More and more men have been joining the lululemon-clad ladies yoga studios these days. Or if not rocking the mandex (spandex for dudes), they are creating a meaningful home practice that suits them. One such athlete, scholar and Clubbell Yoga ambassador Erik Romanak of Seva Fitness in Kentucky speaks up on what this very unique practice means to him. I met Eric at our first Clubbell Yoga Seminar in Chicago a couple of years ago, and he continues to lead from the front with other CST & TACFIT programs and offerings at his studio.
ERIC: Why I choose Clubbell Yoga...
"Strength has been at the foundation of yoga since its inception. Wrestlers, soldiers and rebels used yoga for training and development because of its potent fusion of strength and agility. After a decade of yoga practice and teaching, the people I meet in my practice use yoga for many different reasons. Yoga transcends personality type, body shape and age. It really is an amazing science and art.
In yoga, our base level of existence is symbolized by the Mula Bandha. It represents the first level of human reality and the need to survive before we can thrive. It teaches us the importance of strength and endurance as we continuously adapt and reach for new heights. It is the foundation of everything about us physically and psychologically
As we climb the mountains of our lives, we get glimpses into our higher nature. The perspective gained from this expanded view helps people find peace and joy in the flow of life. It is important to embrace the larger view, but if it isn't tethered to our base reality it becomes something else - ranging from instability to delusion. The balance is found when you aim high but never forget your roots, staying connected to your foundation.
No matter what you're trying to build, whether it's a business, a skyscraper or a better life, the quality and strength of your foundation underlies every element that follows. Strengthening that foundation creates the necessary conditions required for success. Clubbell Yoga's fusion of strength and yoga reawakens a conscious awareness of your foundation and connects you to the absolute necessity of it.
Strengthening alignment and flow is the essence of my practice. All of the other benefits like relaxation, energy and flexibility happen as a natural byproduct of that. Clubbell yoga has grounded my practice and created an amazing platform for growth." - Eric Romanak
Thank you Eric for your insights and dedication to this practice. If you want to learn more about Clubbell Yoga by coming to a seminar led by Summer Huntington and assisted by Alaina Sawaya (of Primal 12 & Clubbell Yoga Prenatal), take advantage of this very limited 96 Hour Discount on the upcoming FlowFit & Clubbell Yoga seminars happening in Bellingham, WA this October 6-9th ... save over $500 on each seminar if your register by 8/4. Remember, be more prepared than the challenges you face both on and off the yoga mat.
Namaste brothers and sisters!
It turns out we have some pretty amazing instructors in our Clubbell Yoga tribe... including the stunning Ashleigh Kast who became certified in New York City in 2014. Ashleigh has all of the hustle, the brains and the beauty to turn heads in the fitness industry, and that is exactly what she has been doing with her blog Sophisticated Strength. As a fitness model and coach, her clients and followers look to her for advice on nutrition, squats (her specialty) and inspiration. Check out this interview to get to know her a bit more. Also check out our EVENTS page for the next upcoming seminars in your area (VIP registration for Vancouver, BC ends Jan 1, and New York ends Feb 1, don't delay - get your deposit in now to reserve your space). So excited to spotlight Ashleigh and also have her assist at the next upcoming seminar!
Summer: When I asked Ashleigh to do the interview, she humbly answered:
Ashleigh: I am not a yoga teacher by training (meaning not 200 hour yoga certified), but I am Clubbell Yoga certified. Our Clubbell Yoga practice at Drive495 is accordingly less like a typical yoga session. We have a very good core group of guys but I'm not hands-on with assists and we are not very spiritual in our class either... infact we have MosDef on the playlist. We actually joke and call it "secular yoga." I just feel like you need to know that in selecting me as a representative for your brand.
S: Thank you for your honesty, and I couldn't be more happy that you are teaching yoga to non-yogis. That is the whole point of Clubbell Yoga. Put your own flavor on it all you want, this movement is for every-BODY.
S:Thanks for doing the interview, let's start simple... Do you have any nicknames that you go by?
A:Not really. I used to go by akast or smash, but it's mostly just Ashleigh.
S:Where did you grow up?
A:I grew up in Union, NJ, running around with the neighborhood kids playing soccer and basketball. I was always a runner at heart, starting cross-country in middle school.
S:How did you get your start in the fitness industry?
A: I really got started in college. I thought I wanted to help people with sports injuries so I took up pre-med and got a personal trainer certification to make some money while I was in school. I changed my major a hundred times, before I realizing my side job, my coaching job, was the place I could make the most difference. I had such amazing mentors that I figured out super early that good training is the best rehab possible. I was just so lucky to be around the smartest people.
S:What drew you to the Clubbell Yoga practice?
