Yoga and Body Building

By Gopi Rao

If you are a purist, you probably don’t like the idea of Yogic exercise being heaped in with alternative therapies and fringe exercise systems like martial arts, bodybuilding, and Pilates. Why should we consider working along side other health maintenance systems? Much of it has to do with being the best you can be. Self-image can be hard to face, but isn’t that what Yogic philosophy teaches us to do. Graduates of Yoga teacher certification courses are no different from black belts in martial arts, when you consider level of proficiency within one’s field.

On the physical side of the coin, athletes in many different disciplines work to strengthen and sculpt their bodies to perfection. Bodybuilding is a sport that involves toning and strengthening the muscles to their maximum capacity. Body builders work hard to sculpt a body where each muscle is large and defined. They also work on presenting their bodies in a way that highlights each muscle group, showing off their best assets.

It’s extremely important for body builders to stretch the muscles after working them so hard. Repetitive weight lifting builds the muscles, but it shortens the muscle at the same time. Shortened muscles pose risks for injury and strain and can also limit range of motion. Stretching gives the muscles a chance to become flexible and less prone to injury. Many professional and amateur body builders are improving their workout routines by adding yoga into the mix. Yoga gives the entire body a well-rounded stretch and allows the muscles to remain supple. It can also help improve focus and concentration during workouts and other areas of life.

Improved Posture

Good posture is important for body builders because it keeps all the muscles in line and allows them to be as strong as they can be without strain or injury. When body builders enter a competition, they perform various poses to highlight their muscles. Good posture will benefit body builders by improving each pose and fluidity of movement. Attaining each asana also requires great balance and flexibility. Yoga training will improve both balance and flexibility, allowing body builders the necessary grace and agility for a beautiful performance.

Reduced Stress

The stress of competitions and maintaining a sculpted body can add up over time. Yoga training can provide a healthy way to release feelings of stress and anxiety before and between competitions. Body builders can employ different breathing and meditation techniques that will help reduce or eliminate feelings of stress.

Improved Range of Motion

As the muscles become more agile, there is less risk of injury, strain or chronic pain, which can require medical intervention or other forms of physical therapy. The bigger a muscle becomes, the more important it is to keep it agile and able to move smoothly. Large muscles that become shortened over time will only pose greater risk for injury. Body builders do not need to trade in their weights for a yoga mat, but it will help them in the long run to achieve a healthy, strong body that is not susceptible to injury and strain.

Legal Complications and Observations

By Michele Paiva

In a society where the line between helping and harming is sometimes blurred, it is crucial that as Yoga therapists and Yoga professionals, the perimeters are set firm.

It is a common thread to give a universal ideal of what Yoga therapy, or even Yoga instructing, is or is not; it is impossible. To a Yoga professional, the term, “Yoga” is one thing. To someone unaware of Yoga, who simply read upon its definition, from a myriad of sources, some which are more or less reliable from the others – may glean something else. A judge could summarize Yoga therapy as a therapy which should be licensed. The list of definitions and implications is long, tedious, and often, conflicting.

One line of reasoning, that is not to be conflicted, is the very real legal obligations and boundaries anyone who uses Yoga with others, in an exchange of payment, should be made aware.

Who are you serving?

First of all, it is important to properly designate names to those who seek our services. Are they our patients? No. Under the law, a patient is only one who is a person under medical or psychiatric care. A client is a possible delineation, but the term, “client,” under a legal sense, means that the person sought a professional in exchange for advice or help.

A consumer exchanges money for goods or services. A student is one who receives knowledge or instruction. Most of us would fall under the teacher/student role for safe legal keeping. It is suggested that if you have written paperwork, or a web site, you note that people who seek you are students, not clients or patients. You may, perhaps, want to state that you have student-clients, and then for the sake of brevity, refer to them afterwards as clients.

Consumer Rights

Consumers have a list of rights, and even if you do not consider yourself a business man or business woman, you need to be business and legal savvy; although you may not be thinking in this realm. The list of consumer rights includes, but is not limited to: Safety, Information, Unsolicited Goods or Services, Pricing, Misleading Conduct and Guarantees.

The items listed are of primary concern to the Yoga instructor, or Yoga therapist, because they are all silent and dormant legal issues that could erupt at any moment.

Michele M. Paiva, 500 RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) Editorial Board: International Yoga Therapists Association | Michele Paiva is a former News Anchor, journalist, and legal advocate.

Paradoxal Quotes

By Mandy Eubanks

“Out of sight, Out of Mind” or “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

These are two very different, but very true quotes. In our lives, each one of these rings a sense of truth. What, and who, do we tend to forget about when we are not sharing the same space; and what, and who, do we crave when we are in different places? Although these are two very different situations, they can result in the same lesson. If one would take time to sit and learn what their heart yearns for, (whether it be love, attention, gratitude, trust, respect), and also sit and reflect on what they deprive themselves of, because of lack of propinquity or the avoidance of feeling a heavy heart, I believe that through both, you will find in truth what you really desire. Both take time and effort, remembrance, reflection, and dedication.

In our relationships, when we are not in the presence of our beloved, do we clutter our lives in avoidance of feeling an uncomfortable emotion, or do we acknowledge how important that person is to our lives, and how much we yearn for their nearness?

For me, in my Yoga practice, I can always watch my fluctuating relationship with the constant state of grace (or spirit, soul, or what have you). When I am off my sticky mat, or not sitting in meditation, I find myself wondering from my inherent state of grace, and I also find myself yearning to be back in the arms of grace when I feel absent from it.

There are countless ways to apply these quotes to our lives; each way will be a different experience, but at the same time, illustrate the same deeper truth.

Summer 2006 Yoga Instructor Certification Announcement:

Last Fall, our onsite Yoga certification intensive, in North Providence, RI, sold out in two weeks. Our next on-site Yoga teacher training enrollment will take place at the Attleboro studio and will begin next Monday, March 20, 2006. For more information about our next Yoga instructor training, or a brochure, call our Attleboro studio: 508-222-0092.