Aside from all of the other amazing things the human body can do, it is, at its core, a learning machine. From the time we’re born until the day we die, our bodies are always learning. We learn how to read, how to write, how to walk, talk, run, jump, and play.
The way we learn these things is through repetition. We do these tasks and activities over and over, and as we do so, they become easier and easier. Well, the same thing goes with our workouts. If you go to the gym every day and do the exact same exercise, eventually you’ll reach a point where the exercise no longer benefits you.
This is where muscle confusion, one of the greatest benefits of yoga, comes into play.
What Is Muscle Confusion?
As our bodies become accustomed to doing work, the amount of effort and energy required to do that work decreases. For example: let’s say you do a cardio workout that burns 200 calories an hour.
If you continue to do that same workout every day, the amount of calories it burns will gradually start to decrease, since it takes your body much less effort to complete that work out.
The idea of “muscle confusion” works against everything in physiology. In fact, if our muscles didn’t adapt to a workout, no changes would transpire, and imbalances and injury can occur. In order to get physically stronger, and leaner muscle memory is actually ideal.
However, in order for the body not to plateau when you exercise on a regular basis, it’s essential to incorporate as many modalities (strength, endurance, cardiovascular, flexibility, stability, and power) as possible.
Muscle Confusion In Yoga Practice
This makes “doing yoga” so great! Yoga is an ongoing progressive and dynamic practice that challenges the body in almost every way possible. It’s incredible for streamlining a physique, because although you may do the same or similar poses from class to class, no class is ever truly the same.
Yoga includes every aspect needed to challenge yourself: strength, endurance, cardiovascular, stability, flexibility, and sometimes even power—and it plays with everything in between, which makes it the perfect overall body workout.
Why Yoga Is Perfect for Achieving Muscle Confusion
1. Different Types of Yoga
Each type of yoga has its own unique style, and quite commonly, they’ll mix up poses and flows, classes and themes (such as a hip opening or arm balance focused class).
2. Hundreds of Poses and Variations
There are hundreds of yoga poses and most poses can be modified in different ways or carried out in different variations. Individuals practicing can alter the poses to fit their capabilities and work within their ‘edges’ and intentions.
3. Variations in Pace
Certain classes will challenge you just by making you hold poses for long periods of time, or by making you flow through the postures at a faster pace than what you've been doing.
These are just a few examples of how yoga achieves muscle confusion. There are plenty more to discover!