When I attended my first Hour of Power class, I was sceptical and wanted to see how it would compliment with yoga, running, weight training and basketball, all of which I do regularly. What caught my attention and made me feel comfortable in an instant was when the instructor’s opening statement was “Hour of Power is in the breathing”. Being in sports since a very young age, breathing correctly has been my key focal point.
I have been practicing yoga since quiet a number of years but am also very passionate about weights. It took me sometime to understand how both can work together and how I can balance both practices. Weight training method is for building strength creating big muscles because it develops muscle mass away from the bone. In yoga, the muscles are drawn onto the bones evenly, front, back, and side, in order to support the skeleton.
In the HOP® class, they start and end the class with yoga postures and this prepares and relaxes your muscles and mind before and after the challenge. Yoga and HOP® works with your body weight which helps in improving not only the muscles but in improving your body balance which automatically works on your core. The eventual result in both is that your body, mind, and breath are integrated in all actions.
In yoga you work the entire body in harmony in every single pose. The aim is to create a balance of skin, muscles, and bone so that our energy, breath, and fluids can flow without obstruction. Of course, this may not be your immediate experience because certain body parts are stronger than others. Instead you may feel more effort or get tired in areas that are not as strong. That’s just part of the process of gaining equal strength and awareness throughout the entire body.
In the Hour of Power and Yoga, I experience when you do feel one area more intensely than another and start getting tired you may notice that your mind fixates on that spot. In both practices you are reminded like a wake-up call to bring the attention back to the breath and let go of the effort throughout the body. When you experience equanimity of body, the mind starts to come to stillness and experience equanimity as well.
When I try something new, I don’t make any decisions or set an opinion till 48 hours later. The most important for me is to see how it feels the next 2 days. And I have to say, apart from a bit of soreness I felt energized, strong and looked forward to my next Hour of Power Class. The Beauty of this class is that you can take many movements with you and practice on your own. Now thrice a week I do 15 minutes of Hour of Power movements in my workout regime. It’s made a difference…… when others notice the difference and compliment your body!!
Bottom line is that you need to know your own body and what works best for you. The experts can give their opinions and experiences, but you need to choose for yourself and listen to your body. Take a break when your body needs one. Learn to intuit when rest is appropriate. Start incorporating yoga postures into the warm-up and cool-down portions of your workout. Think of HOP® as a Functional Fitness and yoga as its circular complement. The best form of yoga that compliments HOP® for me is Hatha Yoga.
Irina Sharma (irinayoga.org)