After moving from New York City, back to Bellingham... one of the first places I visited was Sawaya Fitness. A few friends and former clients told me that I would really like the owner, Alaina Sawaya. So I popped in there to see if she was there, and her husband Brandon Sawaya (photographer/designer) gave me her card. A bit nervous to meet this athletic woman who looked stunning in all of her fitness modeling photos, I went to our first meeting (workout). She was my first new friend in Bellingham, after being gone for over two years. I felt right at home in her studio, she was someone to collaborate with on projects, workouts and enjoy mama life with. Now almost three years later, we have created two awesome RMAX products together, Primal 12 and now the Clubbell Yoga Prenatal DVD, with a few more in the works for the coming years. Check out this special interview with the extremely talented Alaina Sawaya.
Me: Alaina, you are very athletic ... what types of sports/activities have you been involved in?
Alaina: Competitive swimming, rugby, mountain biking & trail running are the sports Ive specifically trained for, but I feel most alive on the open water or in the alpine wilderness. Sea kayaking, paddle boarding, and volunteering as a mountaineering guide in BC are a few ways I make that happen.
Me: Would you consider yourself a yoga type person? A yogi? Why or why not?
Alaina: A Yogi? I wouldn't use that language, no. Americanized yoga has often felt elitist and exclusive to me, and inaccessible to strength & endurance athletes. I consider myself more of a movement specialist. I do however resonate with the the simplicity of yoga philosophy, as I understand it, that : mind, body and spirit are all interconnected and cannot be compartmentalized.
A "yogi" is a practitioner of yoga, which I suppose I am, in my own way, as a strength coach who integrates continuous breath-movement connection while teaches mobility & stability through dynamic ranges of motion.
But the term "yogi" is also used to refer specifically to "one who is accomplished" in "exercise or training" for the purpose of pursuing a spiritual goal. My faith journey does inspire my physical and mental discipline, however I am far from accomplished in this process. I value meditation through movement and prayer for the purpose of cultivating generosity and service to others.
Me:Tell us about your family/work life? How do you balance family and owning a training business?
Alaina: I believe balance is a dynamic process rather than a static state. By definition balance is a state of equilibrium in which different things occur in equal or proper amounts of importance to prevent falling... But in life this is an ever evolving and very active process that rarely feels easy. To be honest, I often feel like I'm falling. Being married to a talented sports & lifestyle photographer, and together wrangling two very active little girls, i aim to keep my life both play-ful & organized. In order to do this I simplify; Allowing large margins for error and the unexpected, Planning less to be more present in my relationships, and saying no to opportunities that distract from my core values and goals.
I am passionate about my roles as a movement educator, an involved mother and supportive partner. For this reason, my work is integrated into the fabric of my life so that I do not feel fragmented. My professional success hinges on maintaining a consistent family rhythm and a thriving relationship with my three most important people.
Me: What would you want a prenatal client to know about this program?
Alaina: This program can, and should, be used to prepare for, train through, and recover from an active pregnancy. It is for athletic women, having a consistent history of training and movement, who want to enjoy an active pregnancy. It allows women to remain challenged athletically in the early stages of gestation, while safely regressing through each trimester.
Me: How often did you do Clubbell Yoga during pregnancy?
Alaina: Depending on how I felt, sometimes every-other day, sometimes only once or twice a week. Having trained with primal 12 & Tacfit, i was conditioned to keep the intensity a little higher going into my second pregnancy. Early in pregnancy I craved a lot more of the resisted yoga flows and strength circuits, but as the months progressed I naturally backed off and adjusted to a gentler weekly routine. I often used just the warmup & cool down movements on days when I needed to recover and facilitate circulation. I would also take time for quiet meditative prayer & savasana daily as a way to check in with my body and mindfully approach the day. Cultivating a relationship with baby begins before birth, so I made daily space for gratitude and patience... Which I found becomes a lot more challenging the second time when you have a toddler sprinting around you!
The program can be used as a continuous follow along workout, or customized by accessing individual chapters to create your own routine according to your needs. It's comprehensive to enable each woman the tools she needs to care for her body well.
Me: Any favorite inspiring quotes for new moms?
"Comparison is the thief of joy."
- Theodore Roosevelt
"Let go of what you think you are supposed to be (as a woman, a partner, a mother) and embrace who you truly are."
