When we think of yoga, we associate it with the words like ancient tradition, religion, spirituality, even magical thinking falls into the mix. The thing is, the yoga we know was never a pure thing. Like anything that survived for so long, it had to adapt. Yoga has borrowed from calisthenics, martial arts, gymnastics, and contortionism for the physical part of it's practice. By the mid-nineteenth century the asana practice of yoga as we know it today took its shape. Asana became the aspect of yoga that reached a global following because it bridged the gap between the esoteric and the physical. Through asana we learned presence of mind as we journeyed to find our center. While yoga is a fantastic form of exercise coupled with a spiritual and mental aspect, it doesn't mean that we can't combine it with other pastimes–in fact yoga helps in the advancement of most activities. In addition, the mental/spiritual practice permits us to break the blocks we encounter in our lifestyle choices.
As a teacher I come across individuals, each with unique mindsets or interests that require different things to stick to a practice. While most of them have an interest to try yoga, they also require much education on it’s scope of practice in relation to the compatibility of their needs. I’ve heard them all, “ Will yoga be enough of a workout for me? I’m very active.”
“Is yoga good for runners?”
“Can I still do yoga if I ( insert active hobby here)”
“Will yoga be very boring?”
“Is yoga a way to convert us into hinduism?” Yes! Someone has asked me that.
Encountering these queries is partly how Misfit Yoga was born. I wanted to make a platform that answers these questions. Clear the air about yoga and the fact that you can mix it up with almost everything but drinking. I know there’s beer yoga but I would not recommend it. Believe me! You will not find your center when you have a buzz!.
So let’s start small. Before we dive into mixing your yoga practice with every kind of sport or pastime, Let’s look at how combining yoga with its adjacent disciplines can have a positive effect on your body and mind! If you would like to know more, I have provided a link to an article that best explains these types of exercise.
Yoga With Other Wellness Arts
Pilates - This is the closest form of fitness to yoga. It has almost the same basic poses in a traditional yoga class on the mat, there are breathing techniques to help you to go from one pose to another and extracts almost the same benefits as one sticks to the practice. The difference is that Pilates has a very strong focus on your core. To give you a more intense experience, this discipline also has a series of apparatus you can work with. The idea in Pilates is by strengthening your abdominals, you will have the ability to move your extremities in every direction with ease. What happens when you combine yoga and pilates? Increased body awareness,improved posture, a killer mid-section, improved balance coupled with the ability to remain calm as you feel very intense sensations throughout the class.
Aerial arts - Personally, this was my choice of combo with my yoga practice. Using different circus apparatus allowed me to increase my flexibility in a blink of an eye. When I’m hanging from a hoop or hammock, I have to hook a part of my body and actively extend myself to keep me from falling. Imagine the forces that pull you into extension: gravity, the apparatus, and your active stretching. You will awaken muscles you never knew you had. The best part for me, is the instant mindfulness practice that comes with flying. I’ve always had trouble focusing my mind. So the fear of cracking my head open enabled me to remain in the present. Alternating my circus practice with yoga helped me clear my head on the mat from pranayama to savasana.
Reference: Aerial Arts
Barre - this is actually a conglomeration of ballet, pilates and yoga. Barre is a fusion workout that elongates the lines of the body using ballet inspired conditioning. Working with props like yoga blacks, small hand weights, therabands and ankle weights to reinforce or augment the experience. By using short movements or pulses, one is able to develop the small muscles that can sometimes get neglected as we work out the big muscle groups. While it provides most of the benefits in a yoga class, the standout advantage of barre is the endurance training. Those pulses add up! In an hour-long class, it can match a circuit training session any day! To be more specific, taking up barre and yoga helps you in your transitions, strength poses, and your single leg balances.
Gyrokineses- is a continuous movement exercise that focuses on all the directions the spine can go into. Through this form of kinesics; we increase mobility of practitioners as well as create space for our bodies to increase their range of motion. It is low-impact, suitable for all ages, and increases body fluidity. The undulating transitions mean that every part of your body plays a part. Like pilates, Gyrokineses has a range of contraptions to assist or intensify your workout called Gyrotonics. It makes an excellent combination with vinyasa or ashtanga yoga especially if you practice body rolls when moving from pose to pose.
Functional Training - Functional training is about using repetitive compound exercises progressively to improve the way you perform physical tasks or prepare for a sport. FT has a wide berth to diversify its method. From HIIT, circuit training, calisthenics, and range conditioning, making it anything but boring. Combining yoga and a functional training routine can garner remarkable results from an aesthetic and physically tested viewpoint in as little as 3 months. . If your practice involves very physical sessions with hand balancing or inversions, prepping your body functionally for these intense sequences might just be what the trainer ordered.
Reference: Functional Training
Suspension training- As with the aerial arts, suspension training uses gravity to ignite your core, focus, and body awareness to move from pose to pose. The only difference is that a suspension system will have you closer to the ground. It is also one of the more portable contraptions available. Here’s what’s available on the market: The Bodhi suspension system, Redcord Active, TRX, K08, Bungee fitness, and the Yoga Trapeze. Most of these systems have their signature methodology. Ranging From a form of physical therapy, to the next trendy thing in group classes. One thing’s for sure, yo'll need to stand your ground or you will land on it. How does this work with a yoga practice? slight instability of the straps will intensify every exercise you do because you'll need to maintain body engagement as a whole. Most importantly–any of these systems can act as an assist if you are a beginner with inversions or balancing poses. With a well-rigged suspension system, you can practice your kick-ups to handstands, crow variations–lifting the fear off most inversions.
Pole dance - Pole dance received a bad rep through the years because it was linked to exotic dancing. These days it's on the way to becoming an olympic sport! Pole dance is the use of a vertical pole in choreography with tricks, climbs and spins. The reason it was widely linked to that “darker” side of the performance arts was because the only way to achieve any of the steps in pole was with your skin. You can’t wear much with that vertical bar otherwise you will slide down. Yoga comes in handy with pole fitness for added mobility, body control, especially with side or back-bending. The lifts and poses in poledance require powerful as well as flexible obliques. You will engage every muscle so much so that you’ll wanna put a ring on it!
Reference: Pole dance
Yoga has never been the last word in the lifestyle industry. In fact traditional floor yoga doesn’t do jackcrap for your wrists with all the 2,000+ asanas on it’s roster. Talk about, “Ya missed a spot there buddy!”. It is not on the highest tier when it comes to taking charge of your well-being. It is another thing that will help. Yoga is something that can fill in the gaps of what might be missing in your set of activities. The point is that you do you. Try different things, find out what works. That’s how you form a relationship with yourself by listening to whatever’s within.
I hope this article has served you well Misfit Yogis!
Good luck and stay safe!