A: I fell in love with yoga while training for an Ironman. I needed to be ready for the blinding July heat so in January, I took up hot vinyasa yoga; not expecting to learn so much about the mind-body connection. I noticed that shoulder injuries were like contagious diseases, even among instructors. And it made me wonder if the system wasn't missing something.
S: What kinds of people do you train with Clubbell Yoga & when are your regular classes?
A: My core group of regulars in class at Drive495 are actually all guys who want to move better for golf.
Come check out a class Monday and Wednesday nights at 7:30pm or Saturdays at 9:30am.
S: What are you most known for?
A: It sort of depends who you talk to. I'm most known in NJ for getting my clients strong enough to get back to what they love doing, pain free. In the city, I'm the bridal transformation expert. Online, I want women to know that you can be both super strong and super feminine. You don't have to sacrifice one for the other. That it's ok to want to train smart, but also train for aesthetics.
S: You are also known for being the queen of glutes...What advice could you give about building a butt?
A: So much of good glue training is just good training for any goal. The body functions better, it feels better, it responds better when our muscles, or our strengths, are in appropriate balance. It's figuring out how to equal the scales first, and then getting the exercises and the sets and reps right.
S: What is your favorite protein smoothie?
A: I am super simple with my smoothies and I have a huge sweet tooth. I use 1.5 servings of Jay Robb chocolate egg white protein, organic peanut butter, and banana. You can put them in any ratio that fits your macros. I'll add in a packet of chia and flax too!
At 17 years old, I found myself dancing face-to-face with a movement therapist in a small room at the Colorado Children’s Hospital. I had never felt so alive. For months, I partook in multiple styles of therapy in the eating disorders unit, but here marks the first time that my inhibitions crumbled, tapping into the expressive power of my body without over-thinking and without fear of judgment. The freedom of connecting my perceived self with my physical being absolutely changed my life. Now, at 21, I find this same mind-body connection through Clubbell Yoga, a practice developed by my internship mentor, Summer Huntington.
My decision to major in kinesiology was based on my keen interest and fascination with these beautiful machines that we call our bodies. Before I progressed into anatomical education, some may have labeled me an endorphin junkie, a cardio bunny or just a good old-fashioned gym rat. My workouts were mind-numbingly measured by the time that they took and the calories they burned, treating my body as a separate entity from my brain. While my love for fitness still runs deep and strong, I have begun to account for my health on a more holistic level—focused on functional strength, mind-body connection, expressional freedom of motion, balance and stability.
I was first introduced to Summer Huntington as my kinesiology professor at Western Washington University. One day in class, our scheduled guest speaker was unable to make it, so Summer gave an impromptu presentation about her education, business (Fit Body Wellness) and path to creating Clubbell Yoga. The passion with which she spoke and the knowledge she demonstrated throughout teaching the class genuinely resonated with me. When it came time for me to find an internship as a graduation requirement, Summer was the first person that came to mind. In November I sent her an email, set up a meeting that week and began this awesome internship that I am blessed to have gotten!
Clubbell yoga was not on my radar before hearing Summer speak. Yoga has been a part of my life on-and-off for 7 years now, but I used it more for rest-day stretching and relaxation. Since I began my internship, I have been attending Clubbell Yoga classes with regularity and practice on my own almost every day. Consistently dedicating time and actively working towards specific goals has changed the way I think about yoga and adding the Clubbell has increased my strength and balance beyond expectations. In November, I paged through the Clubbell Yoga handbook, amazed at Summer’s strength and doubting that I would be able to do half of the pictured poses. I discovered throughout the next few months that I am, indeed, capable. All it takes is some good, honest effort.
just one example of a goal that I’ve worked towards and accomplished, thanks to the strength and balance (both physical and mental) that Clubbell Yoga provides. Practicing Clubbell yoga puts me right back into that place of mind-body connection that I first experienced with the dance therapist. It is an indescribable, primitive peace that leaves me feeling powerfully grounded.
This week I will be attending the Clubbell Yoga seminar in Bellingham in hopes to obtain a certification. So far I’ve attended two CBY workshops, where I learned all about the anatomical functionality of the hips (Vancouver workshop) and circular strength training (Seattle workshop). These two workshops, along with posting yoga poses bi-weekly on Fit Body Wellness’s Facebook page have helped me learn about poses themselves and what is happening mechanically in the body to accomplish them. Both training with Summer and practicing on my own have facilitated my growth, mentally and physically, to walk into this week’s seminar with power and grace. I can’t wait to continue learning, growing and progressing. Check out some of the upcoming seminars on the Scheduled Events Page, for VIP registration deadlines.
Until next time,
Dana Llewellyn, Intern at Fit Body Wellness
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