Weight-Resistance Yoga: Practicing Embodied Spirituality

Overview

Transform strength training into a mindful, meditative practice

• Explains how to induce a calm, meditative state through the movements, breathing, and focus of strength-training exercises

• Contains illustrated instructions for 26 exercises to safely strengthen the neck, shoulders, arms, hips, knees, ankles, and torso

• Offers themed meditations on the embodied experience of the exercises to facilitate a mindful state during your session

• The perfect complement to a yoga ...

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Weight-Resistance Yoga: Practicing Embodied Spirituality

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Overview

Transform strength training into a mindful, meditative practice

• Explains how to induce a calm, meditative state through the movements, breathing, and focus of strength-training exercises

• Contains illustrated instructions for 26 exercises to safely strengthen the neck, shoulders, arms, hips, knees, ankles, and torso

• Offers themed meditations on the embodied experience of the exercises to facilitate a mindful state during your session

• The perfect complement to a yoga flexibility practice

Applying the wisdom of hatha yoga to weight-lifting exercises, Weight-Resistance Yoga reveals how to transform a strength-training session into a mindful, calm, and meditative yoga practice. Through 26 fully illustrated weight-resistance exercises using machines, free weights, and the body itself—along with an emphasis on coordinated rhythmic breathing, stability, stillness, and full absorption in the body’s movements against resistance—fitness trainer Max Popov explains how to access the tranquility that dwells within each of us while safely, effectively, and efficiently strengthening your neck, shoulders, arms, torso, hips, knees, and ankles. To support the meditative state of this practice, the author includes 20 themed meditations on the embodied experience of the exercises.

The perfect complement to yoga flexibility practice, weight-resistance yoga allows you to fully inhabit your body, empty your mind of everyday preoccupations, and fill your soul with comprehensions of deeper realities, providing strength, calm, and spiritual illumination through your physical fitness work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“...if you’re looking for a link between the muscles and the spirit, Weight Resistance Yoga might be what you’re looking for.”

“...the information provided is very valuable and explained thoroughly...this book is a treasure waiting to be discovered.”

“Bringing the yogic principle of mindfulness into all aspects of our lives is one of the ultimate goals of yoga. I recommend this book for anyone wishing to bring more spiritual depth to any physical exercise program.”

“In Weight-Resistance Yoga, author Max Popov blends weight training and yoga practice in a conscious manner. His attention to paying attention assures not only a well-sculpted form but also a finely honed mind.”

“Melding hatha yoga and weight training into a blended practice, Max Popov shows us how these disciplines are not only completely compatible but also how each brilliantly supports the other’s path of inquiry. By combining both, we go far beyond the individual benefits of stretching or strength and enter directly into the domain of a powerfully embodied spirituality.”

“Popov is a good writer and I like his exercise methods. He did an outstanding job with the weight resistance training sections of the book.”

“This more meditative form of weight lifting seeks self-liberation through the mindful movements of the joints against resistance.”

“Very impressive and necessary. I’m excited by this unique blend of Western-style strength training combined with the flexibility and meditative side of yoga. Popov’s book is for all of us. It offers functional movement along with serentiy and mindfulness.”