- Brené Brown
"You cannot give your children that which you do not have; begin by offering yourself the encouragement and compassion you desire to give them. You can learn together how to love each other well."
- Alaina sawaya
Hope you enjoy! Checkout the youtube video for Clubbell Yoga Prenatal below!
They say that you should gain about 25-35 pounds during pregnancy. That makes sense for most bodies...However, I gained a whopping 60 pounds during mine! Getting out of bed was rough because by joints ached with all the extra weight. My skin stretched everywhere. I was tired a lot of the time and took naps to let my body rest daily. The best physical thing for my body during this time of growth and change was my Clubbell Yoga Prenatal practice, check it out on youtube with over 160,000 views by mamas to be so far. This was one of the catalysts for creating our Clubbell Yoga Prenatal DVD, which just released this week! Woot!
Many people in the health field with little to no experience in exercise prescription will just tell you to walk during pregnancy. But if you are an athletic woman who is used to training the musculoskeletal system, complex movement patterns, balance and want to maintain your athleticism during pregnancy, the truth is that merely walking won't do that for you. As a fit mama going into pregnancy, I needed a low impact and effective way to train throughout... Luckily I had an awesome trainer friend and new mom, Alaina Sawaya who was able to coach me and workout with me from the beginning. Together we created Clubbell Yoga Prenatal, a 90 minute follow along DVD with two different workouts options and yoga flows to match. Alaina found out she was pregnant during the filming of our Primal 12 program, a huge library of 12 workouts and 12 matching flows available for digital download. So if she can handle P12 during the first term, we as active & healthy women are definitely able to do more than we think during pregnancy...
It should be noted that our Clubbell Yoga Prenatal program is not intended for sedentary women, or women who have never exercised. We recommend that previously sedentary women get some private coaching if they have never exerted themselves with strength training or yoga before. However, if you lead an active lifestyle with experience in strength training and/or power yoga, this DVD is made just for you!
"I am 39 weeks pregnant and have been practicing Clubbell Yoga during my whole pregnancy, taking modifications as needed. CBY has raised my awareness of the importance of keeping a strong and solid structure but also how important is to let the body flow and learn how to release tension. You strengthen in this practice, but also you work on 'how to let go'. The emphasis on the breath is the primal way to listen to the body, and I believe that it will be very helpful in labor: a strong body structure but also relaxed when necessary."
- Danielle Kleber, Clubbell Yoga Instructor, London, UK
I met Mr. Daniel White last year at the first Clubbell Yoga (CBY) Seminar in London, UK. Since then he has continued to grow as a coach and a leader in CST. His path is one that is not traveled by many, so I chose to interview him about his process. Hopefully his answers can help you understand what it takes to 'lead from the front'. You can meet him at the upcoming Clubbell Yoga Seminar this May (VIP Registration ends March 7th).
Me: How long have you studied CST and TACFIT? How do you use it in your training?
Dan: I first started using TACFIT 'Barbarian' in 2011 and was immediately hooked on Tacfit. Since then I qualified as an instructor in TACFIT, Clubbell Yoga and Flowfit. These systems permeate all of my training and I try to stick to the 4 day wave incorporating them all: Flowfit for No intensity, CBY for low intensity and Tacfit for moderate and high intensity.
Me: Very cool, it is always good to hear how people incorporate CBY into their 4 day wave, especially since that is such a crucial part of CST.
Me: Describe your experience at the last CBY seminar in London, how did it shift your perspective in teaching movement, TACFIT/CST?
Dan: I attended the 2014 Clubbell Yoga seminar primarily to improve my Tacfit coaching. I wanted to learn more about using Clubbells and deepen my understanding of Yoga for compensation stretching. What I got was much, much more. It was a carefully controlled explosion of knowledge. Not only did I learn more about using and teaching Clubbells and Yoga. The seminar upped my game as a coach incredibly and took me deeper into the world of CST, in terms of my own training/ performance but also my skills in coaching others in Tacfit and Clubbell yoga and movement in general.
Me: Wow that is the first time I have ever heard my seminars described as an explosion of knowledge. Happy to hear that one!
holding the Clubbell. Not only does the use of the Clubbell improve shoulder stability and core function both of which are required for truly powerful expression of the body, but the improved proprioception, shoulder stability and postural alignment unifies the body and allows the CBY athlete to gain more from the flows and poses in a shorter amount of time, as you can just do them better!
