Balancing Yoga and Calisthenics: Filling The Gaps

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James arrived at Aspen after hearing about the Handstand Classes from a friend. He was seeking a means of improving upon the weakness’s that had become apparent through his extensive Yoga practice. After attending some of the classes he identified aspects in both the Strength classes and Handstand classes that crossed over with what he wanted for Yoga and gave him a path to make some improvements.

James began with no prior experience and without the confidence to enter a freestanding kick up handstand. He was unable to catch and hold a consistent handstand, over-kicking & falling out on a regular basis.

It didn’t take him long to make considerable improvement after just a few classes. His willingness to learn and absorb advice became evident from early on, as he adopted a regular daily practice combining classes at Aspen with self-guided handstand sessions at home.

After one month of attendance, James’s effort saw him develop the press to handstand, a significant achievement. He had the benefit of already possessing the range of motion required to achieve the skill but lacked the scapular strength and understanding of the movement to achieve it. His consistent exposure to our Strength classes and Handstand classes, allowed us to help him pull everything together.

6 months later, he now touts a very consistent kick up, with solid holds that average between 20 and 30 seconds.

All seemed to be going well until late June of this year, when James had a fall that saw him land awkwardly on his foot, breaking the bone in his heel. This required immediate surgery and a considerable amount of time in plaster cast.

He was understandably devastated at the thought of no longer being able to maintain his Yoga and Handstand practice, especially after the rapid progress he had been experiencing in the months prior.

We were quick to reassure James that there were many things he could continue doing during his recovery.

Given the circumstances that came as a result of his injury, James begin to work privately with Aspen Coach Paul Twyman to cultivate a daily practice that would keep his mind and body strong during the recovery.

They set some goals, found new a motivation, and started to build his upper body strength.

Taking advantage of his time off work, James would sometimes spend 2-3 hours at Aspen, slowly moving (hopping) about, stretching, and implementing the regime given to him.

“It’s been 8 weeks now since I injured my heel and I’ve noticed a significant improvement across the board…”

Even though his Yoga practice has been put on hold, James has taken massive strides in progressing his strength and gaining a deeper understanding about how his body functions.

Since his injury, he can now chin up and dip with 15kg of added weight, hold an unassisted tuck planche for 15 sec, perform tuck back levers, has learnt to skin the cat on the rings, and while filming for this interview he pulled a strict ring muscle up, for the first time, out of nowhere.

James doing a 'skin the cat'
James doing a ‘skin the cat’

James’ attitude and consistent work ethic has paid dividends throughout his journey with us so far. He hasn’t let his injury obstruct his ability to keep healthy and fit, in fact, it has given him a massive opportunity to broaden his practice and develop a more rounded understanding of his body.

At the rate he’s progressing, James will be in better physical condition after his recovery than he was before it.

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