Can Yoga Help Build Muscle?

One of the most frequently asked questions is whether or not you can build muscles through the practice of yoga. The answer: of course! Not only that, but many yoga poses help to build and strengthen muscles that you might not have used before, or at least, in a long time. While you’re building muscle through the practice of yoga, you’re able to relieve tension and relax not only the body but the mind as well. 

There are many styles and practices of yoga, each with its own goals and mindsets. For example, Vinyasa is focused on breathing and energy, with the yogini focusing on slow and thoughtful movements. Ashtanga is a more physical yoga with practiced and solid poses that one must “master”. Bikram yoga is the practice of the same 26 poses, performed in rooms of temperatures up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. Practicing Bikram yoga will help you gain muscles while sweating out the toxins and bad vibes of the week. 

If you’re practicing yoga with the main focus on building muscles, here’s a list of poses to incorporate into your routine!


Planks are a great way to build abdominal muscles without constant movement. Laying stomach-down on your mat, brace your weight onto your forearms, lifting the rest of your body on the balls of your feet. Making sure not to lift your bottom up in the air too much, keep your body level, and your breathing deep. Hold this for 30 seconds before lowering yourself slowly back onto the mat. 

Chair Pose

The chair pose is a great exercise to strengthen your thighs, tone the arms, and activates the back muscles. Start by standing straight with your feet flat on the ground. Lift your arms straight above your head, keeping your back straight and chin up. With your arms still in the air, bend your knees slightly with your back still straight. You should start to feel a burn in your back, arms, and thighs. Hold this pose for thirty to sixty seconds and focus on your breathing, in through your nose, hold, breathe out through your mouth, and hold.

Tree Pose

We’ve all heard of it before, but the tree pose is a great way to gain muscles while also working on balance. Reach your arms straight up and connect your palms over your head. With one leg firmly planted on the ground, lift your other leg and bend it at the knee, placing your foot flatly on your inner thigh of the straightened leg. This is a great pose to practice your breathing and concentration, while also working on your core, thighs, and upper arms.

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