Me: Great coaching insights Dan. I can see that you truly understand how to use this tool to improve not only your own performance, but your athletes' performance as well.
One thing that Alberto Gallazi does really well is lead from the front. As RMAX HeadCoach and Director of the European Union, he holds bi-annual CST/TACFIT conventions to keep all coaches/instructors informed about evolutions in the system. I have had the honor to have Alberto observe the very first Clubbell Yoga seminar when we launched back in 2012... now I get to meet him on his turf (well sort of) in London, UK. Alberto is trekking from Italy to London to teach a Clubbell 5X5 Workshop, featuring tons of info from his newest product release (CB 5X5) on May 15, 2015. His workshop is the day before the Clubbell Yoga Seminar at the Field Lifestyle and Training Centre. I would like to highlight a few things about Alberto that you may not expect... given his fierce look and very strong physique.
No this is not Acro yoga, it is a method that Alberto uses to show how the TACFIT style exercise relate directly to martial arts. He is showing points of contact on an opponent, but check out his hips (the powerhouse) which he can use to generate force and power when needed.
If you look at Alberto's face here, he is calm and relaxed even though his is holding a load (those two heavy Clubbells in Full Side Flag). Through his training he has developed mastery of breath, and is able to maintain breath flow AND inner core contraction while bearing weight.
Alberto trains TACFIT or Tactical Fitness, for people who need to be fit for service - specifically special armed forces. In order to remain injury free on the job, a certain amount of mobility is needed. He also uses exercises and compensation movements (aka yoga poses) that help to release residual tension that may may result from carrying heavy equipment and even weapons. Not your typical yogi, but still applying proper flexibility training to his audience. Pictured right, you see the Seal hand position to release the wrists from constant trigger ready position.
If you plan to come to the Clubbell Yoga seminar, you should not miss an opportunity to learn from Alberto Gallazzi the day before. His expertise and top tier coaching will only enhance your understanding of the Clubbell Yoga content.
Big Thank you to Danielle Kleber and Diego Core for hosting us at The Field Training & Lifestyle Centre, and congratulations to their new addition to the family, Pedro. This awesome photo was taken before Pedro made his debut, but we hope to meet him at the seminar :)
It was a sight to see... walking into the yoga studio and meeting a room full of rockstar CST and TACFIT athletes (most of which were men) at the Chicago Seminar this past weekend. This was by far the most prepared group of Clubbell Yoga Instructor candidates that I have encountered so far at a seminar. They did their 'homework' and used Primal 12 to prepare for this seminar, and the did it on a 4 day wave as most of Sonnon's athletes do.
Usually when I teach Clubbell Yoga seminars, I get a mix of guys and gals, some with yoga experience, some with training experience and we bridge the gap between strength training and yoga. This time around, everyone had experience with CST and knew their Clubbell hold positions as well as the mechanics of Clubbell Swinging: grip confirmation, elbow lock, shoulder pack, crown to coccyx alignment, etc. Made my job super easy (well almost).
It was a long two days, jam packed with information. But they held strong. We had new and improved manuals with photos for every single drill, exercise and pose plus diagrams for flows. Everyone at the seminar wrote their 4 class plans, and they are armed and ready to teach their cadres. I am floored with the amount of dedication, preparation and energy that this group brought to the Chicago training. They rocked it! Legion is strong. These aren't your typical yogis, and I am proud to teach Clubbell Yoga to the athletes.
Watch out for these new Clubbell Yogis from cities all around the Mid West!
Fun factoid: I did my yoga teacher training many years ago at an off the grid, outdoor yoga school in the desert in Baja Mexico under the instruction of the beautiful lady (Kelsey Lawford) that you see rocking reverse warrior below. Kelsey was one of my lead instructors under Shane Perkins at the Yandara Yoga Institute, and taught me the art of teaching dogma free vinyasa yoga. Now almost a decade later, she wrote me to tell me she is doing Primal 12 (eeeeek! that moment when your teacher takes your class, stoked!). I thought her insight may be of some value to you guys who want to know how to ramp up your yoga training.
