What is Joga?
Let me start off by saying that as a physiotherapist I am not easily won over by certain exercise fads out there, or even by common exercises that I find don’t benefit people properly. There are a lot of ways people do exercises wrong and while I know a lot of different exercises to work all the muscles of the body, at times it’s a challenge to find appropriate exercises that I know someone will be able to do right and get what they need out of it. I’m very particular because I want to make sure my clients get what they need from me. After taking the joga teacher training, I can honestly say that I’m finding it’s a great way for people to get the right muscles working, consistently.
Joga, aka yoga for jocks. It’s an athletic based style of yoga, which means you get the benefits of a regular yoga class (ie. Improving breath control) while at the same time activating the right muscles in the right pattern to correct muscular imbalances in the body. It's designed to expose weaknesses in the body – what this means for someone doing Joga is that the muscles that aren’t active enough will be activated and the muscles which are overactive will have a chance to relax. This means you may feel a difference in muscles that constantly feel tight – they now have the chance to relax and lengthen again because they won’t have to work so hard. A common one that people may experience is the hamstrings relaxing because their glutes are now working harder with the activation they will get from Joga. Due to the constant core cueing throughout the Joga sequences, you can’t help but engage all the right muscles and develop strength where you need it most.
Another great benefit of Joga is that it works within your own range of motion, instead of trying to force it for certain poses. This allows you to do the poses properly and activate the targeted muscles. Having been to many yoga classes myself, one of the things I noticed within my own practice is that I wasn’t able to do some of the poses as intended. I was lacking the range of motion required. I don’t consider myself someone who lacks a lot of flexibility, so when I was trying to do these poses I simply decided to only do what I could as I wasn’t going to achieve the pose the way it was designed. With Joga I don’t have to compromise the poses, so I automatically feel more successful with my practice.
Unlike many types of yoga, the poses in Joga are a combination of static and dynamic muscular contractions, meaning there is more movement associated with the poses in Joga which makes it very functional for the athletic body. The movements are also targeting joint stability and mobility which is really helpful for injury prevention. This allows there to be more flow in the exercises versus holding which is more applicable to sport and athletic functional movement.
While most of Joga focuses on developing strength and stability, there is one part that focuses on stretching and relaxation, allowing the neuromyofascia and mind alike to calm down. After this stretching section I’ve had many people in the classes feeling ready to fall asleep – it can be that relaxing!
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, I’m running a free demo class on Thursday September 7 at 8pm – come check it out! I will start teaching a regular class on Mondays starting October 2 at 7pm for the fall session.
Jasmine Eisenhaur, PT, MScPT, CAFCI, CFST – II
Physiotherapist, Certified Joga Instructor