by Guy Brock Armstrong: Are you ready for something a little different?
This article is a full transcript of a conversation I had about yoga and how we can use it in specific ways to aid our athletic performance. For the audio version of this interview (which I strongly encourage you to listen to), I was not locked in my little closet in my own studio at home like I usually am, I was actually in Whistler, British Columbia “on location” with my dear friend, Abi Carver, of Yoga15.
You long-time readers have undoubtedly encountered links in my past articles and past podcasts where I’ve highlighted Abi’s videos and posts. But for this one, she is here in person, not across Skype, not across the internet, but right across the table from me. So here we go!
Brock: Abi, how are you?
Abi: I am great. How’re you doing?
Brock: I’m good. We just went for a lovely walk around Lost Lake, and we didn’t get lost this time.
Abi: No, not this time!
Brock: It’s in the name of the lake, so you’d think that would be inevitable, but we didn’t get lost. And we made our way back here to talk about yoga and whether or not—what I’m going to say anyway—is whether yoga is all created equally or are these different brands of yoga actually that different? And are they actually targeting different sort of activities, and different parts of our body, different parts of our nervous system, even? And, the biggest question, because I know you do a lot of yoga specifically for cyclists, can we use yoga to target specific purposes and to really elicit specific results from our bodies and from our performance? So, that’s the big ask. But let’s break it down a little bit.
But first, before we dive into it, could you just fill in the audience on your background as a … as a yoga influencer, shall we say?
Abi: I’d like to say I was influential, but I think I can only really count as a teacher. I have an online business, which is called yoga15.com, which is designed specifically for athletes. It’s called Yoga15 because all my videos are 15 minutes long. Part of the reason being that I’m a fairly impatient person. Typically, your classes are an hour and 15 minutes. But we can come back to that in a little while.
So, Yoga15 is my company. I work almost exclusively online. I do some privates, but most of what I do is online. I make videos, and they are targeted at different sports. I quite like extreme sports like surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, skiing, but also I have quite a big audience in triathlon and running, cycling, the more conventional sports weight lifting too.
Brock: That’s how I found you, actually. Or is that how you found me? No, wait. How did we find each other?
Abi: Well, I was listening to your podcasts just when I really started this business, which was back in 2013, and I think I probably reached out to you at the time when you could do that, and somebody would actually respond.
Brock: Yeah. Back then we weren’t inundated with spam requests for everything. I know even my mum gets spam requests from people wanting a job at her “business,” and she’s been retired for a number of years now.
But anyway, I really enjoyed the idea of the 15 minutes chunks of yoga, and often I’d string them together and do more. But the idea of actually being able to get through something meaningful and useful in 15 minutes really did resonate with me and still does resonate with me. I’m going to use those videos forever. Even though you’ve moved on and created a lot of different stuff since then.
Abi: Well, the crazy thing is actually that yoga, it doesn’t change.
Brock: It’s thousands of years old.
Abi: Yes! It’s thousands of years old. And my Yoga, I would actually say, in fairness to Yoga, I would say what I teach is yoga-inspired because it, it is not the whole package that you get in a yoga class. It is non-spiritual. And for me personally, I am a huge fan of all the elements of yoga. But what I teach is a very pared-down version of that, including the time because I am trying to bring yoga to a new audience, so I don’t actually teach anybody who’s already pretty good at yoga. I teach beginners, and I’m trying to open it up to people who don’t feel that there is a yoga class for them. Either there literally isn’t, it’s too far away, or it’s too expensive, or they’re doing so much training for their triathlon that “how are they going to fit in an hour and a quarter class.”
Ideally, it would be wonderful if we could all do that, but I realized that “little and often” is so much better than none. One time that I can get you to do maybe once a month. The benefits of doing 15 minutes or even less than 15 minutes—there’s actually a lot of efficacy in just … I’ve taught you all the poses, but actually when you’re out there on the trail, you’ve just done a mountain bike ride, you know three poses that you can do, and you’re going to do that. And you can do that every time. And you maybe can’t go to a class every day.