Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Yoga evolution and the ultimate barefoot workout

Fresh, funky and foot friendly, willPower is an incredible workout  

I incorporate Yoga into every aspect of life. If you allow me to talk to you for even five minutes I’ll find a way to make Yoga a relevant topic, no matter what. I attended willPower Fitness classes for the first time last month, and found the most unique blend of Yogic concepts and traditional exercise that I’ve ever encountered.

Like a traditional Yoga class, the willpower method calls on you to set a goal for the day and to seek positive growth in yourself. And also, the entire class is done without shoes, an approach everyone can enjoy and benefit from, even if they never set foot on a Yoga or Pilates mat. willPower is a whole new world.
willpower & Grace instructor Stacey Lei Krauss moving through a transitional lunge. Courtesy of willPower Fit Studio, Denver, CO.
The name willPower does mean you’ll be called upon to push yourself past your comfort zone, but not in the typical, boot camp fashion. Yes, you will push yourself, you’ll sweat and at the end, be tired. I’m a certified Yoga teacher with eight years of experience and a trainer of minimalist runners who has finished his share of races I ran without any shoes. And at the end of each class, I was tired. But in terms of the grueling part of the work out, it had nothing to do with the tired “no pain no gain” adage.

WillPower engages your mind to work with your body, and teaches you to listen to what the body is saying. Not only does this approach prevent needless, painful injuries, it enables you to find your appropriate level of difficulty where you can work safely and effectively to go further. This approach is a core tenet of traditional Yoga that is beautifully blended into the unique willPower approach.

YogaFit Instructor Vincent Gerbino moving into Hanumanasa (Monkey god pose)
Photo by Kristen Glenn Photography for YogaFit Corp.
Yoga’s presence with willpower is truly evolutionary. The evolution comes with the fact that the physical poses are blended with concepts-you’ll go from a traditional horse pose to an evolved position where you’ll unfold and step onto one foot, then into a sideways lunge known as a “cougar lunge” and back to stepping onto one foot and so on, sort of an evolutionary blend between Ashtanga Yoga and step aerobics but with stoic stability of Iyengar Yoga mixed in.

Students will be called upon to rise up onto the balls of their feet throughout the class, and every student including first timers will be encouraged even to jump, and will receive precise guidance from their teacher on how to do it. Strength-wise, this kind of jumping presents a challenge, but with the guidance of the teacher, doing it safely is surprisingly easy.  Knowing why it is easy has to do with being barefoot.

When you are barefoot, you feel the ground and both your mind and body become connected with it. Your mind doesn’t have to guess where you are because it isn’t trying to feel the ground through the bottoms of your shoes. Your feet are very sensitive, and the stimulation of the many nerve endings within them raises you awareness level all throughout your body and connects the body to the mind. This is another core tenet of traditional Yoga, and it’s also the reason why jumping on the balls of your feet amidst and intense workout is easy.

Yes, the workout will be a challenge. But it will be easy to feel fantastic during and after it.


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