Iron Yoga: Mind Over Muscle
Multitasking in yoga class: While you're balancing on one foot, why not do bicep curls, too?
WebMD News Archive
Mind Over Muscle continued...
For those who want to bulk up, iron yoga does offer benefits, he
People who work with weights often just "throw the weights around,"
Carillo tells WebMD. "They're not using them properly. What's nice about
iron yoga is that every movement is controlled with the breath. You're doing
deeper and fuller breaths, slower movements, so you achieve shaping, toning,
"Back in the weight room, you find yourself focusing better, controlling
your movements and your breath -- all of which improves your weight-lifting
workout," he says.
In fact, iron yoga helps Carillo and other athletes better deal with
overexertion during marathon runs. "Athletes have very short, shallow
breathing. In yoga, you practice deep abdominal breathing. When you run a race,
there's a point when getting your next breath is a challenge. Yoga has opened a
new oxygen source for me through breath awareness."
It's All Good
"Yoga, strength training, and aerobics are good, but one does not
replace another," says Sal Fichera, an exercise physiologist, owner of
Forza Fitness in New York City, and spokesman for the American Council on
Exercise. He offered to comment on Carillo's program.
"There are benefits specific to every modality of exercise. Granted
there are benefits that do overlap," he tells WebMD. "But normal
weight lifting and doing 60 minutes of iron yoga will produce different
results, because they have different effects on the muscles. With light
weights, you'll definitely feel a burn. But it won't generate the same results
as if you used heavier weights."
Tony Sanchez teaches yoga class at the San Francisco Yoga Studio and has
been practicing yoga since 1976.
Sanchez trained in India, where a weight-lifting room was available for
people who couldn't do certain poses -- to help them build strength. "If
someone is very flexible, it's not unusual that they don't have very much
strength," he tells WebMD. "But the two [disciplines] were
"I see some benefits to iron yoga, but I also see some dangers,"
There's the danger of getting hurt -- falling over or straining muscles, he
points out. "Especially if you're doing the Warrior or Sun Salutation poses
-- extending postures -- they require a lot of balance, a lot of concentration,
alignment and weight distribution. When you incorporate another element into
the pose, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the posture."
Bottom line: You could lose your balance. Like that never happens in yoga