Sometimes I feel like I am an undercover agent at my Clubbell Yoga seminars... like I am bringing the ‘yoga secrets’ to movement specialists from “the other side” i.e. the lifters. My most recent London seminar actually had the most yoga teachers in attendance to date, so I got to flip my usual role and teach them about how to strengthen the power poses with Clubbell Yoga conditioning. Everyone practices in harmony in a Clubbell Yoga class, working toward a common goal - being both strong AND flexible. Even though I welcome the yogis to practice, they have most definitely not welcomed me... Yogis often times don't believe that Clubbell Yoga is real yoga. After reading this article, you can decide if it is or isn't.
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Some yogis focus a ton on flexibility, some focus a ton on arm balance. The unfortunate result of overspecializing in those picture perfect poses is that the stress placed on the joints is cumulative, and eventually can lead to an overuse injury. I am always sad to hear a big ‘instagram yoga star’ get injured. It happens a lot. Yogis famous for handstands commonly suffer from injured wrists. Ashtanga yogis with injured shoulders. Deep backbending yogis with injured discs. If you follow any ‘instagram yoga stars’ you will eventually see what I am talking about. Injury can lead to depression, especially if you place a high value on your physical performance, which is another common thread amongst these high level acrobatic type yogis.
People seem to have this belief that injury is inevitable, or that everyone gets injured eventually. Being injured is Normal, right? Wrong! The truth is that being really physically active or even a competitive athlete does increase risk of injury, but there is a lot we can do to prevent overtraining. The first and most obvious solution is cross-training for your sport in a way that compliments the movements and energy systems utilized in a sport. Loaded Clubbell Yoga poses is a perfect example of how we can create an sport specific adaptation to yoga asana.
Since very few yogis are open to this idea of strength training with Clubbells, we are creating a new bread of yogis. My speculation on why no yoga studios have shown any interest in Clubbell Yoga is probably due to one of two reasons:
#1: “It ain’t real yoga”
Perhaps it is because there is no specific lineage to trace CBY back to (though it is a culmination of many ancient disciplines including various martial arts techniques, and even Indian Clubs which came from India). Since the system wasn’t directly from BKS, Patthabi Jois ... it immediately loses validity amongst the yoga crowd. I take no offense, just noting what I have seen over the past three years of teaching it around the world.
#2 “It is too focused on the workout, not enough on the spirituality of yoga.”
Or maybe due to a limited amount of spiritual dogma presented in classes. We choose to let the practice speak for itself, and honestly don’t have a ton of extra time to spend on spiritual lessons. Though we may go to other classes for that, or practice meditation on our own... we focus on the biomechanics of yoga, the progression of poses, flowstate and yoga coaching to make sure everyone in a room is safe and injury free.
Once the body is strong, then the mind starts to change. Many people who start with Clubbell Yoga become very proficient in the poses and even start to like conventional yoga classes. Unfortunately, many of the old teachings tell people to practice yoga everyday, even at the sake of their discs or predisposed injury risk. Back in the day when those manuals and teachings were written, we didn’t have desk jobs and iphones pulling our posture extremely out of alignment, putting us at risk for injury in a yoga class. We also didn’t have as deep of an understanding of biomechanics, fascia and performance. As a yogi, I see the importance of cross training, and I even use www.primal12.com to make sure I train for my sport... yoga.
A wise man builds a strong foundation first, then starts building a house. A fool builds a house with no foundation, only to see it crumble at the first sign of stress. Your body is no different, you must build a strong foundation to take your practice deeper. Clubbell Yoga aims to build a foundation of dynamic flexibility, and contrary to some people’s assumptions, it doesn’t aim to replace other lineages of yoga. Strong is the new sexy. See you in the non-Yoga Journal! Oh wow, I think I just found a new niche magazine... Non-Yoga Journal - for alternative mind body exercise. Let's do it.
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