle...

 

biologically possible?

 

how?

 

well, maybe you can burn the fat off by using it as energy and then put on muscle but most likely any magical pill is either something like speed, a laxative, or an appetite supressant, or in small print they say to exercise and follow a sensible diet based on fruits, veggies, grains, & beans...

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I do yoga and is yoga enough for me? Not at all.

 

I enjoy skating, biking, breakdancing, lifting weights, swimming, sprinting... you get the idea. If you aren't feeling fulfilled by yoga then don't be afraid to add other activities that you enjoy, it isn't going to throw off your practice. If you don't feel strong enough try lifting weights, you might like it. Same goes for if you want to lose fat, find something fun that doubles as cardio.

 

The post above me is correct that you can't build mass and lose weight at the same time unless you're a beginning lifter (which you are) but you can build strength and lose fat at the same time so that should work out for you if you try it. Good luck.

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i think the question you ask could be rephrased--is yoga enough for YOU to get to where you want to be? well, if you've been only doing yoga to work out, and only ashtanga yoga, and you're not satisfied with your progress, the answer is clearly no, right?

 

i dont know where you practice, but you might seek out other more challenging types of yoga. i have taken yoga classes that have kicked my ass. yoga flow classes can be amazing cardio workouts, just as hard as any step or aerobics class. i am one of t hese people who can build muscle just by THINKING about lifting weights, so building muscle has never been an issue for me. i think there are some people who would probably need weight training in addition to yoga to gain muscle, but i don't think i'm one of them.

 

but, as my trainer always reminds me, diet diet diet!!! you can work out all day every day but if you're not eating right, it won't matter!!

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...but, as my trainer always reminds me, diet diet diet!!! you can work out all day every day but if you're not eating right, it won't matter!!

 

...but, as my trainer always reminds me, diet diet diet!!! you can work out all day every day but if you're not eating right, it won't matter!!

 

exactly, your trainer hit the nail on the head!

 

the amount of bodyfat you carry relative to your lean muscle mass is the equivalent to the amount & type of layers of clothing you wear above your birthday suit; so having higher bodyfat % doesn't mean lack of strength, it just means you're wearing a heavy coat and pants, where low bodyfat % can be akin to prancing about in your tights and a tanktop.

 

the type of diet you eat can be the difference between a clear and a cloudy day (where your muscles are the Sun); diet can surely obscure.

 

even too many calories of healthy vegan food and not enough activity... can result in weight gain.

 

to a certain degree on a simplistic level, it's mathematics:

 

no change: calories in equal calories out

 

weight loss: calories in less than calories out

 

weight gain: calories in greater than calories out

 

personally, i have six pack abs... they are just buried under a pile of chips & dip!

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  • 1 month later...

Yoga is actualy great for mind and body and i advise you to do it all life maby it's even better then tai chi my advise is to move to the more complite yoga there is kundalini that can balance human sexual energyand you might want to see yogi Bajan for this as he intrudeced Kundalini to western world . Btw whatever yoga you do if traditional or new age fake mixed aerobics yoga it's all ways usefull of course achivements are not the same elevated in soul and body but better then nothing , they say the most healthy thing to do is integrate yoga and swimming all life with a vegan mediterranean diet that it's the secret of south europe health . I agree mediterranean diet is the best as dieticians say and base their pyramids on it but make sure you don't miss our precius extra virgin oil cold pressed if you follow it to conclude i think if you follow this http://www.veganfoodpyramid.com/vegan-pyramid-1280x800.jpg with the oil i told you and yoga-swim all your life you will be miss health in person for the rest congrats for your progress eheh .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harbhajan_Singh_Yogi

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You are so cute!

I wanna do yoga, but I don't want to join a class that starts at 6 in the morning! Lol.

Soon, yoga will be coming to the gym I work at and I'll be able to do it.

I am the opposite of you. Strong and defined, but not at all.. Balanced. By balanced I mean I'm a klutz and I am hoping yoga will improve my balance and grace hehe.

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I enjoyed yoga when I did it, but my balance is horrible too. Unfortunately for myself the yoga didn't really help improve my balance. Had I stayed with it longer it may have, I think I just didn't give it enough time. But at least I'm pretty flexible.

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  • 1 month later...

I was in the best shape of my life when I did Ashtanga, cardio and weight lifting.. Ashtanga gives a lot of strength and flexability and does tone but it's good to add the extra stuff In my opinion Ashtanga is the best yoga there is for toning.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for all the responses.

I kind of faded away for a bit. A new job that is crazy demanding has put my life in chaos. I am getting it back together, but working 11 hour days!

Which has hurt my yoga practice and I am now only practicing maybe 2 times a week rather and 5 times like in the past.

So I have gained a bit of weight back. I need to get on track with my diet and a good routine that I can do at home before work.

I have some light free weights (2,5,8 pounds) a medicine ball, a balance ball and of course my trusty yoga mat.

I've been eating pretty poorly. Lots of carbs and not so good snacks. I wonder if a detox or cleanse could help jump start me with a clean slate??

Suggestions?

Hugs to all of you who took time to respond to me.

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Thanks for all the responses.

I kind of faded away for a bit. A new job that is crazy demanding has put my life in chaos. I am getting it back together, but working 11 hour days!

Which has hurt my yoga practice and I am now only practicing maybe 2 times a week rather and 5 times like in the past.

So I have gained a bit of weight back. I need to get on track with my diet and a good routine that I can do at home before work.

I have some light free weights (2,5,8 pounds) a medicine ball, a balance ball and of course my trusty yoga mat.

I've been eating pretty poorly. Lots of carbs and not so good snacks. I wonder if a detox or cleanse could help jump start me with a clean slate??

Suggestions?

Hugs to all of you who took time to respond to me.

 

detox and cleanse could be good; the biggest challenge is what happens after the detox cleanse.

 

what i suggest instead, or in addition to, is a food/activity log.

 

i always find when i record exactly what i eat & drink and what activity i do, most of the time it keeps me eating clean and staying active (and even if i make a bad choice or 2, since i am logging it, it's usually minimal?).

 

in my opinion, the caloric intake is a much larger variable then the caloric expenditure from exercise/activity so i'd focus on high water content and fiber foods, try to minimize or eliminate the calorically dense stuff like nutritionally devoid snacks if that is what you are eating and or stuff like nuts or fried things (of course activity will help maintain muscles, increase metabolic rate, and be good for the mind, too).

 

speaking of activity, i'd try to be consistent, persistent and dedicated to doing some daily physical activity . anything.

 

see if you can work something into your life in anyway even if it's 5-10min here or there. remember if you are trying to lose fat you don't need to go crazy but just keep doing stuff that keeps you challenged or that's enough to maintain your flexibility, strength, and endurance.

 

more importantly, realistic. example, i get on and off the train 3 stops (1.5mi) away so that builds 15-30min walking to my day. and this summer i take our son to summer school before work which is 3.5mi away so i get that, too.

 

i forgot who said it but it goes something like this: it's not what works if you stick to it; it's what you can stick to, that works.

 

lastly speaking of chaos the other day i took a free yoga class in times square nyc on the summer solstice and the teacher said some beautiful things; one was a quote that said peace is not a place with no noise, trouble and hard work but it is calmness in a place of noise, trouble and hard work

 

namaste

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