Yoga WALX with a twist!

Let’s take yoga outdoors and enjoy the freedom of freestyle fitness yoga!

This blog is an extract from Janine’s Yoga Teacher Training Day.
It’s the 9th March 2019. I am about to do something both stupid and exhilarating.

Arriving early and sitting in the car park at the Bracknell David Lloyd Club, I wasn’t really sure what I had let myself into doing the Group X Training Freestyle Fitness Yoga course. I knew that the course was based on yoga, but from a fitness perspective; so no chanting, no dogma, no sanskrit. I have participated in various yoga, pilates, body balance classes for many years so I knew my warrior from my triangle but there was no way I would consider myself  a ‘yogi’. Far from it as my positions were less than flexible or “professional”.

My first surprise was the size of the class. About 20 very different instructors with varying backgrounds in; body balance instructors, zumba; fitness, spin, aerobic and one or two had never done yoga before.

Jayne Nicholls was the instructor for the weekend. Jayne created Freestyle Fitness Yoga and the passion for her “baby” as she called it, shone through. Passion that she drummed into us the whole weekend. There is no other way except her way when it comes to FFY. Jayne is one driven, focused lady and was an excellent coach. She referred to her coaching style as “brutal” and she wasn’t kidding!

FFY is all about strength and functional movement. Loading natural movements and accepting the limitations of the body. We were shown how to get the most out of each pose and the optimum positions and were encouraged to try them. I knew this was going to hurt the next day. I wasn’t wrong! My anatomy and physiology knowledge had been blown out of the water.

The definition of yoga to me is a lifestyle that you have to live and breathe. You must experience yoga at its roots and understand its philosophies and disciplines. I love yoga but for me, I just want the benefits. That is why I chose this course.

At the end of day, a very long and tiring day, I knew I had made the right decision and this was absolutely the right course for me to develop my skill set as an outdoor fitness instructor. Once at home I had formulated a clear plan in my head and was raring to go: 1. Survive and Complete day 2 and get certified, 2. Work out my plan of how and when to deliver,  3. Practice, practice, practice.

My mind had been well and truly blown!

DAY 2 A good night’s sleep and a relatively easy journey back to the Club once again and I was eager to get going. Things were a little achey, particularly the hamstrings and the shoulders.

We started the session off with a FFY class…ouch! All of my muscles were crying out that had been stretched to within an inch of their life yesterday. The class was great. By the tenth repetition the whole class were performing beautiful sun salutations and the energy in the room was immense.

Let me make this clear…Freestyle Fitness Yoga is NOT relaxing, it is NOT a walk in the park. It is a WORKOUT and it is AWESOME.

After lunch was assessment time, the bit everyone hates however good they are. After feeling so elated by the whole thing up until this point, when my turn arrived I completely fell apart. I had no idea what was expected of me, what I should be saying, what I shouldn’t be saying. I was so tired, my muscles were screaming at me and my mind went blank! I was lost.

This pain and suffering went on all afternoon and I wasn’t alone. Jayne then called an abrupt halt to class, said well done to everybody and sent us home. What now? Had I passed? I went and spoke to jayne, alf expecting to say no I hadn’t passed as I wasn’t super bendy or could execute the poses gracefully. Thankfully, I had and I was elated!

Nordic walking and yoga just walk hand in hand together! They compliment each other so well with their strong core and balance concept

I walked to my car completely dazed.  First thing I did was to get on to Facebook Live to share with everyone the wonderful news. Then messaged my family that my time away from them had been very fruitful – I had spent the weekend with strangers despite it being my husband’s birthday and the unexpected arrival of my student son from Cardiff!

So my first goal this week is to perfect the Sun Salutation…

Then, work on the plan to deliver FFY as a walk add on and also to offer Nordic Yoga WALX.  

What are the benefits of combining Nordic Walking and Yoga?

Living in the 21st century is fast and furious and the results of living like this are catching up with many people. Yoga provides a support mechanism to help improve health well being and bring together the body and mind. In fact, the benefits of both Yoga and Nordic walking share many characteristics.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Energy level increase
  • Weight normalisation
  • Sleep improvement
  • Immunity increase

Nordic walking has been helping our members with:

  • Getting Fitter
  • Getting more toned
  • Losing weight
  • Getting in to smaller clothes
  • Sleeping better
  • Improving back and postural issues
  • Loving the new friends and social element of outdoor fun
  • The online booking system makes it easy to plan, prepare and commit to health and fitness goals
  • Totally addictive fun with variety and giggles.

It’s a sustainable exercise that fits in with agenda; everyone has to walk somewhere.

What is Freestyle Fitness Yoga?

In a nutshell: It mimics yoga in its breathing and style offering postures that endorse strength and stability. Freestyle Fitness Yoga is an excellent prescription for a total body programme where flexibility is often the weakest link and is suitable for all age ranges and abilities.

To expand a little more:

  • It is a fitness program that incorporates deep stretch, Yoga postures and fitness principles. Every element of FFY is validated from a fitness perspective.
  • Any one taking part in a FFY class can expect to improve their flexibility greatly in 8 weeks. They will learn how to identify the bodies stabilising muscles and use them effectively and efficiently to improve their posture and move with more confidence.
  • It is not a spiritual experience as it mimics Yoga in its breathing and style offering postures that endorse strength and stability.
  • There is no dogma, chanting or philosophy attached to this workout.
  • Postures are prescribed from the body’s natural anatomical perspective using the language of fitness. We do not use Yoga names and references. Extreme postures that exceed optimal ranges of motion generally are avoided.
  • We do not prescribe any exercise, posture or movement for the internal organs or for the benefit of disease.
  • Fitness Pilates and fitness exercises that target and positively enhance the bodies postural muscles are included in this workout.
  • During FFY moves and postures can be sequenced together to the beat of the music making transitions seamless and graceful.

Here is a teaser of what to expect but with adaptations of course as we are outside and not everyone can do those moves!!

EDIT: we have been offering variations of fitness yoga and you are all loving it! We have created a series of flows that work specific areas and they last for ten minutes. Mats are not required and you don’t always end up on the floor! 
Updated: April 27, 2020 — 1:50 pm


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