Can Yoga Build Muscles? How Is It Done?

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If you are wondering how can yoga build muscle? and how is it done? you are on the right page. In this article we will discuss in details about how yoga can build muscle and different yoga Asana’s that helps in building body mass and muscles. Stay tuned. 

Yoga is gaining huge popularity as a form of exercise not only for athletes and fitness professionals but also for the regular people. No matter what form of workout we choose to do, our primary aim is to tone and build muscles.

So, when we choose yoga as a form of workout, the first question that arises in our mind is, ‘does yoga build muscle’? We hear a great many things about the benefits of yoga, but no one really clearly speaks about how whether or not can yoga build muscles.

Can Yoga Build Muscles

Building Muscles In Yoga Class And Not Through Weight Training 

Whenever we hear the term ‘strength training’ which means building muscles, we think of free weights and weight training which involves a number of repetitions of muscle contractions with the use of weights as resistance.

But little do we know that yoga is a lot more than just glorified stretching which only improves muscle flexibility. It also builds muscles just like any typical gym routine would do if the poses are executed correctly.

The only difference that lies here is that instead of lifting weights, it is your own body weight that you lift in order to build the strength.

 A strong yoga routine engages all types of muscle building processes from progressive overload to metabolic stress and that particularly is regulated through pose progressions, flow structure and intensity.

There are specific yoga poses and postures that target our muscles, torch our core, and help us in functional strength gain. Let us find out more about how yoga builds muscles and how we can maximize it through our regular yoga routine.

Also, read our post on How To Control Thyroid Disorders Through Yoga

Benefits Of Building Muscles Through Yoga

Yoga is probably not the quickest way to build those six packs, but it is definitely more advantageous than hitting the gym. It is true that it is time consuming but studies have proved that building muscles through yoga stays on for a longer period of time than what you quickly develop through gym and free weight lifting.

Here Are A Top 4 Benefits Of Building Muscle Through Yoga

  1. Yoga asanas involve compound movements and are sequences that are specifically designed to bring about balanced workouts so that every movement we do is equal and opposite.

  2. We all know how yoga is a lot about stretches. This helps in maintaining muscle health while building strength. A strong yoga routine has it covered throughout.

  3. When we lift weights and do isolated movements to build strength, automatically we end up gaining muscle mass which in turn reduces mobility and flexibility. Well, yoga does not do that. Instead, it helps in improving our muscle mobility and flexibility.

  4. The most beneficial aspect of yoga is that it helps you build muscles in a low impact Adding bars of weight at the gym takes a toll on your joints and tissues in the long run.

So, reading this we can understand that weights are super-efficient when you want to build bulk. On the other hand, yoga is a more well-rounded approach. 

But if you want to do some good general fitness, then you can do some of both- a mix of both body weight exercises like specific yoga poses and postures along with some workout with free weights or resistance tools.

Also, read our post on How Yoga Works?

3 Ways Yoga Helps To Build Muscle?

3 Ways Yoga Helps To Build Muscle

Progressive Overload

In this, we lift our body weight and build muscles through pose progression. Pose progression calls for difficult and challenging poses which leads to more tension, which again leads to more muscles.

Metabolic Stress

This is more of a physiological process that that our muscles and tissues undergo during our yoga practice which we call as “the burn” or metabolic stress. The metabolic stress generated depends hugely on the type of yoga we choose to practice.

Mechanical Damage

Yoga leads to effective muscle building through mechanical damage which is exploited through eccentric contractions and overload. Mechanical damage is usually achieved through yoga poses which involve the lower part of the body.

Yoga Poses To Build Strong Muscles

Building strength through yoga does not require you to lift weights. Here, what you lift is your body weight instead of dumbbells and barbells. There are certain specific yoga poses which have the capability of breaking your muscle fibers by creating tension in them.

This is how your body builds more muscles whilst increasing your muscle mass. By now we have clearly understood, how diverse and comprehensive practice yoga is. So to narrow on the field, here are a few poses through which one can build muscles and gain strength.

1. Tree Pose 

The tree pose which is the single-leg pose is a great posture not only to build strength but also balance. It allows the body to be grounded and establish balance.

This works greatly on the stabilizer muscles around the ankle, knee and hip, on the leg which is rooted to the ground while giving the other leg a good groin stretch.

This keeps your body steady from the beginning to the end while your core remains engaged.

2. Warrior Three Pose

The warrior-three pose is a classic pose and is liked by most yoga practitioner for strength building reasons.

It is a single-leg nature of warrior-three which requires balance and engages our core. However, unlike the tree pose this particular pose has a forward leaning orientation.

This pose puts weight on the standing leg and works on the entire back of the body. This builds strength and endurance on the calves, hamstring, glutes, back and shoulders.

3. Bridge Pose

In the Bridge pose the body requires to squeeze through the legs, gluts, core and the lower back.

This is indeed one of the best lower body strength building exercises. 

It not only builds muscles but also opens up the chest and shoulders while giving a good stretch to the hip and spine flexors.

4. Chair Pose

The chair pose is very similar to the bridge pose which engages the legs and gluts.

This particular pose requires a strong core and lower back in order to hold your body steadily.

In this pose we keep our feet together where we feel our quad and glute muscles while the leg supports our waist in a narrow-stance with a half-squat position.

Also, read our post on What does Namaste mean in Yoga?

5. Plank Pose

While the bridge pose and the chair pose build lower body strength, the plank pose is a great upper body strength builder.

Also, it works amazingly for building your core muscles. The plank pose also comes with multiple variations to keep it interesting.

Performing high plank on your hands is a great strength building exercise and so is performing lower planks on your forearms and also side planks.

What the side plank does is put more weight on the arm while working on the entire side of the body- starting from the legs to our obliques.

6. The Suryanamaskar Cycle

The Suryanamaskar cycle is probably the best yoga option to build strength, endurance and breathing pattern.

The Suryanamaskar cycle starts and ends with Tadasana with a number of different yoga poses in between.

A set of three Suryanamaskars and gradually progressing into multiples of three sets helps to build strength and endurance. It benefits us by bringing a new vigor and vitality in our limbs while toning the upper and lower body and most definitely leaves us with a refreshed mind.

7. The Cobra Pose

The cobra pose or the Bhujangasana greatly helps us in toning our abdominal muscles while opening up our shoulders.

It not only increases flexibility of our upper body but also strengthens our back.

This pose also reduces fatigue and improves blood circulation elevating our mood and stimulating our kidney.

8. The Headstand Pose

The headstand pose which is called the Sirsasana is rather a challenging pose but most definitely strengthens our lungs, arms and legs.

In this pose we usually bear the entire weight of the body on our forearms. Therefore, this pose requires ideal upper body strength that we must develop before trying this particular pose.

It is one of the advanced Vinyasa Yoga Asana which must be done on an empty stomach for maximum benefits. Apart from strengthening benefits, it also has some great other benefits as well.

Also read our popular post in Yoga Therapy


So, now that you are well aware of the facts and details about how yoga helps build and strengthen our muscles, drop those dumbbells and pick up your yoga mat and props. This comprehensive article tells you more or less all that you need to know about yoga for muscle building.

At first, these poses might be challenging and you might be doubtful of the results, but let expert yoga practitioners assure and re-assure you that yoga does wonders in strength and muscle building. You’ll not know unless you try it out. So, get started and soon you’ll see your body getting stronger with yoga.

Repeat after me for all that motivation and determination that you are looking for- yoga builds functional strength while lengthening and stabilizing the body! The more you repeat, the better you get the push to start!

Happy Yoga!