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Interview with Melanie Richards - Yoga and Bodybuilding

Melanie Richards, Founder of Happy Tree Yoga studio, incredibly sweet woman and the amazing teacher of my yoga teacher training graciously agreed to answer some questions about yoga and its benefits in relation to bodybuilding.

Make sure you read to the end to see how you could win two free classes at Happy Tree Yoga Studio!!!

If you read my previous post, I shared her short but success-filled biography that sings her praises and shows that, without a doubt, she is the perfect expert for the job!

For those that are not familiar - preparing for a bodybuilding competition can be taxing on the body. Intense workouts, strict dieting and of course every day life still has to happen in between. Regardless of whether you have a "good" or "bad" coach or what methodology you use to prepare, chances are you are lifting weights and following some sort of eating plan, both of which take a toll.

I've found, through personal experience, that yoga helps to alleviate some of that stress physically and emotionally. Additionally, I observed that it has lead to more effective workouts and a better demeanour overall compared to last year's competition prep (my bestie can attest to that!!)

Because of these observations, I decided to delve a little deeper, with Mel's help so that I could share with all of you!

Mitzfitness: Can you briefly explain why yoga is important for general health and well-being?

Melanie Richards: Yoga works on health and well-being at every level: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The postures (asanas) tone your muscles and organs, help increase flexibility and improve range of motion. The emphasis on the breath (pranayama) calms the mind, soothes the nervous system and helps prevent injury by making sure you aren’t straining in the poses. Mindfulness techniques encourage emotional and spiritual growth.

M: And how would you tie that in to bodybuilding, or generally lifting-based work outs?

M.R: Yoga helps relieve the muscle tightness and soreness that comes with the intense training required for bodybuilding and lifting. It teaches you to breathe under pressure and remain emotionally level under stress.

M: Do you think that a regular yoga practice, in tandem with a body builder’s competition preparation, would give him or her a leg up over the competition? Why?

M.R: Definitely. Especially when bodybuilding prep is complemented with Yin Yoga: long held, passive stretches combined with breathing and mindfulness for deep tension release from the muscles and connective tissue, as well as energy replenishment at the physical, mental and emotional levels.

M: Do you see a lot of weightlifters in your yoga classes? If not, why do you think that is?

M.R: Not that I know of! I think there is still a stigma attached to yoga in the bodybuilding community. People might think it’s too easy or that they aren’t flexible enough. Yet because, like in body building, you're always working at your "edge" just outside your comfort zone, the practice of yoga remains challenging and it is bound to make you more flexible even if you don't start out that way. You may also think that it will make you lose your competitive edge but the opposite is true; the person who has control of their breath always has the advantage!


There you have it - I'd say that it's a no brainer - Get on to your mat and get rid of the stigma - bodybuilders CAN do yoga!

If you're interested in trying out a class at Happy Tree studio, their open house is taking place from September 12th to September 18th. For $20, as a new student, you can attend unlimited classes for the week. Plus, they're offering free information sessions and trials all week!! Check out the event here.

Want to win two FREE classes at the studio? Head over to the Mitzfitness Facebook page, "like" and "share" the post containing this article and "like" both Mitzfitness and Happy Tree's Facebook pages. I'll be choosing a winner at the end of the week (September 17th at 6:00pm to be precise). For an extra entry, tag 3 friends in the comments of the post!! Remember, if your "share" is not public, I can't see it..

Love and light to all of you, Mitzfits :)



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