The top 10 difference between yoga poses/asanas and regular weight training

In my 15 yrs of fitness carrier i found that the basic purpose , motivation and therefore the technique of asanas and weight training exercise are quite different.  Yoga is ancient lifestyle , written and practice 5000 years back by sage Patangali in India, yoga is still not completely understood by science.That Indian culture and science were too scientifically advance then . More clinical and double blinded studies are required for it.

Many people consider yoga asanas/poses as an exercise but as yoga was an ancient Indian life style including its other seven limbs or aspects.

1.Speed of The Movement

Asanas/Poses- Speed of the movement in yoga pose has to be slow . The slow movement always involves the action of deeper muscles and a precise nervous control over them. The holding/maintenance phase (Isometric contraction) of asanas is more important than the movement part of it.

Weight training – Speed of this exercise can be fast,the concentric(against earth) and eccentric(towards earth) movements is more important than isometric(holding) contraction.

2. Target Muscle Group

Asanas/Poses- Almost all asanas make you concentrate on core (abs & lower back),yoga believes in strengthening chain of lower body and upper body which is core (mid section) group of muscles. The proprioceptive and visceroreceptive mechanism are given all scope to modify feedback control.

Weight training – In weight training, core stability can be secondary, generally it focus on one particular exercising muscle.

3. Hypertrophy /Muscle Building Effect

Asanas/Poses- Muscle building/hypertrophy is not a aim of asanas. Most of the asanas strengthen isometric contraction of skeletal muscle and only using your own body as resistance. So asanas do not build stamina and great strength, but aims to improve balance, body awareness and isometric strength of skeletal muscle.It does not aim at muscle hypertrophy(increase in muscle size)

Weight training- Hypertrophy/muscle building is the one of the goals of weight training, this hulk like muscles means protein and water storage of muscle size is increased. Weight training does not improve body balance. It also does not build up your stamina. Unless train for isometrically, regular weight training also fails to build isometric strength.

4. Stretching-Flexibility Effect

Asanas/Poses – Asanas can be the best way to improve flexibility.Burn or failure feeling never happens in muscles while doing Asanas. On the contrary ,after yoga session one feels fresh,relaxed and energetic since improves blood circulation in skeletal parts removes all toxic substance.

Weight training- In weight training, there are heavy and sustained muscular contractions and No stretching effect at all. When weight training exercise are finished you would feel exhausted ,tired and needs a rest.The major reason is depleted glucose level ,CO2 and accumulation of lactic acid and hydrogen ion concentration in skeletal muscles.

5. Required Resources/Material

Asanas /Poses – For that matter whole yoga as lifestyle can be practiced anywhere ,anypart of the world,by any religion.only requirement for asanas is silent and non polluted place.
Weight training – You need fitness equipment which can be expensive ,and it is not practically possible to carry weight training equipment to work place or business tour.

6. Involvement of Spinal column/lower back

Asanas /Poses – In asanas spinal column is moved in almost all directions in its possible range of movements to increase flexibility. The vertebrae are stretched in all directions and also rotated in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction. This mechanism develops the sensory inputs that are initiated in the trunk region,especially in the lumber and sacrum region.

Weight training – In most of the weight training exercise, spinal column is used just to stabilized the body , that’s it.

7. Voluntary efforts of muscle

Asanas/Poses – The voluntary efforts are withdrawn in the final stage of asanas , the activity of the motor cortex is greatly reduced or even stopped completely.It is more about getting awareness on that muscle group than controlling that muscle group.

Weight training – Weight training involves voluntary muscle contraction.And when people try heavy weights their  entire body is lifting/contributing the weight than real focus(exercising) muscles.

8. Breathing pattern

Asanas /Poses – It requires slow and rhythmic breathing which helps you to calm down. Yoga philosophy believes inhale when lean backwards,exhale when you bend forward.
Weight training – It involves exhale when movement is against earth and inhalation when movement is towards earth. Inside Thoracic(inside chest) pressure is tremendous in weight training exercises which can shoot up blood pressure.


9) Effect On other Internal System

Asanas /Poses – Yoga asanas stimulates parasympathetic nervous system, it improves digestion,blood flow,it helps to secretes happy hormones like  serotonin,dopamine ,that is how we feel refresh after yoga session.

Weight training – weight training stimulates sympathetic nervous system.it works only on muscle at a time may be two skeletal muscle but it does have any impact on internal physiology.


10) Chances of Injury

Asanas /Poses – chances of injury is slow as you use your body weight as a resistance in slow and control manner.

Weight Training – chances of injury is high as you have to trust on overload (increasing the resistance) principle to grow muscles in more speed.

finally yoga was programmed to be a lifestyle to attain final stage samadhi( freedom from rebirth – reincarnation) , yoga asanas was just one limb out of eight to attend it.Weigh training improves strength , it improves muscles size and metabolism.

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About Auther

Hello, I am Mayur Deshpande USA(ACSM & ACE) certified personal fitness trainer, Qci certified yoga trainer blogger and elite traveler from Mumbai, India. People often ask me why Fitnesssmith, Just as we have goldsmith who makes articles of gold, in identical fashion, I Fitnesssmith who develops fitness in you as a lifestyle.