Yoga Inspired By Martial Arts: A Crash Course on Caponyasa

The fitness scene is ever-changing — and that doesn’t exclude yoga. While the practice may be founded on ancient principles, it’s ever-evolving thanks to innovators like Carlos Rodriguez, a group fitness instructor at Crunch Gyms in New York. Rodriguez has conceived a new style of yoga called Caponyasa, which combines the endurance, speed, and strategy of Capoeira, a form of Brazilian martial arts, with the flow and poise of yoga for a dynamic Vinyasa sequence that will work out both your body and mind. While it’s not a replacement, we all know that if there’s one thing regular gym-goers let fall to the wayside, it’s stretching. Caponyasa will help work out kinks while working on flexibility and building strength.

To give you an idea of what you can expect from a class, we asked Rodriguez to demonstrate five signature moves.

1. Alternate knee high scissor


Source: Carlos Rodriguez

Laying on your back, alternate straight legs up and down as you bring opposite elbow to opposite knee, all while drawing in through the navel and keeping the abdomen tight. This is an ab move that will tighten the stomach and condition the abs. Repeat in three rounds of 10 counts.

2. Rock and rolls


Source: Carlos Rodriguez

Starting from a mid-squat position with the feet about two feet apart, hold for three seconds and then roll back onto the floor. Then slowly rock your way back up to that mid-squat position where the quads are flat. The whole time you want to engage the core by tightening the abdomen and letting the roll back and the rock up come from core usage and not momentum. This is a core, butt, and hip workout. Start with one set of 10, and then build as you gain endurance.

3. Balancing mid-squat in motion


Source: Carlos Rodriguez

Start from a mid-squat position with feet about two feet apart, keeping the heels high and balancing on the balls of the feet. You want to hold that balancing squat for five seconds and then, keeping heels up the whole time, straighten the legs all the way until you squeeze the butt together tight and hold for three seconds. This is a full leg, calf, and butt workout. Repeat in three rounds of eight.

4. Standing airplane in motion

CR011AG_CaponyasaMoves_4_11.15 (1)

Source: Carlos Rodriguez

Standing on one leg, extend the opposite leg back with the arms shifting back and leveling the hips. Hold for five seconds, and then remaining in balance on the standing leg, bring the floating knee into the abdomen with the arms up high, and hold for five seconds. You want to make sure to tighten the abdomen to engage the core when you are lifting that knee into the abdomen; it will help the transition and balance. This is a full-body workout. Repeat for three rounds of 10.

5. Modified stationed ginga

Source: Carlos Rodriguez

Source: Carlos Rodriguez

Starting with the feet about three feet apart, bend one knee as you straighten the opposite leg, swaying the opposite arm from the bent knee over the face and alternating this motion from side to side with a fast steady place. The abdomen should be engaged at all times, making sure the motion is core induced. This is another full-body workout. Repeat for three rounds of 10.

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