How to use Yoga for Strength and Conditioning?


Do you often feel lethargic and tired without any underlying medical condition?

Regular yoga routine can help you not just to regain body-mind balance, but also to feel more energetic, stronger and become healthier.

A good level of physical fitness is a simple ability to live your life without feeling fatigued. For everyday living you do not need the strength of a bodybuilder or the endurance of a long distance runner, but you’ve got to be able to perform your normal activities and still have a reserve.

What does actually strength and conditioning mean?

In general, body conditioning is, you guessed it, the act of improving your overall fitness and the condition of your body.

To build your physical strength, you don’t have to limit yourself only to weight training in the gym.

Yoga for strength and conditioning is traditional yoga with dynamic strength and conditioning training. You can use your body weight and gravity for resistance. It blends dynamic high-intensity interval training or functional mobility practices with the mindful principles of yoga for improving cardiovascular fitness, agility, and body confidence.

If you’re looking for a fun, productive break from traditional yoga class or any other type of sport, a great way to support your regular practice and also to switch things up is to use yoga for strength and conditioning.

The strength yoga practitioners have, differs from the strength built from lifting weights in the gym.

Yoga asanas build physical strength isometrically. What does that mean? It means that you build strength in a static position, holding an asana or using your own weight against the floor, wall or any other unmovable object. The result is building leaner and longer muscles.

Physical strength can also come with the practice of correctly holding yoga poses. Instead of just chilling out in certain asanas…keep them active. Try lifting out a pose a little, or raising the arms, legs…all little changes that can build strength and fire.

How does Yoga build Fitness?

Muscles respond to stretching by becoming bigger and more capable of extracting and using oxygen faster.

Simply put, side benefits of flexibility include increased muscle strength and endurance.

Which style of Yoga is the best for strength and conditioning?

There are more than one hundred different styles of yoga. Some are relaxing and gentle, the other ones are intense and fast-paced.

The intensity of your yoga practice depends on which type of yoga you choose.

Yoga does build fitness, and it can certainly also provide a more vigorous physical workout.

Techniques like Hatha and Iyengar Yoga are slow and gentle. High-intensity Power Yoga, Iron Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, and Bikram are faster and more challenging. They strengthen the lungs and increase the heart rate. These hybrid styles use yoga for strength and conditioning.

Doing Sun Salutions (Suryanamaskar) and other continuously linked asanas, you can make your yoga practice aerobically challenging and increase the heart rate.

Many yoga asanas build quite a bit of strength because they involve sustained isometric contractions of many large and small muscle groups, particularly:

1.         Standing asanas: Tree Pose (Vrikshasana), Revolved Lunge Pose (Parivrtta Anjaneyasana), Warrior I, II, III, (Virabhadrasana I, II, III) Side Plank (Vasisthasana),

2.         Balancing asanas:  Crow Pose (Bakasana), Four-Limbed Staff Pose (Chaturanga Dandasana)

3.         Inversions:  Handstand pose (Adho mukha vrikshasana), Downward-Facing Dog Pose (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Targeted Areas

One of the most beautiful things about yoga is that it has a holistic approach to health and can easily incorporate your every anatomical area.  Add more power and strength into your daily practice. The longer you hold the pose will result in an increase in this training effect. 

There are asanas to target just about every muscle:

Leg and glutes muscles:

Standing asanas mostly strengthen your legs, and at the same time, they activate the other parts of your body.

Yoga asanas for leg strength include:

Downward facing dog, mountain asana, extended side angle asana, pyramid asana, raised hands asana, standing straddle forward bend, standing forward bend, tree asana, triangle pose, warrior I, warrior II, warrior III, awkward chair, eagle pose, half-moon asana, king dancer asana, reverse warrior, revolved triangle pose, revolved half-moon asana, wheel asana.


Practising these asanas will improve your abdominal and back strength and spinal mobility. Yoga asanas for the core include:

Cat-cow stretch, hands and knees balance bridge asana, pelvic tilts, plank asana, boat asana, crow asana, half-moon asana, headstand, scale asana, side plank asana, firefly asana, forearm stand, handstand, side crow asana, warrior III.


Asanas in which your arms hold most of your body weight are a great way to increase your arm strength, especially if combined with a few chaturanga push-ups.

Yoga asanas for strengthening arms include:

Downward facing dog, plank pose, supported side plank, crow asana, four-limbed staff asana, side plank asana, upward facing dog, airfly asana, flying crow asana, handstand, side crow asana, wheel asana.

To gain cardiovascular benefits, make faster and more energetic asana transitions. Due to an increase in muscle endurance, your maximal oxygen capacity will significantly improve, which will allow you to exercise longer, and your body will use more oxygen.

Yoga asanas help improve the flexibility of the rib area, chest, shoulders and back, boosting lung capacity and allowing them to expand to the fullest.


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