Published: Jul 06, 2012 1:22 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 06, 2012 8:31 PM EDT

Yoga has become very popular over the last decade. Actors, athletes, politicians and moms are doing it. The demographic of people who are devoted to yoga runs the gamut, and more and more people are incorporating yoga classes to compliment their normal workout routines. Why are so many people doing it? Simply put, yoga and weight training are excellent for both your physical and psychological being. Wink News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm is here today to explain the benefits of coupling your strength training and yoga to get fit!

A huge gap exists between yoga and weight training, but bringing the two together will greatly improve your health AND fitness level. By incorporating both practices you will balance your strength, stability, and endurance. They both offer similar benefits including stress reduction, weight loss, improved circulation, muscle toning, joint flexibility, and increased fitness levels.

THE FUNDEMENTALS
Yoga was developed in India 5000 years ago and brought to the United States in the early 20th Century. The core components of yoga involve poses, also called postures, and breathing. Weight training involves lifting either free weights, using machines, or just like in yoga lifting your own body weight.
MAINSTREAM
Many brave souls have stepped into a yoga class thinking that it's only about stretching, and have discovered it to be a butt-kicking workout by itself. If you don't buy it, then check out the popular programs like P90X and see how much yoga they incorporate into their systems.
Yet, people still avoid yoga due to some common myths…


MYTH: Flexibility Is A Requirement for Yoga
Flexibility is NOT a requirement. Yoga is actually a balance of strength and flexibility. In a yoga class you may not be able to touch your toes, but the person next to you may not be able to do a push-up. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and yoga is about balancing the two.
MYTH: Yoga Isn’t REAL Exercise
Make no mistake, yoga can be incredibly challenging. Instructors guide you through the different poses showing you how to modify them based on your fitness level. I’ve seen even elite athletes struggle when attempting the advanced postures as a beginner. You will definitely use muscles that you don’t use every day.
MYTH: Lift Weights Will Make Women Bulky
This is one of the biggest misconceptions. Lifting weights will build lean muscle mass and result in toned and defined muscles. As we age, both male and female, lose lean muscle and our bones and metabolism suffer. Consistent weight training will help maintain muscle, keep you lean, and looking great in your bikini.
MYTH: Yoga Threatens a Man’s Masculinity
Yoga classes are stereotypically for women and weight training for men. Men often stay away from group classes because they think it is girly, and in fact a lot of the marketing for Yoga is geared towards women. Ironically, in India yoga is a predominantly male practice.

BRIDGE THE GENDER GAP
Common myths are keeping women off the workout floor and men of the Yoga mat.

WEIGHT TRAINING MYTH: Women Aren’t Welcome in the Weight Room
Not knowing your way around the weight room can be intimidating. All health clubs have staff that you can seek out to get some professional guidance. Don’t let a fear of not knowing hold you back from achieving your fitness goals. The more you know, the more confident you will feel.

COMPLIMENT YOUR WORKOUT WITH YOGAMany people are surprised at first by the intensely mental side to weight training, which like yoga, requires you to face inner laziness and push yourself to the limit. Both disciplines use visual focal points for concentration and require balance, strength, and adherence to strict form.
So these seemingly contradictory activities, weight training and yoga, complement each other

*A Surprise Benefit of Yoga: Strength! I was shocked when I realized how much strength it took to get through a yoga class. I was even more surprised by how quickly how strength-building poses that were once incredibly difficult for me got a little easier. I wasn’t just getting more flexible–I was becoming stronger, too!