Kelsey had a unique condition that caused her to get adrenal fatigue, and she struggled for a long time to get that under control. When I studied with Kelsey back in Baja, she was always a beam of light. So to hear that she was having some health issues broke my heart. She shared some of her story with me:
"I was diagnosed with endometriosis and needed emergency surgery two years ago. With this health challenge came extreme pain every month, and because of that I developed myriad of other health challenges including Adrenal Fatigue. I struggled to do the things I loved to do and had bouts of depression. I was longing to continue to excell at what I was passionate about but every time I exerted myself physically I would be exhausted and it would sometimes take days to recover. I have always had a strong spirit and used it to keep going and push through, but I felt stuck and I refused to accept that this might be my life."
Kelsey was fortunate to find some high quality supplements that helped her balance out her hormone levels and get her energy back. Once she was feeling back to her normal self, she started Primal 12. Kelsey just came to my Anatomy Breakdowns Workshop in Vancouver, BC a couple weeks ago, and her practice was looking very strong again. But her backstory is compelling...
"Several months ago, I taking these amazing supplements from a leading edge nutrition company and my life changed in so many ways. All of a sudden I had energy. I wasn't tired anymore and when I did something physically challenging I felt energized!
I jumped into Summer's Clubbell Yoga program Primal 12 right away. I love Primal 12 for its quick but intense workouts and how it continues to enhance my yoga practice. I recently went and worked out with my dear friend, who is a crossfitter and ex-triathlete, and I kept up. She said she was impressed with my workout and saw a difference in my life force and energy. The nutritional products and Primal 12 have supported me to surf harder, do a longer yoga practice, hike with my dogs, work out and feel energized and stoked to do it again the next day! I now can really live the life of my dreams!!"
You can read more of her story and contact her if you are having similar health challenges in your life from her website www.kelseylawford.com. Kelsey is not just a yoga teacher, but an energy practitioner and life coach. I am very fortunate to have been able to learn from her many years ago.
Below you see my other yoga teacher, Scott Sonnon. Not your typical yogi, he has lots of lean muscle mass, a shaved head and he trains special armed forces. The pic you see below is after I gave him his first Primal 12 workout (see video here). He has compiled a wealth of useful and immediately applicable information and research on adrenal fatigue and how to manage it through nutrition and exercise, check out his new program BAD 45.
Knowledge is power. Do your research, and find out what the best route for you is. If you suffer from adrenal fatigue or similar disorders, you may be surprised how much you can improve your condition with the right nutritional practices, supplements and FlowState focused workouts like Primal 12 and BAD45. Also, if you live overseas and are studying for an upcoming seminar, like CBY in London this May or Budapest in October... Primal 12 is a digital download so you don't have to worry about the high costs of shipping a DVD. Okay, enough about that, time to practice!
What happens when you take a Kettlebell athlete through a 4 hour workshop, introducing Awaken, Condition and Practice elements of Clubbell Yoga? Improved Range of Motion (ROM), a sense of openness, Flow State and the ability to move in 6D for starters.... One Kettlebell athlete commented at the end of the Flow portion of class, "I think I could go breakdancing right now, I feel so mobile!" Yes, Precisely. Read more to see how we did this...
Mike Zwack and I spent the first two and a half hours of the workshop dissecting the seven tests in an Functional Movement Screening, and providing an awakening drill (bodyweight joint mobility), a conditioning exercise (integrating Clubbell with a yoga transition and performing reps) then showed them the Yoga pose (practice) that would help them improve mobility needed for that specific test. The results were clear to see: more open shoulders, better hip ROM (especially in external hip rotation), improved spinal rotation and extension and more.
Once we got to the Flow portion of class, basically a 75 minute sweatfest where we put all of the pieces together in succession... These Kettlebell athletes were flying. It was amazing to watch and be in that room. Not to mention, Elite Performance and Spine Center, where the workshop was located was absolutely perfect for this workshop. We will most definitely be back again to do some Certification Prep. workshops prior to the upcoming August Retreat style CBY Certification seminar in Orcas Island.
Post Workshop, we had an open Q and A where we found the most common question:
How can I start training Clubbell Yoga right away, if there are no instructors in my area?
To that I responded, you can do everything we did in this class and more by using the Primal 12 digital download program. It provides you with 12 workouts and 12 flows, each one focusing on different performance elements.
Next Stop for Intro Workshop... True Fusion in Las Vegas!
Engaged in the movement toward more functional fitness. Mama, entrepreneur, leader, mentor, and co-creator of Clubbell Yoga.
Co-Creator of Clubbell Yoga, Movement & Performance Specialist, Head Coach at RMAX International