Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Kettlebells & Yoga

Here is a TERRIFIC article I found on my favorite two exercises! I could not have written this better myself. Notice the **hightlighted sections**. Happy Reading.

Most of us these days have a very limited amount of time to devote to keeping our bodies healthy. The question often becomes, “how can I best spend my limited time to achieve optimal health?” Kettlebells and Yoga is one very viable answer, as its combination is one of the most complete forms of exercise available.

There is a story from China which tells of a man who rode around on a donkey backwards. He did this to signify that although we may think we are always progressing forward, we are often moving away from what is truly valuable. This is a perfect metaphor for the world of fitness. It seems that in this age of technology there must be a secret way to train better or faster. However the real secret is that the most advanced forms of physical training are also the oldest.
Kettlebells and Yoga have both been around for a long time. There is a beauty in the refined movements of these disciplines that has occurred over the passage of time. These timeless movement patterns allow technique to be stressed at least as much as intensity. This is intelligent training. Contrast that with so much of the equipment that is used for working out today.

**It is misguided at best for adults to jump over Bosu balls, balance on Swiss balls, and shuffle around with elastic bands stretched around their ankles, when they cannot even perform such basic, fundamental body movements as a proper push up, touching their toes, doing a deep squat, or balancing on 1 leg.**

On the other hand, kettlebells and yoga represent honorable, time-tested pursuits that offer valuable, relevant and very practical results.

Unlike many other forms of modern day exercise, Kettlbells and Yoga are skills that can be developed and mastered over a long period of time. Body movements should be aesthetically pleasing as well as technically proficient. Kettlebells and Yoga enables the practitioner to develop and nurture skills that can serve you well for the rest of your life. These skills afford a command, control and, therefore, freedom of the body that other training systems simply do not provide. They go beyond simple training methods to sports and lifestyles of their own.

**What good is flexibility if you are weak? Or what good is strength if you are tight and immobile?**
Many people have a natural propensity in one direction or the other. Cultivating what you are already good at is easy. Unfortunately this leaves us in an imbalanced state, and prone to injury. As the saying goes, it is the weakest link that breaks the chain. The art and the skill of physical training lie in having the appropriate tools to achieve both.

One of the elements that is really special about Kettlebells and Yoga is that despite being extremely challenging, high-intensity, athletic and results-oriented, it is also safe.
**Within the individual worlds of kettlebells and yoga, it is common to see older people performing at a high level. **
This is because kettlebells and yoga strengthen without breaking you down. In fact, when done correctly, both have been proven to prevent injury – unlike high impact, joint rattling aerobics or the non-functional muscle growth of body-building. Many other forms of exercise do not share this vital characteristic. Olympic lifting and gymnastics are two examples of effective exercises. But, unlike kettlebells and yoga, these two forms of exercise have a high incidence of injury and a relatively short life span.

As a result of their safety and completeness, and despite their challenging nature, both kettlebell training and yoga can be enjoyed by, and will benefit the very young to the very old. Both can be enjoyed well into the latter years of life, precisely because neither has a high injury rate. Kettlebell and Yoga training are both noble pursuits that can provide a lifetime of physical wellness. There are many examples of people well into their 70’s and beyond who practice kettlebells and or yoga at a relatively high level.

We have all seen a small child perform a squat. They bend beautifully from the hips. Contrast that with your typical, stiff person – they bend achingly from the back. Utilizing the training methods of Kettlebells and Yoga, the average person can train to move young – regardless of the aging process.

Kettlebells and Yoga foster the all important mind-body connection. All too frequently I have seen people walking or jogging on a treadmill while watching sports or stock quotes tick across the flat screen in front of them. Simultaneously they are listening to their iPod and usually thinking about something else entirely. After that, they may robotically sit on a few machines and go through the predetermined motions. After the “workout,” they hit the showers feeling more concerned about the bad news they just saw on the TV, than feeling the calm mind and relaxed body that should follow an effective workout. On the other hand, Kettlebells and Yoga demands your mental focus. Why? because you are actually doing something that is worthy of your attention!

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