I‘m a big fan of yoga. It supports my activities in CrossFit, weightlifting and running, helps me wind down and focus, and has helped me work on flexibility in areas I hadn’t even realised were tight. But I never really thought of yoga as having the potential to make me stronger. Until now.
Step In Yoga Gym…
Nicola Jane Hobbs is a champion GB Olympic Weightlifter, Master’s in sport and exercise psychology (which I’m studying a module on right now!) and a yoga teacher. So who better to understand and link the benefits of yoga to strength and focus? Nicola identified how yoga helped her build strength in a body that was weakened by an eating disorder from her younger years, and find confidence to believe in herself. From this experience, she has written Yoga Gym – the book that aims to revolutionise the way yoga is used by combining the ancient science of yoga with modern fitness principles.
I met Nicola back in 2013, when I attended her Mind Muscle Yoga class at the BodyPower Expo and her skills as a teacher shone from the start. Since then I followed her social media channels, in awe of her flexibility, strength and control. It was there that I heard about Yoga Gym, and instantly wanted to know more and Nicola kindly arranged for me to receive a review copy before publication.Can yoga make you stronger? @nicolajanehobbs's #YogaGym can! Find out more... Click To Tweet
So What Is Yoga Gym?
Yoga Gym is not just a book… it’s a training concept. Split into three parts, Nicola provides a thorough overview of the thought processes behind Yoga Gym, as well as the actual exercises and workouts/programme.
Part One – The Basics
Part one focuses on success stories from people she has worked with in her classes. She busts some common yoga myths, such as the misconception that yoga won’t challenge you enough, or that you have to already be flexible to start – things that might have stopped people from taking up yoga in the first place.
The Yoga Gym benefits, guidelines, diet and mindset are covered in easy-to-follow principles, which Nicola backs up with examples. I particularly liked the value of “Wise Use of Energy”, where you should match the tasks on your to-do list with your energy levels at particular times of the day – fantastic for a busy working professional/blogger!
Part Two – The Exercises
Moving on to the main chunk of the book, there are 150+ variations of yoga poses – perfect for all abilities. The poses are broken up into sub-sections, with key concepts and breathing exercises, yang poses (strengthening poses), flows, yogacises and yin poses (passive poses for relaxation). The section then finishes with hints of challenge poses, which can be explored in further detail on the Yoga Gym website.
I love how the pose pages are laid out, with a main photo of the middle-ground pose and cues for how to achieve it, plus regression (if you find the pose too challenging) and progression (to “take it up a notch”) photos and tips. I found this really inspiring to work hard to achieve the most out of each pose that I can.
Part Three – The Workouts
The final part of the book brings everything together into a series of workouts that form a 28 days plan, using periodisation to bring you strength and flexibility gains, while allowing down-time and recovery. The plan is based on 5 workouts per week, but can be extended over a longer duration, e.g. 10 weeks if you can only fit in a couple of workouts per week.
Nicola uses a combination of different modern training concepts, including intervals, supersets, Tabata, peripheral heart action (PHA) training (a new one to me!) and a traditional yoga concept of yin for relaxation.
I love how each workout has a purpose – whether it’s to challenge the lower body with intervals, or complete a full-body-blast with PHA training. The workouts are well-thought-out, and take the questioning out of putting together the exercises in sequences that will work… though of course there’s no reason why you can’t make up your own workouts too!
Where to Buy
Yoga Gym is out today (17th December)! You can buy your copy from Amazon for less than the price of a single yoga class in London! It would also make the perfect Christmas gift for the yogi in your life!
My Yoga Gym Challenge
I’m going to aim to take on Nicola’s 28 day plan, but spreading the workouts out over more weeks to try and fit it all in with my existing training. I’m really interested to see how far I can come along in each pose, and what strength and flexibility I gain from it. Keep up with my progress in the new year using the hashtag #ftcyogagym, or the official book hashtag #yogagym.Will you be joining in the #YogaGym revolution? @nicolajanehobbs new book is out now! Click To Tweet
And in the meantime, I will be continuing to watch Nicola’s own progress on Instagram, where she posts the most amazing challenging poses and flows.
Healing is an art. It takes time. It takes practice. It takes love. Every time I explore a new pose, I am in awe of how my body has healed. I am in awe of how it has strengthened over the last 5 years. In awe of how it has changed and opened and released. And in awe of all the incredible things I’ll be able to do with it as it continues to heal even more 💛 #yoga #healing #calisthenics #flexibility #mobility #coreofgratitude #corestrength #plank #sussex #selfcare #selflove #balance
Disclaimer: I received a copy of Yoga Gym for free. As always, my opinion is my own and not affected by items gifted to me. This post contains Amazon Affiliate links – if you make a purchase through clicking this link I will receive a small commission, but the price you pay is not affected. Affiliate links help contribute towards the cost of running this website. To find out more about my policy on this and other matters, see my Disclosure page.