Kettlebell yoga: a new way to work up a sweat

Thea is an avid fitness enthusiast, who spends her free time trying out new ways to sweat around the Ottawa area. You can usually find her on a yoga mat, or running  along the canal. She likes to say her favourite way to sweat is the “pre-sweat” before class – aka the dash to class to make sure she makes it on time. She loves plants and knows all the names of her OPI nail polish collection.

When I think of kettlebells, I typically think of bootcamps.

Come to think of it, the only time I’ve even seen a kettlebell, was during bootcamp. Go figure. So when I came across a yoga and kettlebell class, I couldn’t help but be curious. How do you combine weighted steel balls with sun salutations? I was off to see Devin Johnstone, the creator of this athletic fusion.

Can you guess which kettlebell was mine?

Devin has been studying yoga, Thai massage and martial arts for the past 15 years. He was recently been trained in kettlebell fitness by Aidian Thomas, the previous kettlebell instructor at Adi Shesha. It was Devin’s idea to combine kettlebells with yoga; he was finding that kettlebell only classes were intimidating to those who have never tried it before and wanted to make kettlebells more accessible to his clients.

Voilà: kettlebell yoga.

Meet Devin and his collection of kettlebells.

The class was held at Adi Shesha  Yoga Zone, located at 1338 1/2 Wellington Street in Ottawa. I was instructed to bring my yoga mat, typically yoga attire (I opted for crops and a tank) and a water bottle. There were about ten of us in the class and to my relief only three of them had ever tried been to the class before!

One of two locations in Ottawa.

The class started with a basic introduction of how to hold and swing the kettlebells. I quickly learned that you’re not supposed to lift the kettle bells with your arms, but rather swing it with your whole body, controlled by your core. A few kettlebells crashed on the floor (including my own), but after a bit of practice, we got the hang of it. After learning the kettlebell basics, Devin led us through the yoga portion of the class: sun salutations that incorporated the kettlebell. From planks, triangle pose to tree pose, the kettlebell added extra resistance and weight to each posture.

Yogis Danielle and Cat show two variations of triangle pose using a kettlebell.

It has been a day since I went to the kettlebell yoga class and I am sore throughout my back and core. I enjoyed the class and loved how easy it was to incorporate weights. I usually go to 3-4 yoga classes a week and run during my off days.

Rarely (if ever) do I go to the gym to lift weights, even though I know it’s an area in my fitness I should incorporate more and more.

I swung. I stretched. And I sweat. A lot. Thanks Devin, I will be back!

…and we hope to see you back here too, Thea!