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Why you should give Alignment Yoga Sculpt (AYS) a try- By Marda Zechiel (E-RYT, YACEP)

Updated: Apr 27



Alignment Yoga sculpt classes combine Vinyasa Yoga and Strength Training with a BIG emphasis on slow, controlled, mindful movement. AYS is a wonderful compliment to any Vinyasa practice. Strengthen and lengthen muscles in a mindful way to obtain a lean sculpted physique. Alignment and safe movement with and without hand weights rule in AYS classes.

Combination movements (for example: Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana) Lunges with bicep curls or squats with tricep kickbacks) with 2 to 5 pound hand weights can provide a very effective strength training workout hitting all major muscle groups in a highly efficient one hour class.

Functional movement and full range of movement.

AYS is much different than most Yoga Sculpt formats and your heart rate will increase without “cardio bursts” or swinging the weights in a fast, uncontrolled and unsafe manner. Give AYS a try and see the difference yourself. In addition, AYS classes concentrate on negative muscle movement or eccentric contractions (example: slowly lowering back down from a bicep curl or slowly lowering back down when doing a pushup). It has been proven that you can improve strength during the eccentric phase of contraction just as well as the concentric (muscle shortening) phase. (source)

Benefits of incorporating a AYS class into your weekly routine:

1. Blast 500 calories per class and get that post-burn metabolism kick for many hours after your class.

2. Hand weight exercises will sculpt your body creating definition right where you want it.

3. One pound of muscle uses approximately 30 more calories per day than a pound of fat and a pound of muscle takes up less space.

4. Counteract age related muscle loss that is bad for your heart and can contribute to type 2 diabetes.

5. Alignment Yoga sculpt strength training can also counteract age-related bone loss. A great addition to your workout week and yoga practice if you are lacking in weight training.

6. The focus on both concentric and eccentric movement results in working the entire joint structure resulting in more strength, range of motion, stability and healing properties. (source)

AYS class starts with a Vinyasa warm-up and Sun Salutations to teach alignment in the yoga poses (before adding the optional hand weights). When incorporating weights the transitions between postures change and the hands come back to the shoulders or chest to avoid swinging the weights, called neutral position, mid-line or sometimes cued to the heart center. Yoga poses with weights maintain soft joints, for example: In warrior 2 without weights arms are straight out to the sides but with weights the elbows are slightly bent to protect the joints and prevent hyper extension. Another important aspect of an AYS class is core awareness, active engagement and stability. Every transition is generated from a strong mid-line keeping your lower back safe. The cues given are “zip up“ or “belly button to spine” to achieve a supportive mid section. This takes a little practice but once you learn how this feels it’s a game changer.

Give AYS a try and see how your body responds. The changes will amaze you!



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