General Warm Up
Let me lay out a few guiding principles in how to approach yoga postures in the context of strength training:
#1. Yoga is NOT stretching.
Or rather, it is not stretching as you may think of “stretching.” There are tons of articles out there telling you not to “stretch” or why static stretching will decrease performance, and they usually have a picture of a guy sitting on the ground sort of leaning forward over one leg with a rounded spine, half-heartedly reaching for his toes while gazing off into the distance.
Well, yes, doing that sort of “stretching” will certainly not promote any positive gains of any sort for your body. Most yoga postures, by contrast, are a series of focused isometric contractions coupled with specific breathing patterns that yield gains in flexibility, mobility, and strength.
#2. Yoga has potential applications for ANYONE.
You need not already be hyper-mobile or super-bendy to begin integrating yoga postures into your training. You also do not need to practice a minimum sixty minutes of yoga five days per week to get the benefits. There are dozens of variations and preparatory poses that can meet you where you are at, regardless of age, injury, athletic goal, or structural imbalance.
#3. Use Yoga on active rest days or after your training session.
In order to utilize yoga postures for the purpose of gaining strength and increasing performance, practice them after your training session so that your body has at least 24 hours to recover from the poses. Although yoga is restorative, it is still a very intense physical practice (when you want it to be) and your body, especially your nervous system, needs time to recover from it.