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Should You Do Yoga Before or After a Workout?

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yoga mat with a pair of small dumbbells and water bottle, yoga before or after workout
David J. Sautter post Reviewer David J. Sautter post Reviewer
Verified by David J. Sautter
NASM Personal Trainer, NASM Fitness Nutrition Specialist, ACE Sports Conditioning Specialist, NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist

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The benefits of yoga have been well-established, but one common question remains: Should you do yoga before or after a workout? 

The answer will depend on various factors, such as personal preference, the type, and intensity of a workout, time constraints, goals, and physical condition. 

In this article, we will explore the benefits of doing yoga before and after a workout, as well as discuss the factors to consider when deciding.

The Benefits of Yoga Before a Workout

Here are some of the benefits of doing yoga before your workout:

Improved Flexibility and Mobility

One of the main benefits of yoga is its ability to improve flexibility and mobility. 

By doing yoga before a workout, you can warm up your muscles, joints, and ligaments and increase blood flow and body temperature. [1] [2]

Increased Range of Motion

Another benefit of yoga before workouts is its ability to increase your range of motion. [2] 

Many weightlifting exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, require a lot of mobility in your hips, ankles, and shoulders. 

By doing yoga before weightlifting, you can improve your flexibility in these areas, making it easier to perform these exercises with the proper form and technique.

Enhanced Mental Focus and Discipline

Yoga can help you focus and center your mind, which can be helpful for a workout. 

When lifting heavy weights, it is important to stay present and focused on your form and technique. This is especially helpful for avoiding the risk of getting hurt.

Yoga can help you develop this mental discipline, leading to better performance in the weight room.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Continuing the point above, by improving flexibility and mobility and increasing mental focus and discipline, yoga can also help reduce the risk of injury. 

When your body is prepared for physical activity and your mind is focused on proper technique, you are less likely to experience strains, sprains, or other injuries during your weightlifting workout.

What Yoga Poses to Do Before a Workout

Before a workout, it is important to perform yoga poses that engage all parts of your body, preparing it for the workout that is about to come. 

Such yoga poses and dynamic moves help increase flexibility and range of motion and enhance blood circulation in the body.

Consider adding the following yoga poses to your exercise regimen and experience the immense benefits it has to offer:

  • Sun Salutations 
  • Downward-facing Dog 
  • Warrior I and II 
  • Triangle Pose

Try this 7-minute full-body yoga warm-up before a workout.

The Benefits of Yoga After a Workout

Feel like you’re more comfortable with doing yoga after a workout, here are some of the reasons why that would be a good idea.

Cool Down and Stretch Your Muscles

After an intense workout session, your muscles may feel tight and sore. Yoga can be a perfect post-workout routine to cool down and stretch out your muscles, improving recovery and reducing the risk of injury.

Relax and Reduce Stress After a Workout

When you exercise, your body produces stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones can cause tension and anxiety in your body and mind. Yoga can promote relaxation and calmness.

What Poses to Practice After a Workout

After intense physical activity, your muscles can benefit from some gentle stretches that promote relaxation. 

Poses focusing on stretching are all great options to release muscle tension and promote flexibility. Some examples include Downward Facing Dog, Child’s Pose, Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend, etc.

Another concept that works great after a workout is restorative yoga, which involves more passive poses that allow your body to fully relax and release any tension. 

A great pose to try for this purpose is the Corpse Pose, which involves lying flat on your back with a bolster supporting your knees and a blanket over your body (optionally), to promote deep rest and relaxation. 

Some poses to try after a workout:

  • Child’s Pose 
  • Pigeon Pose 
  • Seated Forward Fold 
  • Corpse Pose

Try this cool-down yoga flow after a workout.

Should I Do Yoga Before or After a Workout?

The decision to do yoga before or after a workout ultimately depends on your fitness goals and, to a smaller extent, your personal preferences. 

  • If you are looking to improve your flexibility, mobility, and range of motion, doing yoga before weightlifting may be more beneficial. 
  • If you are looking to cool down, stretch out your muscles, and reduce stress after a workout, doing yoga after weightlifting may be more beneficial.

It is also important to consider the type of yoga you are doing. 

  • If you are doing a more challenging style of yoga, such as vinyasa yoga, you may want to do it before weightlifting or any other intense workout to prepare your body.
  • If you are doing a more restorative and gentle style of yoga, such as yin or hatha yoga, you should do it after weightlifting to promote relaxation and recovery.

Yoga Before a Workout: What to Know

If you decide to do yoga before a workout, there are a few things to keep in mind. 


First, make sure you give yourself enough time to warm up your muscles and joints. A good rule of thumb is to do at least 10-15 minutes of yoga before weightlifting.

Focus on Mobility

Second, focus on poses that emphasize mobility and flexibility in the areas you will be working on in your workout session. For example, if you will be doing squats and deadlifts, focus on hip-opening yoga poses such as Pigeon Pose, Lizard Pose, and Garland Pose.

Listen to Your Body

Finally, be mindful of your energy levels. Doing a challenging yoga practice before a workout may leave you feeling fatigued and decrease your performance in the weight room. If you are feeling tired or low on energy, opt for a gentler yoga practice.

Yoga After a Workout: What to Know

Here are some things to consider for yoga after a workout:


The first thing is timing. Make sure you give yourself enough time to cool down and stretch out your muscles. Performing 10 to 15 minutes of yoga after an intense workout is generally enough to cool down.

Focus on Tension Release

Then, focus on poses that release tension in the areas you worked out. For example, if you did a lot of upper body work, focus on shoulder-opening yoga poses such as Eagle Pose and Cow Face Pose.

Restore and Relax

Finally, opt for more gentle, restorative practice. You might even want to try a restorative yoga session with a bolster to achieve maximum muscle relaxation.

Yoga and Weight Training: Do They Complement Each Other?

By incorporating both yoga and weight training into your routine, you can improve your overall fitness and performance. Yoga can help improve your flexibility, mobility, and range of motion, while weight training can help build strength and muscle mass. 

Yoga can also help prevent injury and improve recovery from weight training. By doing yoga before or after weightlifting, you can warm up your muscles and joints, reduce the risk of injury, and improve recovery.

Weight training can also improve your performance in yoga. By building strength and muscle mass, you can improve your ability to hold challenging yoga poses and improve your overall yoga practice.

Yoga vs. Cardio: Which One to Do First?

If you incorporate yoga and cardio into your routine, you may be wondering which one to do first. Your goal matters here as well:

  • If endurance and cardiovascular fitness are your primary goals, doing cardio before yoga is more beneficial. This can help you warm up your muscles and increase your heart rate, which can improve your performance in cardio.
  • If you prioritize flexibility and mobility, do yoga before cardio. This can help you warm up your muscles and improve your range of motion, improving your performance in yoga.

Wrapping Up

Incorporating yoga into your weightlifting routine can benefit your body and mind. 

Whether you choose to do yoga before or after weightlifting, or both, make sure to focus on poses that emphasize mobility, flexibility, and balance. 

By combining yoga and weightlifting, you can improve your overall fitness and performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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