Anyone who thinks that fitness gurus are limited to youthful practitioners have not availed themselves of the wisdom of Yamuna Zake, one of the most visionary master teachers and healers on earth. She’s the embodiment of grace, intelligence and knowledge—particularly when it comes to understanding how the human body works. Yamuna’s philosophies are at the epicenter of an impressive brand. Her intuitive thinking and practices revolutionized the way her students understood their bodies after mastering her practices that are sweeping the globe. Yamuna calls her method “body sustainability”. Around 2,000 holistic practitioners and 450 certified instructors call her methods ingenious, practical and life-sustaining. You might feel the same way after you learn about this woman and her life-long journey.
RS: How did you first intuit Yamuna methods and principles?
Zake: I have been fascinated with the way bodies work for over 36 years. I think it started when I began to learn and practise Hatha Yoga at the age of 14. Over time, I studied other types of body work, developing my unique brand of Body Logic. My “hands-on” therapeutic techniques came about as a result of working with Yoga students who sought to overcome their own physical restrictions while trying to master difficult poses. After adopting my movement innovations, they were quickly hooked on my methods. For example, one of my most popular body work practices, Yamuna Body Rolling, has become a transformative, self-help practice people of all walks of life now undertake using balls to condition the body.
RS: What is the difference between Yamuna Body Rolling and Body Logic?
Zake: Body Logic is Yamuna’s all-encompassing hands-on philosophy, healing system and assessment tool. Body Rolling is a self-help technique using balls that include specific body positions to maximize the body’s conditioning. The result is an improved range of motion, but Body Rolling also helps the body heal and can even help prevent injuries.
RS: Are you saying that Yamuna balls are different from regular exercise balls?
Zake: Yes. It has taken years to create and test Yamuna balls. They come in multiple sizes and resistances so people of all ages can work with them safely to self-heal and condition their bodies on their own. I coined the line,
“A ball is just a ball without understanding how to use it properly to keep the body healthy.”
RS: Is it hard to become a certified Yamuna practitioner? What can someone interested in training expect?
Zake: Wow; that’s a hard question to answer here because there is no simple response. When people ask this same question, I always send them to Yamunausa.com so they can get the information they need to make an informed decision about training and certification processes.
RS: Can adopting Yamuna techniques improve a runner’s overall fitness program?
Zake: The two make a perfect pair! Runners using Yamuna techniques report fewer injuries because the moves prevent one from using the same muscles repeatedly—muscles that can lead to over-use injuries. Yamuna foot fitness techniques enhance the way feet perform, since they tone and condition all of the muscles connecting the chain that runs from legs to feet. Yamuna Body Rolling (mentioned earlier) aims to keep hamstrings, quads, adductors and I-T band balanced, so legs move effortlessly from the hips for a smoother, more efficient stride while running—oh, and Yamuna knee and ankle techniques keep joints aligned and decompressed, too.
RS: Are you saying that if a runner adds Yamuna techniques to their workout program, they will benefit?
Zake: That’s exactly what I’m saying. And we’ve got lots of proof substantiating the positive effects Yamuna practices have on the health and wellbeing of runners who practise all aspects of Body Logic.
RS: You mention injury prevention and healing techniques. Do these come about from specific Yamuna training protocols or just the self-conditioning methods you describe?
Zake: Both. Lots of runners undertake Yamuna training as part of their conditioning and preventative routines, because in addition to learning techniques, they also learn how to keep their hips, legs and feet aligned and working optimally when they train or compete.
RS: Can therapists and fitness instructors benefit from Yamuna training and education?
Zake: Very much so, and a big part of the training involves learning to assess and treat running injuries. The Yamuna system even helps people improve their performances in their professions because when they’re certified, they are skilled at spotting and correcting alignment and injury-causing patterns. Fitness instructors also become acquainted with principles of functional anatomy, which enables them to diagnose and assess their students, no matter what type of exercise, fitness or sporting activity they practise.
RS: We understand that you came to Singapore to train instructors in 2014. How many practitioners did you train while here and why did they undertake the training?
Zake: I have trained and certified 10 professionals here, but it’s important to understand that when people throughout Asia learned that I was coming here, they flocked to Singapore from Malaysia, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. As for why people took the training, I think that it’s self-evident. My international reputation says all there is to know about the success of Yumana methods and my credibility.
RS: If someone is interested in obtaining Yamuna training and certification, what should they do?
Zake: Find and work with a certified Yamuna practitioner one-on-one or take classes that teach these techniques. Alternately, if one has too many demands on her time, she can purchase Yamuna kits that provide all of the principles and techniques needed to prepare oneself for a future opportunity to attend training classes and become certified in Yamuna practices.
RS: You just referred to “her”. Can men take up Yamuna training or is it just for women?
Zake: Both men and women are undertaking training in Yamuna practices, though presently, more women decide to learn these techniques than men, but lots of elite male athletes and trainers have become followers of Yamuna’s methods. Oh, and there are no specific age limits, either. Anyone interested can be trained.
RS: What can we expect to see in 2015? Do you have surprises in store?
Zake: (Laughs). I never stops creating, innovating and improving my techniques and methods! I have two new foot products in development at the moment and my line of Yamuna Therapeutic Essential Oils and Body Blends are very popular. Yamuna fans eagerly await new products and therapies, so there’s a lot of excitement about launches. Honestly, I never stop!
Yamuna Zake is a one-of-a-kind fitness leader who has spent her life trying to improve the lives of others. What is there about her tireless campaign to bring exercise and lifestyle changes to the lives of everyone she and her instructors encounter that impresses and inspires you most?
Keep up with Yamuna and find out more about the training concept at its official site.