author of Yoga of the Mahamudra Will Johnson
“Melding hatha yoga and weight training into a blended practice, Max Popov shows us how these disciplines are not only completely compatible but also how each brilliantly supports the other’s path of inquiry. By combining both, we go far beyond the individual benefits of stretching or strength and enter directly into the domain of a powerfully embodied spirituality.”
author of The Yin Yoga Kit and coauthor of The The Biff Mithoefer
“Bringing the yogic principle of mindfulness into all aspects of our lives is one of the ultimate goals of yoga. I recommend this book for anyone wishing to bring more spiritual depth to any physical exercise program.”
author of The Five Tibetans Christopher S. Kilham
“In Weight-Resistance Yoga, author Max Popov blends weight training and yoga practice in a conscious manner. His attention to paying attention assures not only a well-sculpted form but also a finely honed mind.”
Colleen Craig
“Very impressive and necessary. I’m excited by this unique blend of Western-style strength training combined with the flexibility and meditative side of yoga. Popov’s book is for all of us. It offers functional movement along with serentiy and mindfulness.”
Will Johnson
“Melding hatha yoga and weight training into a blended practice, Max Popov shows us how these disciplines are not only completely compatible but also how each brilliantly supports the other’s path of inquiry. By combining both, we go far beyond the individual benefits of stretching or strength and enter directly into the domain of a powerfully embodied spirituality.”
Biff Mithoefer
“Bringing the yogic principle of mindfulness into all aspects of our lives is one of the ultimate goals of yoga. I recommend this book for anyone wishing to bring more spiritual depth to any physical exercise program.”
Lisa James
“...if you’re looking for a link between the muscles and the spirit, Weight Resistance Yoga might be what you’re looking for.”
Holly Scudero
“...the information provided is very valuable and explained thoroughly...this book is a treasure waiting to be discovered.”
Patricia Snodgrass
“Popov is a good writer and I like his exercise methods. He did an outstanding job with the weight resistance training sections of the book.”
Christopher S. Kilham
“In Weight-Resistance Yoga, author Max Popov blends weight training and yoga practice in a conscious manner. His attention to paying attention assures not only a well-sculpted form but also a finely honed mind.”
Yoga Journal
“This more meditative form of weight lifting seeks self-liberation through the mindful movements of the joints against resistance.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781594773907
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 206
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Max Popov is a fitness trainer and scholar of modern yoga. He developed weight-resistance yoga in the late 1980s by applying the teachings of yoga master B. K. S. Iyengar to the strength-training teachings of famed 1920s Indian bodybuilder K. V. Iyer.

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Read an Excerpt

Part Two
Exercise Instructions

Our skeleton is simply incapable of generating movement or supporting itself against gravity without the actions of muscles. Muscles make joints mobile by moving bony levers about a joint axis and make joints stable by keeping joint surfaces close and resistant to extraneous movement.

In consideration of these critical muscle functions, weightresistance yoga sets as its goal not building muscles per se but building muscles in order to systematically enhance joint strength, flexibility, and stability. For this reason, the weightresistance yoga regime is organized around exercises for all the major joint movements.

Bent-Leg Hip Extension
Cable Crossover Machine

Joint movements: hip joint extension and external rotation

Hip joint extension is movement of the upper leg straight backward and upward. Hip joint external rotation is the rotary movement of the upper leg around its longitudinal axis away from the midline.

Muscles most involved in joint movements: gluteus maximus and upper hamstrings

Positioning into Stillness
1. Place one of the pulleys in the lowest position. Attach an ankle strap to the pulley, and wrap the strap’s cuff around the ankle of your moving leg. Grasp the bar with both hands.
2. As you step back with your supporting leg, tilt forward (with your back straight).
3. Fully bend your moving knee (position yourself far enough back so that you can bend it without hitting the machine).

Movement

1. Keeping your upper body motionless, bring your moving leg back while simultaneously straightening it and outwardly rotating it.
2. Return to the starting position.
3. After completing the set, repeat the action with your other leg.
Note: The hip can be extended with the aid of the hamstrings by keeping your knee straight.

During Muscle-Shortening Phase

In Movement

Common Errors
- Pulling the leg back as far as possible (which strains the lumbar spine by creating excessive extension).

Corrections
- Bringing the leg back only slightly behind the trunk (to prevent the pelvis from tilting forward and the back from arching).

In Stillness

Common Errors

- Bending the trunk (to use momentum to kick the leg back).

- Twisting the trunk to the outside (to cheat on the leg rotation).

- Keeping the moving knee bent.

Corrections
- Maintaining a straight back (while the body itself is tilted).

- Keeping the trunk facing forward (while outwardly rotating the leg).

- Straightening the moving knee.

During Muscle-Lengthening Phase

In Movement

Common Errors
- Swinging the leg forward without fully bending the knee.

Corrections
- Bending the knee fully (to maximally stretch the hip extensors).

On Standing Up
Bent-Leg Hip Extension and Hanging Leg Raise

Bring a leg back. This movement—hip extension—is performed by the large gluteal muscles, which make up the buttocks. Feel your buttocks. Although layered over with fat, the gluteus maximus, which forms most of the muscle of the buttocks, is easily palpable. That’s because it originates on the posterior spine and pelvis and inserts on the upper leg. Bring the leg forward and up. This movement—hip flexion—is primarily performed by the iliopsoas, which lifts the leg beyond the normal standing position. Moving obliquely from the small of the back through the pelvic bowl to attach at the front upper leg, the iliopsoas, although large, is not easily palpable.

