Where is the best place to slot yoga in among my weights and cardio training schedule?
Great question! After training the Waratahs and Sea Eagles and lifted weights myself if have really inquired into how they both fit together.
Essentially there are no rules. It will depend on your goals and what you are trying to do. I only practise weights once a week at most but my yoga practice can also be very intense with lots of handstand and gymnastic type movements, so it supplements a weight session very well.
Sometimes my practice is slow and deep and it doesn't have the weight training effects. When I do weights I do them lighter and as a circuit so I also get a cardio benefit also and always keep good form. Yoga alignment will really help this.
My goal is really just keeping the joints, bones and muscles strong and used to lifting as well as stretching and holding large range and also having some sort of cardio fitness. Training in this way keeps some of the muscular size that lots of dynamic yoga can strip away.
This is really a personal choice. There have been times when I have not done weights at all and allowed my body to strip right down. When I am like this I can usually do postures that require more advanced flexibility but after a while you realise this is only a small part of the complete practice.
If your goal is to develop power to weight ratio strength and flexibility but not lose any muscular size then I would say practising yoga two or three times a week amongst a two or three time a week weight work-out routine is a good balance. However you could practise every day and if your diet was correct, you would keep the muscular gains and complement your weight training quite well.
Lifting straight away after a weight session will mean your strength is reduced. Your conditioning after a yoga routine will not be what is desired for an explosive weight routine so if you do lift soon after a yoga session, usually you should go lighter. However, after two or three hours post-practice, there should be no effect and you could do a yoga practice on any of the days you do cardio or weights.
Using yoga session's as recovery is popular and usually what the footballers I train use it for. But if it's a dynamic practice like what I teach, then it can supplement a lot of your weights and cardio training. A famous triathlete used to train with me and she found she was able to supplement two of her weight sessions per week with power yoga and still feel the same results in strength but gain far more benefit from the power yoga's overall practice.
Overall weights, cardio and yoga practice are great complements for each other and give you that cross-fit-style of body so many people are after. It is a very sensible thing to do to keep you in good balance and in tune with your mind-body connection.
Duncan Peak yoga expert