How Weightlifting Can Benefit Your Yoga Practice?
In the past, people had more active lives, worked on the fields and trained strength daily through their manual work. That was also the life of yogis, and for them, the practice of Yoga was enough. Today our lives are, more or less, sedentary, we don’t have natural daily challenges, so we have to make them for ourselves. People need both, relaxation and explosive strength to stay healthy and strong, and to continue their growth mentally and physically.
Some people are naturally flexible, and if their strength doesn’t support this, they could easily injure themselves in a yoga class. Weightlifting builds up strength and makes poses more effective and less dangerous. When you start practicing yoga, almost everything you do builds up your strength, but with time everything becomes easy for your body to perform and it stops progressing, the muscles don’t get stronger, you are mostly just maintaining what you already achieved. In weightlifting, progressive overload, or lifting heavier with time, allows you to keep going forward. In a yoga class you don’t have to focus on that, but solely on the practice and you could also see that the poses become more intense for you. It is of great importance to balance strength and flexibility, and although yoga combines both, it usually focuses more on flexibility, so doing some weightlifting could be the balancing stick that holds your practice together. When you are strong and flexible at the same time, it is easier to be aware of your muscles while working out. This kind of balance in the body also allows faster and greater progression.
It might be hard to keep doing yoga daily if your life is stressful and intense. Too many people give up yoga because they don’t feel like it takes out all of their energy, but it might just mean it is not enough. They need to get rid of all the concentrated stress to be able to calm completely and become present enough for yoga.
Regarding your practice schedule, you can choose to practice yoga and go to the gym on nonconsecutive days which will give you enough time for rest. If you want to keep doing yoga every day, do a class in the morning and then go to the gym in the evening. You could also do yoga after the gym, but then you should do a restorative practice, maybe Hatha or Yin, to balance out the energies and to stretch the muscles you just worked on. Choose exercises which focus on more muscles at the same time, such as deadlift, squats or bench, because overdeveloping of only one muscle in the group could throw your body out of balance.
In the end, if you believe that going to the gym is unconnectable with the spirituality of yoga, try to come there with the same mind and awareness of breath as in yoga. Try to meditate as much as you can while you do it, and you will find that it is not all that different after all.