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Yoga Is Full Of Dumbbells Now

in YD News
Yoga Sculpt | image via CorePower

Yoga Sculpt | image via CorePower

Everywhere you turn your head, more dumbbells. Weights, that is. What were you thinking? Body weight isn’t enough anymore, and without getting too far into the CrossFit Yoga territory, we do keep hearing about how using weights in yoga class is the new cool trend. But maybe it’s more about health than looks?

“Weights add a little bit of intensity [to a yoga practice]… and in LA, people are always looking for something that’s very challenging,” says Brit Middleton, yoga director at a heated yoga studio called Hot 8 in Beverly Hills.

OK, maybe not. Dumbbells in yoga class are apparently being used for something known as body sculpting. Welcome to the world of Yoga Sculpt. “Think bicep curls with your legs in crescent pose, or weighted squats in chair,” Well+Good has us imagine and immediately dread. Oh, LA.

At the fast-growing mega yoga chain CorePower, Yoga Sculpt is a “total body workout” class led to “energizing” music in a room cranked to 95 degrees, promising to push your “strength and flexibility to new heights.”

“Free weights are added to the CorePower Yoga 2 (C2) sequence, creating resistance and intensifying each pose. Strength-training exercises such as squats, lunges, bicep curls and tricep curls are incorporated to build lean muscle mass,” the website description reads.

Lots of fitness centers and yoga studios are doing it now. Everyone wants sculpted parts these days. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that, Buns Of Steel 5000. Typically, in yoga we use our own body weight and create our own resistance. Weight training has been recommended to help maintain, or build, muscle mass which naturally decreases as we get older. But, with the two combined, can it be better (or safe) for your body?

Jen Regenscheid, national sculpt lead (real title) at CorePower says using weights will make your practice stronger and help reduce risk of injury.

“Yoga sculpt classes provide an opportunity to work muscles that students need to have a strong yoga practice—as well as a safe yoga practice—that they might not work in a vinyasa class,” she said.

This may be true, but your form, both in yoga and weightlifting has got to be superb, or you’re kind of making matters worse rather than improving upon them. Adding weight to a pose that’s out of your body’s proper alignment sounds like trouble. On the other hand, there’s the idea that strengthening will help overly flexible people stabilize. But is that really true?

For us, it’s enough to worry about what our legs – knees, ankles, and toes – are doing in certain poses while also maintaining our breath and our composure. Then you want us to swing around some heavy metal apparatus, too? We’ll be over here, safely sculpting our savasana.

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17 comments… add one
  • I’m with you!

  • S.

    Corepower Yoga is a mom and pop neighborhood studio killer. The Wal Mart of yoga. Enjoy that sculpt class from the young, 2oish, newly minted 200 hour blonde grad. She won’t know a lick of Sanskrit to save her life. Just imagine how she deals with a student who is injured…

    • 20's blonde teaching for 5+ plus years athletic and therapeutic yoga

      because knowing sanskrit makes you a good yoga teacher…right. Don’t knock something until you try it and certainly don’t judge a teacher based on appearance. You’d be surprised the amount of change even Yoga sculpt can have on students.

      **Side not cpy does require teachers to learn and use sanskrit…so there’s that too…

  • John

    Interesting. It’s not entirely new – sandbags have been used in yoga practice for a long time, as have weights. I’ve not yet seen them used in this way, though.

    I can see the appeal, I know a few serious yoga practitioners who’s physiotherapists have told to lift weights or suffer further injury. I don’t think this is what they had in mind, though. I’m going to stick to doing weights in the gym, where I can focus on technique and programming, and body weight in yoga, with the occasional weight assisted stretch or sand bag alignment cue, where I can focus on technique.

    As for physique…pfff…looking around class last night I realised my idea of “normal” has been warped to something these people will never obtain with their gimmicky short cuts – through body weight practice their little dumbells will never equip them for 😀

    • Buttercup

      I began strength training a few years ago after realizing that my regular yoga practice and classes were not helping me to build enough strength to keep from getting repetitive injuries. I do strength training in the gym. It would be nice to find yoga classes that are not so focused on getting a workout. I want to release and center myself.

  • ‘”[P]ush your ”strength and flexibility to new heights.”’

    Sounds very much like chaining oneself to the desires of ego.

  • arlet

    I have more definition and toning in my body than I ever have and I do my yoga sans weights! I look to other actives for my “cardio” or “weight training.” Yoga is my sacred time with just me and my mat. http://extendyoga.com

  • Neen

    Ffs if you want to lift weights do a weights class. Studios trying to be too much like gyms.

  • Amazing blog posted.

  • Jay

    “the more things change…”, from 20 years ago…

    This is a letter from Sri.K. Pattabhi Jois (the guru of Ashtanga Yoga) to Yoga Journal, Nov. 1995.

    “I was disappointed to find that so many novice students have taken Ashtanga yoga and have turned it into a circus for their own fame and profit (Power Yoga, Jan/Feb 1995). The title “Power Yoga” itself degrades the depth, purpose and method of the yoga system that I received from my guru, Sri. T. Krishnamacharya. Power is the property of God. It is not something to be collected for one’s ego. Partial yoga methods out of line with their internal purpose can build up the “six enemies” (desire, anger, greed, illusion, infatuation and envy) around the heart.

    The full ashtanga system practiced with devotion leads to freedom within one’s heart. The Yoga Sutra II.28 confirms this “Yogaanganusthanat asuddiksaye jnanadiptih avivekakhyateh”, which means “practicing all the aspects of yoga destroys the impurities so that the light of knowledge and discrimination shines”. It is unfortunate that students who have not yet matured in their own practice have changed the method and have cut out the essence of an ancient lineage to accommodate their own limitations.

    The Ashtanga yoga system should never be confused with “power yoga” or any whimsical creation which goes against the tradition of the many types of yoga shastras (scriptures). It would be a shame to lose the precious jewel of liberation in the mud of ignorant body building”

  • That’s good that they are including weight training into yoga. It is a huge benefit. check us out. We do in home personal training, meal planning, online training and more! http://www.eliteinhomepersonaltraining.com

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  • Stanley Ramos

    Yoga is a very good medium for losing weight as well as maintain a healthy body plus cool mind. But it is not possible for every one to do yoga on daily basis of-course, because of our too busy schedule. So personally ,i prefer yoga workshops. Recently I found something cool…an upcoming yoga event New York Running Expo .So I am going to join New York Triathlon Expo 2016 on new year. Not only yoga,there will be swimming,yoga,running ,various events and much more.

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