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Power Yoga for Power Lifting

posted on June 16, 2022

It was a hot day in Tallahassee, Florida because, well, it was always hot in Tallahassee.  I decided to try a yoga class for the first time and the year was a distant 2008.  I remember it being more difficult than I expected.  I remember feeling defeated because I wasn’t any good at it.  I remember wanting more.


It is funny how those things sneak up on you.


I guess we should go back further.


Hello all! My name is Meagan and though I have met some of you, there are still so many to meet! I teach fusion on Sunday and am a substitute yoga instructor here at UF.  I’ve been around since 2019-ish but very casually.  When I’m not at the gym, which is much less than I would prefer, I am finishing my doctoral degree in nurse anesthesia.  When I tell you I am amped up on adrenaline, caffeine, stress, and on the struggle bus for sleep…believe you, me!  Trust that when I say yoga has been instrumental in helping me manage emotion, stress, and breath during some of the most challenging clinical situations and during some heavy classroom work.


When school and clinical don’t get in the way, I love taking a powerful class with Curtis and CJ; the benefits both physically and mentally of lifting heavy are ASTRONOMICAL! There is nothing like pushing around some heavy weights to feel empowered in your body and strength.


Let’s jump back in!  Before 2008, that first yoga class, I kept busy with a multitude of sports and activities.  I was a high school athlete and chose not to explore college athletics but used that time for personal fitness like swimming, lifting, and running.  Soon after that first yoga class, I became a regular and after moving to Pittsburgh would require it for my mental health and to navigate the stress of my new job as a veterinary technician in the operating room at PVSEC.  The next few years would find me diving deeper into my practice with a yoga teaching training in Costa Rica which lead to a 7 year stretch of teaching power yoga at Urban Elements and Cycology.  I also became Real Ryder certified at UEC and am so happy to bring those skills to the members of UF!


Yeah, yeah, yeah.  But what does that all mean for ME? What about yoga is so great that I should give it a try?! How can I even do yoga; I can’t touch my toes! Plus, it is not an intense workout and I’m here to burn fat and make gainz!!


I’m so glad you asked.  If you’ve ever taken a lifting class here at UF, you have done a sweet warm up that, unbeknownst to you, was heavy on the yoga!  Most of the stretches that both Curt and CJ use have some roots in yoga.  Stay tuned for a breakdown to come on UF’s IG page!


We know yoga can help promote flexibility and is utilized for stretching, but what else?


According to literature on yoga and powerlifting, some of the benefits include:

  • Identifying imbalances between sides
    • This allows you to work on creating balance which will improve how you move weight and how weight can be moved. Balance also keeps you standing upright and trust me, you don’t want to break a hip as you get older!
  • Improves core strength
    • As you know, every lift starts with an activated core. A strong core supports your low back as well which can stave off or heal low back pain.
  • Improves mobility
    • It is no secret that most powerlifters struggle with hip mobility. This lack of mobility can affect the bar path during a squat, squat depth, and can also inhibit bench press arch and Sumo deadlifts. Improved mobility =improved performance.
  • Help with breath control
    • Creating intraabdominal pressure during heavy lifts is integral in moving max weight. Success can be made or broken with poor breath control.  Yoga is based in the union between movement and breath and can be very beneficial in improving breath control during powerlifting.


These are just a few reasons that yoga can and has been shown to improve maximum weight in powerlifting practice and competition.  A quick internet search with provide more information on the science and a vast array or articles written on the subject.


Because of the offered benefits of yoga and both Curt and I identifying a need here at UF in the powerlifting community, we have put together a class specifically targeting powerlifters.  Power Yoga for Powerlifting will be held on Sunday, July 10, 20022 here at UF.  The class will be 75 minutes and include a brief opening discussion, a practice which will sample several different styles of yoga, a closing meditation, and time for questions, socializing, and refreshments at the end.  If you’ve ever been curious about yoga but felt shy or unsure, stop by on July 10th! It is certainly a class for everyone and who knows, maybe you’ll leave as I did in 2008…wanting more.




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