Yoga is one of the best workout options for gaining muscle and maintaining muscle health. You don’t need a gym, expensive workout equipment or even a lot of time to see the effects yoga has on your muscles. With the endless options yoga has to offer, you can really sculpt your muscles to whatever you desire them to look like. Even better than looking good, yoga has many health benefits on a molecular level.

Yoga is a total body workout, in the sense that it targets the whole body as you practice as opposed to one specific muscle group like the legs or arms. It also burns calories and boosts your metabolism. This effectively leads to equal muscle build up throughout the entire body. Power yoga or vinyasa classes will help you develop muscle even quicker than a traditional yoga class, although both have the same muscle building properties. Yoga uses body weight, resistance and repetition to build muscle. For example, during a 90 min class you may do hundreds of pushups and squats without even noticing, as it is built into the flow of connecting poses.

Yoga doesn’t just build muscle

When practicing Yoga you lengthen and strengthen your muscles, at the same time their flexibility improves. This will lead to an overall toned look as opposed to the built up look of a body builder. It also protects the ligaments and joints surrounding the muscle. This will help prevent injury especially if yoga is paired with other forms of fitness or sports, like running, cross fit, bodybuilding, or anything else that is rough on the body. As you go through your practice all your muscles are being stretched and twisted, allowing fresh oxygenated blood to quickly repair and heal the muscles leaving them feeling good and ready for your next workout or practice.

Key Yoga Poses to Start Gaining Muscle Strength

Some of these poses are:

  • downward facing dog
  • chair pose
  • warrior poses (1,2 and 3)
  • plank pose
  • bridge/wheel pose.

You can do these poses as part of a flow or repetition or just striking a pose and holding it. These poses start by activating your core muscles and then continue to activate your arm and leg muscles as well as the muscles in your back and butt. Yoga doesn’t just strengthen and tone your muscles but it trains them as well. It trains them to perform better in everyday activities. Yoga uses a wide range of motion throughout the asana practice as opposed to the monotonous up and down or back and forth motion you get when training with weights. This varying range of motion also protects the joints and ligaments. During a typical yoga class you will also experience twisting, arching, lengthening and reaching. Yoga stretches the muscle as it contracts, this is what gives your muscles the elongated toned look and not the bulky build up of a weight lifter.

Benefits of Building Muscle

These are more than just looking and feeling good. Muscle strength can increase energy levels, help prevent injury and may even help in the prevention of certain diseases. Paired with eating healthy, yoga has been shown to reverse the effects of diabetes, cardiovascular and heart disease, osteoporosis, hypertension and more.

I cannot recommend Yoga hard enough, so what is holding you back?

Let me know in the comments if you have noticed muscle gain after practicing yoga for a while.

Has Yoga help you with any other aspect of your life? Let me, and the whole community, know about it. You never know how inspiring and empowering your story could be to others!


Let’s build a better world together through the practice of yoga and meditation.