These two dissimilar and opposing muscles, the gluteus maximus and iliopsoas, work together sequentially, sometimes in an alternating rhythm, to perform a variety of motions that require strong anterior/posterior action of the hips. Although they aren’t strongly contracted during ordinary walking, the gluteal muscles and iliopsoas are strongly brought into play in another common daily activity: standing up from sitting.

In general, we prefer sitting to standing. The act of sitting down, especially as we get older, is a pleasurable activity. It sometimes produces a sigh of relief. We’re equipped for sitting. Compared to ape buttocks, human buttocks are quite large. Apes sit on their ischial tuberosities (sitz bones), which protrude through their fur; we’re cushioned by prominent rounded buttocks.

But, sooner or later, stand up we must. In fact, rising to a standing position from a sitting position is one of the most critical activities of daily life. If we think about the mechanics of rising at all, it’s probably because our ability (or the ability of someone close to us) to stand has been impaired or even lost. During the weight-resistance yoga session, when we reflect on what it means to be human, we consider how standing up is a critical aspect not only of our daily life and the evolutionary development of our species but also the biological development of the individual. In first standing up without support, the child has no concern for security. Failure—falling down—doesn’t discourage the child one bit. The forceful urge to get up, to resist downward-pulling forces, overcomes any fear. “In getting up,” observes phenomenological psychologist Irwin W. Straus, “a child gains his standing in the world. The parents are not the only ones who greet the child’s progress with joy. The child enjoys no less the triumph of his achievement.”

Likewise, when we perform weight-resistance yoga we know that it’s through our own self-discipline that our life is transformed and that it’s only we, in part through our reverent and upright posture, who can open ourselves up to the ground of Being.

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Table of Contents


Preface: My Journey to Weight-Resistance Yoga

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Path of Weight-Resistance Yoga

Part One
Exercise Guidelines

1 Immersion

2 Safe and Efficient Effort

3 Stillness

4 Movement in Stillness

5 Great Effort

6 Accord and Acceptance

Part Two
Exercise Instructions

7 Exercises for the Shoulder Joint
Lat Pulldown
45-to-90-Degree Shoulder Press
Seated Low Row
0-to-90-Degree Front Raise
Standing High Row
Flat Bench Press

8 Exercises for the Elbow Joint
Standing Biceps Curl
Triceps Pushdown

9 Exercises for the Shoulder Girdle
Shoulder Pulldown
Shoulder Shrug
Shoulder Diagonal Pulldown
Shoulder Diagonal Raise

10 Exercises for the Trunk
(Vertebral Column and Abdominal Wall)
Back Raise
Side Bend
Ab Curl
Seated Twist
Neck Bends

11 Exercises for the Hip Joint and Pelvic Girdle

Bent-Leg Hip Extension
Hanging Knee Raise
Hip Abduction
Hip Adduction

12 Exercises for the Knee Joint
Prone Knee Curl
Knee Extension

13 Exercises for the Ankle Joint
Standing Heel Raise
Seated Heel Raise
Weighted Toe Raise

Part Three
Meditations

14 Meditations on the Shoulder Joint
On Expressiveness—Introduction to the Shoulder Joint
On Wholeness—Lat Pulldown
On Gravity—Shoulder Press
On Right Tension—Seated Low Row
On Harmony—Standing High Row

15 Meditations on the Elbow Joint
On Enchanted Space—Introduction to the Elbow Joint
On Energy—Standing Biceps Curl and Triceps Pushdown

16 Meditations on the Shoulder Girdle

On Fragility—Introduction to the Shoulder Girdle
On the Silent Sound—Shoulder Pulldown and Shoulder Shrug

17 Meditations on the Trunk
(Vertebral Column and Abdominal Wall)
On Mortality—Introduction to the Trunk
On Nonviolence—Back Raise
On Withdrawal—Ab Curl

18 Meditations on the Hip Joint and Pelvic Girdle
On Stability—Introduction to the Hip Joint and Pelvic Girdle
On Standing Up—Bent-Leg Hip Extension and Hanging Knee Raise
On Arrested Falling—Hip Abduction and Hip Adduction

19 Meditations on the Knee Joint

On Pain—Introduction to the Knee Joint
On Calmness—Prone Knee Curl and Knee Extension

20 Meditations on the Ankle Joint
On Motion—Introduction to the Ankle Joint
On Pleasurable Repetition—Standing Heel Raise,
Seated Heel Raise, and Weighted Toe Raise

21 Meditation on Savasana
On Contentment—Savasana

Notes

Index

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