A question I get often:
Is doing yoga enough?
And my answer is...
Enough for what? Enough to get in shape? Enough to build muscle? Enough to burn fat? Enough to build strength? Enough to build mental stamina?
It will come as no surprise that I would recommend pairing yoga with whatever other physical activity you already do. Yoga is like vegetables. Adding various forms to your daily life is only going to benefit you.
If you're a soccer player or avid runner, you probably know that the repetitive movement in the legs while you run shortens your hamstrings and calves. Doing a yoga sequence specifically for runners will restore the muscle group to their pre-run length.
If you're a hockey player, you might have low back issues due to the bending over and constant squatting position while skating, and weak and tight hamstrings. Yoga can help loosen the tightness and open up the low back.
If you're a swimmer, baseball player or tennis player, you may experience shoulder or elbow issues. Having a personal yoga practice can help to prevent these types of injuries.
Ok, we get it. Yoga is a great compliment to what we already do. But is it enough on its own?
Sorry, I don't have a concrete answer. It depends on what your goals are, what types of yoga you'll do, how often you'll do them and the duration of your classes. Some types of yoga are cardio-centric- like a power vinyasa, so you'll definitely feel like you just did a huge workout by the end of the class. Some types of yoga, like a yin class for example, is more about recovery for the muscles and mind, so you while won't burn a ton of calories, you'll burn a lot of stress away both physically and mentally.
I know I'll build mental endurance, but will I bulk up?
Well, yoga is great for strengthening and toning muscles within your body. It will improve muscle stamina, but no, it won't bulk you up. So bodybuilders should stick with bodybuilding (and add some yoga, duh), and anyone worried about bulking up should just relax, it isn't gonna happen.
A last word
I know yogis who only do yoga and are in their 40s and look like they're 20 years old. They do both ashtanga yoga and yin yoga and do it daily, sometimes twice a day. It's more than just how fit they are. They have a glow about them, an energy that just lights up the room and lifts the mood of wherever they go. So for some, yes, yoga is enough.