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.