Increased muscle mass and significant weight loss really is possible with yoga. As part of my ongoing quest for new ways to meet my own potential, I investigated yoga with some surprising findings. From martial artists to the elderly, everyone can get great fat burning, and lean muscle building results from this often neglected form of exercise.

If you want to increase your muscle building capacity you know it’s important to train hard and eat right, but you also need a lifestyle that affords plenty of sleep for recuperation.

On top of all that you need to free your mind of stress too.  Only when mind, body and soul come together can you truly tap into your body’s fitness potential. With today’s hectic lifestyles, stresses at the office can dampen motivation and keep you awake at night. That’s why many people are turning to forms of exercise that don’t just get the blood flowing, but take care of the ‘old noggin’ too.

One such discipline that challenges users both mentally and physically is yoga, and you’d be amazed who’s doing it in 2013!

Yoga became popular in the Western world in the 80’s and since then various systems, DVD’s and books have hit gyms and stores. Along the way yoga picked up its own image and many people, to this day, see it as “nothing more than a group of people in leg warmers getting together for light exercise while babbling about spirituality”. It’s a stereotype that limits many people’s understanding of what they can achieve!

In yoga the only weight you lift is your own. By completing a routine of stretches and movements that rely on the push and pull between your own muscle groups, yoga has many incredible benefits including:

  • Raises heart rate – making it both a great cardio and fat burning workout
  • Works the muscles fully, but in a low impact way that doesn’t stress the joints as much as weight training
  • Increases cognitive function, coordination, and balance
  • Greater flexibility, reduced tension, and stress

What a set of benefits! When your body is relaxed and you get good sleep, cortisol levels are reduced and growth hormone levels are increased. In other words: Yoga is a great way to burn fat AND gain muscle either as a standalone routine, or complimented with other forms of exercise.

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Despite this, for many men and women, the idea of taking up yoga still feels intimidating. Being a ‘newbie’ in your local gym with others – who are probably experts – fills some with dread. The good news is you can do it alone at home. If I tell you that the worlds top pro wrestlers and MMA Fighters do yoga you might want to take a closer look.

I recently spoke to Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) about yoga. This guy is a three-time World Pro Wrestling Champion and star of new WWE DVD ‘The Very Best of Monday Nitro Volume 2’.

DDP is the kind of athlete normally associated with heavy gym work, so it may come as a surprise to learn that he hasn’t been on the bench press in years. His discovery came after attending a local ‘power yoga’ session to recover from a severe back injury, in an attempt to get back into ring shape. He tells me: “After yoga changed my life, I started seeing others adapt it to their own fitness level and I knew I was on to something. His own acclaimed system, ‘DDP Yoga is a ‘no nonsense’ approach that is catching fire with athletes and fitness enthusiast around the world.

WWE Wrestlers, not known for mentioning other grapplers’ products – or for doing yoga for that matter – have praised it. As a former wrestler myself, I’m hooked and big names such as Chris Jericho and Ryback have all sent messages of endorsement. The recent re-branding of yoga, pioneered by ‘macho’ type people such as DDP, has opened up the doors to people that wouldn’t have previously considered doing it.

Another great thing about many of the various forms of yoga out there is that they can be done by elite athletes or overweight people trying to gain some control back in their lives. DDP proudly tells me that some of his students have lost over 140 lbs. and that yoga is also great for keeping in shape as life goes on. “At 57 years young, I can do things that most 20 or 30 year olds can’t do. Being healthy, flexible and strong equates to quality of life. I believe it’s never too late for anyone to become better at anything. 

If you are not quite ready to try yoga in front of a crowd, get an instructional DVD. There’s plenty to choose from and I’d certainly recommend DDP Yoga for anyone who wants a straight forward and extremely challenging routine.

As a regular gym goer I found the idea of exercising around my television a bit strange, but I have to tell you this feeling disappeared after 5 minutes! When you seek to get the best from your body consider anything and never be limited by old fashioned stereotypes.

So, what are you waiting for? Give yoga a try and see the wonders it can do for your mind and body. Need some proof. Check out the transformation of this U.S. veteran in this incredible video