Get ready for some controversy! Wouldn't it be so much easier for so many people in the strength and fitness industry and the yoga community, if I would just leave well enough alone and stop poking at sensitive spots? Well, I don't prod hot buttons because of a masochistic desire to unsettle them. I do so because a life uninvestigated is not worth living.
WHY are they hot buttons? WHY does it anger certain individuals to explore such topics? Let me share with you a little madness which resulted from a couple decades of interdisciplinary study and travel around the world the roots of certain disciplines to determine the truth for myself.
Centuries ago, ancient club swinging techniques integrated seamlessly with postures of power (Let's use the loaded term "yoga" for now). These developed originally for two purposes, which I'll explain, but this isn't my theory. It's simple anthropological record. I don't claim to have created this idea.
The HISTORICAL reason for developing strength and power in disciplines across the Earth was not so that we could acquire or protect scarce resources, or so that we could attract and retain desirable mates, nor is it because of wanting increased social station and higher strata mobility. The two reasons we developed strength and power were:
1. To increase the body's strength so that it could remain still long enough to meditate in prayer. Compared to the spirit, the body is weak, frail and mortal. So, to turn one's gaze upon thoughts of God, the body needed to be built up in strength; not merely health - the ability to sustain daily function, but STRENGTH - the ability to actively engage in effort beyond the norm. If you've ever attempted to meditate in prayer for extended periods of time, regardless of your religion or spirituality, you know that the body can be weak, and that our bodily weakness can distract us from our higher calling and inner guidance.
2. If you're going to meditate, you're going to be persecuted by those who don't agree with the way in which you pray, the descriptions you portray God, or the congregation with whom you surround yourself. Either you needed to be able to be strong and powerful enough to protect your right to meditate in prayer in the manner you felt right for you, or you needed someone to watch over you, to stand on the walls and at the gates, while you did. You either needed to be strong and powerful yourself, or needed someone to be so while you were vulnerable during your meditative prayer.
Now, why in the world would I bother to study the anthropology intersection of spiritual meditation / religious prayer and physical culture? Firstly, because I'm curious; no excuses here - if it's uninvestigated, my mind draws to it compulsively. Secondly, because I practice both, and I'm not interested in a compartmentalized or internally inconsistent lifestyle. What we do in one aspect of our life affects every, so I seek integration. Lastly, in order to understand the efficacy of the methods we use, we must investigate (or have someone investigate) the origin, purpose for creation and how effective they are at achieving that objective.
For the reasons I state above, let me state this: CLUBBELL YOGA IS NOT A STYLE OF YOGA!
It is meant to be an educational intersection of improving the strength and power of a weak, frail and mortal body to keep its focus upon a higher purpose. If you haven't yet identified your higher purpose, if you haven't reconnected with the divine spark within you, or if you have no intention of making your fitness be anything more than a gerbil wheel of repetitive physical activity, you're improved function, enhanced energy and greater focus, awareness and concentration will compel you to your higher purpose anyway.
Frankly, I don't care if you're Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Mormon, Shintoist, Taoist or Jedi, all traditions have two imperatives: love and service. If you want to love and serve others, improving your strength and power will improve your ability to do so, for longer.
If you understand the biomechanical intersection of clubbell swinging and postures of power (asana), then you'll appreciate the reality that restoring these two elements to act in conjunction with each other as they did several hundred years ago, holds not only scientific validity, but also what anthropologists call an "evolutionarily survival strategy."
Summer Huntington who created Clubbell Yoga, asked me to speak to the benefits of the system, and why they're so critical to athletes and every day people. Well, the benefits of both in combination are greater than the sum of the individual benefits of both modalities: another controversial statement. But the fusion of these two modalities holds a synergistic effect.
But, in order to discuss the physiological benefits of extended center of mass and leverage disadvantage decreasing total true weight, traction and torque causing enhanced tissue and bone stimulation growth improving strength, durability and offsetting osteoporosis, three-dimensional resistance restoring true natural function of the joint ranges... we must first appreciate:
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO LIVE LONGER AND STRONGER???
I don't want you to convert to any cult, religion or spiritual tradition. I don't have any interest in how you express your purpose for existing, or how you celebrate the divine gift of life you've been given. But frankly, the longer and stronger you are able to pursue your higher purpose, the better every single person on the planet will become.
I didn't get involved with this for money. I did it to get out of my own terrifying childhood circumstances; otherwise, I wouldn't have become a fighter for 20 years: there are much better paying and less costly vocations. I got involved with all of this because I believe that if you start unlocking more of your potential energy within you for extended (or rather unshortened) life, and improved quality of life, if you don't already have your higher purpose for being here identified, you WILL find it; you WILL pursue it and you WILL make it a reality for as long as you live.
At RMAX, we've always aimed at providing you - NO MATTER HOW CONTROVERSIAL to the current understanding of exercise science - the best methods for a long, strong life. When I first presented the Clubbell at the National Conference for the NSCA - arguably the most prestigious strength conditioning association in the world - I was laughed at by my "peers." In 2013, it is the most widely practiced form of strength training in history, and by next year is projected to overtake kettlebells in USA as the most embraced form of home exercise equipment, with gyms in 32 countries around the world.
Clubbell Yoga is no different. It is the way in which we express positions of power, postures of strength and alignment of poise and grace. If you've answered WHY you want to live longer and stronger, then you also know how intimately useful such a historically and scientifically proven method of training will serve you serve others.
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