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Yoga Sculpt: The Workout You Didn’t Know You Needed

Yoga Sculpt

If you’re looking for a workout that combines the mindful benefits and grounding of yoga along with the toning and muscle-strengthening effects of weight training, you will love yoga sculpt! Through guided poses and movements using light weights, yoga sculpt challenges both your body and mind while allowing you to gain all the benefits of traditional yoga without static postures. Whether you’re a seasoned yogi or just starting out on your fitness journey, this dynamic practice is sure to leave you feeling invigorated and refreshed. Keep reading to learn more about yoga sculpt and the amazing benefits it has to offer.


What is Yoga Sculpt?

Yoga sculpt is a type of yoga that combines traditional yoga poses with strength training and cardio.  Think of it as yoga with weights. The class typically uses light weights (3-5 pounds), but some instructors will incorporate heavier weights (up to 10 pounds) into the workout. This hybrid form of exercise is designed to build lean muscle, improve cardiovascular health, and increase overall flexibility and balance. 


What is the Difference Between Traditional Yoga and Yoga Sculpt? 

The difference between traditional yoga and yoga sculpt comes down to intent.  In traditional yoga, the intent is to create a sense of mindfulness, awareness, and balance.  In yoga sculpt, the intent is more focused on building strength, endurance, and overall physical health. Traditional poses are still used in yoga sculpt, but yoga sculpt also incorporates additional props such as weights and resistance bands to increase the intensity of the poses and help build lean muscle.   It might seem obvious, but it helps to remind yourself what the intent is before doing either traditional or sculpt yoga.


Lastly, both traditional and sculpting yoga end with a savasana (yeah!). In my opinion, the yoga sculpt savasana is even more blissful and rewarding than regular savasana because you can really feel your body moving into a state of relaxation after an intense workout.


Origin and History of Yoga Sculpt

Although the origins of yoga sculpt are not entirely known, it’s likely that it began with the introduction of power yoga in 1995. In her book “Power Yoga,” Beryl Bender Birch added a little more heat to Ashtanga Vinyasa by fusing bodyweight exercises with a more challenging flow intended to generate energy and strength the body. Fast-forward nine years later – Corepower brought us their innovative take on it with their popular Yoga Sculpt class that is now offering classes across America.


Benefits of Yoga Sculpt

There are many benefits to practicing yoga sculpt, including:

Improved Cardiovascular Health

The high-intensity nature of yoga sculpt elevates your heart rate, leading to improved cardiovascular health, improved circulation, and better overall health. 

Increased Muscle Definition and Tone

The strength training elements of yoga sculpt work to build lean muscle, leading to improved body composition and definition.  

Helps to Manage Weight

With more cardio and strength training comes better weight management. As you build more muscle, you burn more calories and boost your metabolism, making it easier to maintain or lose weight.

Improves Bone Density

To maintain bone health and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, many doctors recommend adding weight-bearing exercises to your workouts. This is especially important for women, who can lose an average of 1% – 2% of their total skeletal mass as they age.

Improved Flexibility and Balance

By adding resistance in the form of weights or bands, you are able to deepen your stretches and get a better stretch than you would from traditional yoga alone.

Stress Relief

Yoga sculpt, with the added benefit of cardio exercise, can be an effective tool to reduce stress and boost cognition. Just like any other type of yoga practice, it can help you get back into balance on a physical and mental level. As I mentioned earlier, you’ll notice that relaxed state when you reach savasana.

Strengthens Your Traditional Yoga Practice

If there is a challenging yoga pose that you want to improve on, yoga sculpt can help. Supplementing classic postures with weights will help engage even more muscles than a regular yoga session, leading to better overall strength that can protect against injury and take your practice to the next level.


What to Expect in a Yoga Sculpt Class 

A typical Yoga Sculpt class lasts 60 minutes and has more upbeat music than a traditional yoga class.  Overall, the flow and sequences are not difficult to follow and are pretty basic poses, such as forward fold, down dog, mountain, and warrior. 


Classes typically start with a traditional yoga-inspired warmup with child poses leading into sun salutations. Once you’ve warmed up, weights are added to the various poses. Since it’s a full-body workout, the sculpt sequence will usually touch on all the major areas: core, legs, glutes, upper body, and arms. Just as you warmed up, you’ll also cool down with the final yoga poses and stretching, and then ease into savasana.


How Do You Choose the Right Weights for Yoga Sculpt?

When choosing weights for yoga sculpt class, it’s important to err on the side of caution – especially if you’re new to this type of workout. I’d recommend starting with 2-5lb dumbbells, or even no weights at all until you get comfortable with the movements and positions involved in each pose. Once you’ve mastered the basics without any added resistance, then you can start slowly adding weight until you find what feels comfortable for your body. Remember: form and posture are still important, like any yoga class. It’s always better to start light and increase gradually.


Tips for Beginners

For those new to yoga sculpt, here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Create your space (tips on creating your minimalist home gym)
  • Get to know basic yoga poses
  • Wear comfortable clothing that won’t restrict your movement
  • Hydrate before the session
  • Bring along a water bottle and towel
  • Start with lighter weights (2-5 lbs or an assortment)
  • Focus on form and posture
  • Listen to your body

Is Yoga Sculpt Right for You!

Yoga sculpt is a great way to add more challenge and intensity to your yoga practice. Not only will you feel invigorated after the intense workout, but the restorative powers of yoga will leave you energized and revitalized. By starting with lighter weights and ensuring proper form and posture, anyone can benefit from this fun and effective exercise. Whatever your fitness level may be, yoga sculpt is an excellent option for adding variation to your regular routine.

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