Working out and yoga often go hand in hand. However, should you do one before the other? Knowing the proper timing and techniques will help you feel better and provide you with lasting benefits.
Should you do yoga before or after a workout? It is recommended that you do yoga after a workout. You will get more benefit out of the practice because you will have exercised many of the muscles you will be stretching during yoga. Doing yoga after a workout also enables you to recover more quickly and get your heart rate back down to a normal range.
You might still have questions about how to best integrate yoga and your workout. When the two are fused successfully, your body will get the maximum benefit out of both. The information provided below should help guide you in your efforts.
Can You Do Yoga Before a Workout?
While there is nothing wrong with doing yoga before a workout, you will not get the maximum benefit of the practice from doing so. If you do want to put yoga in the mix, you can use it as a stretching routine before entering a full-fledged workout program. Dynamic stretching is one way to get your body ready for the physical stress to come.
7 Benefits of Doing Yoga After a Workout
The basis for doing yoga after a workout is that your body needs time to recover. When you simply stop your workout and go on with your day, you are not giving yourself the time that you need to physically and mentally process the work you’ve done.
Here are seven benefits associated with doing yoga after a workout.
Give Your Muscles the Stretching They Need
No matter what type of workout you take part in, your muscles probably undergo a great deal of stress. They need time to work the kinks out, or you may find yourself waking up very sore in the morning. Yoga is a great way to stretch out those muscles and bring them the soothing relief you crave.
Lower Your Heart Rate Slowly and Naturally
One of the many benefits of working out involves raising your heart rate. At the same time, what goes up must come down. Yoga allows you to slowly help your heart rate return to normal in a natural way that is even more beneficial to your health in the long run.
Give Your Back Some Relief
Many people who regularly workout encounter some type of back pain. A way to help relieve this is by doing yoga on the tail end of your fitness routine. Yoga is so effective with this that many physicians recommend the practice as a primary way of relieving both mild and severe back pain.
Ease the Symptoms Associated with Arthritis
Millions of people around the country have arthritis. This should not keep you from working out. However, symptoms of arthritis can be exacerbated by many types of fitness. Yoga can help you by relieving the tender and swollen joints that often accompany a vigorous workout.
Gain More Strength and Balance
Workouts can raise your blood pressure and cause you to become dizzy on occasion. This results in a loss of balance that can be alleviated when you regularly do yoga after a workout. Doing so will increase your blood flow and reduce your overall recovery time.
Sleep Better at Night
It isn’t easy to just go to sleep after a workout. One reason is that your heart rate and blood pressure need to first come back down to normal. Yoga will help center your mind, calm you down, and get you ready for a restful night of sleep ahead.
Brighten Your Mood
It is no secret that a workout can wear you out. It can sap your energy. You can reverse these tendencies by doing yoga after your workout in order to give you the extra boost that you need to tackle whatever you have coming next.
What Types of Yoga Are Best After a Workout?
Now that you are likely convinced that yoga is best done after a workout, you might be wondering what stretches will help maximize its benefits for you. Here are some possibilities that you will want to consider.
Legs up the Wall
This is a great yoga pose to perform after your workout. You can do it after a cardio or weight session equally as well as you can after a complete yoga workout. You just lie on your back and move up against the wall so that your legs can stretch up flush against it.
Stretch Your Knees to Your Chest
This is probably the most performed yoga pose of them all, so it is not surprising that it would be beneficial to do after a workout. It will help release the stress you placed on your hamstrings, glutes, and back during a cardio or strength training session.
To do this pose, you will just want to lie on your back and make sure you have enough room to keep your legs straight. Take one of your knees and bend it towards your chest. Hold for about 20 seconds and then release back to the proper position. Repeat with the other leg.
Here is a yoga pose that can do wonders for your back and hamstrings. These are two areas that tend to take the most abuse during a workout. Your body will thank you in the morning if you take the time to perform this pose.
To do the forward bend, start by hinging at the hips, folding your upper body in a forward position. Make sure you release any tension that you feel and then let your arms and head dangle near the floor. You will want to bend your knees as much as you can while doing this pose.
The Runner’s Lunge
Doing a runner’s lunge will benefit your hamstrings and quads. This is going to be especially important after a circuit training class or an intense cardio session. It will also help keep you from being injured, which is perhaps the best benefit of them all.
You will start by kneeling and then reaching one leg back as straight as it can go while the other one is bent. Put both hands on the mat framing your front foot, take a deep breath and then lunge. Hold it for a few breaths and then repeat the process with the other leg.
Engage in the Wheel Pose
The wheel pose allows you to stretch out your shoulders and neck. This pose will help you sleep better at night after you have had a vigorous workout.
The wheel pose has you lying on your back to begin. Bend your knees while keeping your feet flat on your yoga mat. You will want to clasp your hands together under your pelvis and then lift your hips off the floor. Hold it for half a minute if you can.
If you want to go deeper: Come back down on your back and place your hands next to your head, hugging your elbows in towards your ears. Lift your pelvis off the floor as if you’re going into bridge pose, and push off with your hands.
Perform the Plow Pose
This is when you give your back the attention that it deserves. Lie on your back and then raise your legs up towards the ceiling. While doing so, place your hands on your lower back. This will give you the support that you need.
Practice the Sphinx Pose
You can wrap up your post-workout yoga session with the sphinx pose. This is going to give your abs some extra special attention. To do it, just lie on your stomach and put your elbows just beneath your shoulders. Push up and allow your forearms to rest on the mat.
Combining a vigorous workout with yoga can undoubtedly do wonders for your physical, mental, and spiritual body. The key is to do them both in the proper order. For many, that will mean doing yoga after a workout.