As of the year 2016, we are kicking off a series of interesting and investigative articles surrounding the fitness scene in Mumbai and Delhi – India’s two most fitness conscious cities. As fitness training and personal training pioneers, we believe that it is also our job to educate, enlighten and highlight the various fitness trends in India and also put the spotlight on the fitness trainers who help drive the burgeoning fitness training industry in India. In our first interview this year, we sent one of our writers in Delhi to interview Vishal Chadha who has helped popularise a new form of fitness training called Iron Yoga. Below is our post. Hope you enjoy reading it.
Tete-a-tete With Vishal Chadha (Iron Yoga Expert)
Yoga has been the preferred way of maintaining overall fitness for a lot of Indians. Even with the arrival of modern techniques, the fascination towards Yoga still remains the same for many the essence of which has taken the entire world by storm. In the quest of getting more out of Yoga, it has been experimented and researched over the course of years. “Iron Yoga” is the result of one of such experiments. You may wonder about the connection between “Iron” and “Yoga”, but trust me, I had the same bunch of questions in my mind when I heard the phrase for the first time. Then one of my Yoga-freak-buddy (as I lovingly call her), asked me to come to one of her practice sessions. It is also important to note that this invitation arrived after long hours of arguments when she couldn’t convince me that his well-shaped triceps, firm abs and powerful lats (back muscles) were actually a result of doing “Iron Yoga”!
What intrigued me about Iron Yoga was the fact that I had seen many of my friends, guys and girls both spending hours in the gym to achieve the same muscle toning effects that Iron Yoga imparted. Soon enough, I fixed an appointment with my friend’s trainer. I got ready in my new yoga pants and along with my friend set off for our demo session that was scheduled at 8:00 am on a weekday.
Traffic was smooth on the clean roads of Gurgaon which is also known as the new ‘fashion city of India’ and we reached the venue ahead of time. I was collecting my one-day pass at the reception when I heard her speaking to some a person who looked like a gym trainer – a handsome young man with a muscular physique. He turned out to be the one – “Vishal” the ‘Iron Yoga’ trainer!
To my mind, a muscular pumped-up physique doesn’t quite gel with the lean and lanky physique of a yoga trainer. I am aware that Yogasanas require flexibility and a lean body. I wondered if he could even bend and touch his toes! Vishal greeted me with a warm smile and seemed to understand my reservations but his confidence soon put me at ease. We soon proceeded towards the yoga studio and I was given a lecture on the history of Iron Yoga by Vishal and the demo session soon began in right earnest.
What is Iron Yoga
Yoga with the ‘Iron’ prefix is basically a practice of intensive Yogasanas with light weight dumbbells. We started with little warm-up and proceeded to do a series of asanas such as Tadasana (Palm Tree pose), Warrior pose, Triangle pose, Tree pose, all the while holding 2 kgs dumbbells in our hands. Vishal was continuously instructing us to focus on diaphragmatic breathing which is a technique of abdominal breathing to improve lung diffusion capacity and heart health. Within 10 minutes I started sweating and breathing hard. I was surprised to know from Vishal that my regular 20 minutes on the treadmill wasn’t really enough for superior cardiovascular strength. Vishal assured me that regular practice of this breathing technique will get my heart in tip top shape.
The entire session was very different from a traditional yoga sequential session and challenged my body in ways that had never been done before. We did a concentration bicep curl while holding the triangle pose, lateral raises while holding the warrior pose, triceps extension while doing the palm tree pose! Vishal was leading and instructing at the same time, all the while keeping an eagle eye on our form and posture and instructing us in his soothing voice. The session ended with some cool-down asanas like Vajrasna (Thunderbolt pose), Seated leg split, Seated twisting and finally Shavasana (corpse pose).
The after effects of the session was beyond my imagination. I actually had a full body workout which involved intense muscle involvement, cardio activities, stretching, mind and body coordination and concentration! The holistic approach of “Iron Yoga” to maintain the mind, body and soul felt amazingly good. After the session, we sat in the cafeteria to have a conversation over a protein shake.
Q & A
Wellintra team – Why did you choose Yoga amongst other exercise techniques?
Vishal – Yoga is one of the precious forms of fitness that originated in India and one that has countless positive benefits for one’s health. Unlike other exercise techniques, it follows the idea of a full body workout in every practice. In a typical yoga session, you are working on muscles, cardio health, improving your flexibility, concentration, mind and body coordination all at the same time. Not to forget the positive effects on internal health such as hormonal balances, improved digestive track, several chronic pain reliefs, improved blood circulation, improved metabolism and other positive effects.
Wellintra team – Tell us some more about Iron Yoga?
Vishal – Iron yoga was developed by an Iron Man triathlete Anthony Carillo in the early years of 2000 with the intention of improving flexibility along with maintaining muscle mass. He realized that many of the yoga poses focus on lower extremities and core. To strengthen the upper body he started using light weight dumbbells and you got the results you have just experienced! Your engaged muscles are under continuous tension which cause muscle fibers to break which later require post workout recovery. During this recovery, your body uses stored fat for upto 4 hours to 48 hours depending upon the intensity level of the session. A similar concept is followed in weight training as well. This entire process is called protein synthesis which results in improved lean mass or muscle definition / toning. This unique feature of Iron Yoga initially attracted me towards it.
Wellintra team – Which one would you go for “Yoga as spiritual practice” or “Yoga as body shaper”.
Vishal – In the context of “Iron Yoga”, I would go for “Yoga as body shaper ”. But Of course I agree to the spiritual approach it has.
Wellintra team – What tools / set up is required for this practice?
Vishal – A pair of 2-3 kgs of Dumbbells, a comfortable space and a positive and open mindset.
Wellintra team – Talking about mindsets how do you motivate your clients to do iron yoga?
Vishal – A bit of counseling is required especially for those who have done traditional Hatha Yoga before and are used to the routines. Once I convince them about the immense benefits, most of them agree to get a trial. And that’s all I need. I have never had a client who refused to take the next session!
Wellintra team– What trainings have you yourself taken?
Vishal – I am a certified fitness trainer in strength training, core blast, cross fit, iron yoga and aerobics. I keep on enhancing my skills as it is a much required demand of this field.
Wellintra team – What sort of clients do you have? And what is the percentage wrt. Male or female?
Vishal – I take 2 group classes here in this gym; each group has a strength of about 15 which includes males and females both. I also give personal training sessions at home to many clients.
Wellintra team – Any final words on the “future of Yoga” as a preferred exercise technique in India?
Vishal – Fitness consciousness is growing in India especially amongst the working crowd. In cities like Gurgaon, fitness is not just limited to body building. People both young and old want to learn new trends, practice new techniques to keep boredom and stagnation at bay. Finally, Iron Yoga is here to stay because there is no satisfying technique than Yoga for maintaining health, youth and vitality. There is a continuous awareness of Yoga in today’s world and more and more people are taking to it every single day and everyone wants to practice atleast some form of Yoga.
Vishal is indeed right about this. The reputation of yoga has attracted many with the promise of delivering more than what is expected. Of course there are many other forms of Yoga that have been created by crossbreeding yoga with other forms of fitness and each of them come with their unique sets of benefits. Iron Yoga works best for people who are looking for muscle strengthening and toning along with improving flexibility. The best approach to start off with ‘Iron Yoga’ would be to go in for a customized training program that includes “Iron Yoga” on an alternate basis with your regular yoga or strength training practice and like with all other forms of fitness, always practice under the guidance of an expert until you get it right.
Have a great workout as always !!! Below are some pics from the interview. And if you need a personal yoga trainer do not hesitate to call us on 98206 07875.