“Power Yoga: A New Way to Stay Forever Young and In the Game”
Talking Fitness with Sean Vigue
Are you looking for a way to build strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, and complete control of your body anywhere and anytime. Power Yoga maybe exactly what you are looking for. We recently had a chance to catch up with best-selling author and one of the world’s most-followed yoga, Pilates, power yoga, and flexibility training instructors, “Coach” Sean Vigue. We talked about everything from opera to Power Yoga, even a little Mystery Science Theater 3,000. Read on or give it a listen by downloading our talk on the TriadXP app.
What Does Mystery Science Theater 3,000, Have to do With Power Yoga?
Bill (TriadXP): Hello Sean, thanks for speaking with us today. We're excited to talk to you about power yoga and how your followers can benefit and reach their fitness goals with this approach and the added benefit of launching your program on Triad XP, with in app versions of your workouts. But before we jump in to talking about yoga and Pilates and some great stuff, you're a man of many talents. I continue to learn things about you. The more that we get to know one another, obviously I knew from past conversations that you traveled and you have opera talent and theater, but I just learned something new. So you're a fanatic of Mystery Science Theater, 3,000. Tell me what that's all about and what makes you tick when you're not working out?
Sean Vigue: Well, thank you Bill. I'd say it's great to be here with you and chat with you as always. And that's probably the best question I've ever got at the beginning of a discussion like this, Mystery Science Theater 3,000 as we call it MST 3K we're misties, I suppose. I believe it is my favorite show of all time, it came out when I was in high school and they take movies and shorts, usually bad movies and they provide comments to those movies. Something that I've been doing for years by myself and with my friends or I just sit and watch movies by myself and make comments. Sometimes it drives my wife crazy if she's in the other room, but I have to make comments on things. I think that's what helps me become a good instructor because I definitely am very critical and I have an eye for sound and movement and picture quality and editing and colors and everything on the TV. So Mystery Science Theater, I own more DVDs of that show than any other show I believe.
Bill (TriadXP): Well, I do recall seeing some of it in my younger days as well, but you've intrigued me to go back and get a laugh or two and see if I can't dig up an episode. So, when you're not doing power yoga, Pilates, spinning, or all the different things I know you're actively involved in, what makes you tick day to day?
Sean Vigue: Well, some of the other things I love to do and I talk about this is, when I went into college, I wanted to be a history major. I know I write that on a lot of my blogs. And I consider myself an amateur American History historian, specifically the civil war. Years ago I applied to seminary, the Lutheran seminary in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Gettysburg of course is the site of the largest civil war battle. I had a calling at the time to go to seminary and I ended up not going eventually. I was accepted, but I think the main draw of going there was to be among those battlefields in that history and that beautiful area in Southern Pennsylvania.
For a number of months, I studied to be a tour guide there. They have those tour guides that take you around in buses or take you out on foot to the different sites on the battlefield, they take you out to little round tops, devils den, the Seminary Ridge, all those infamous spots. So that's definitely something I'm looking over at my bookcase here and I have a whole rack, just history books, predominantly civil war books. I'm always adding to that. I always enjoyed history and I realized I didn't have to major in it. I could just study it any time I wanted. And along the lines of mystery science theater, I find a lot of value in film and television, in good film and television, something that speaks to me.
I find a lot of inspiration in it. I find a lot of revelation, even in that I find motivation. I like to laugh. I love comedies. I like to think I have a big theater background, so I definitely appreciate good movies and good acting and good editing. And my whole desire through the day is to find flow, I always look for flow. I pray for it all the time, to have a good flow throughout the day. So definitely a movie or a show, something like that, that has a really nice flow to it. Very good dialogue, very good editing, very good music score. It all goes to inspire me to keep that flow going and then that translates into what you see with my fitness, with the filming, the writing, the apps that we're doing with Triad XP. So it all, I don't separate it in these parts. They're all one continuous snowball for me, if that makes sense.
How to Choose the Best Approach to Fitness
Bill (TriadXP): That's great, let's dive in. There are so many different techniques that people can use to work out, to achieve their fitness goals. Some of them are flavor of the day and some are really long-standing forms like calisthenics and other body weight techniques, yoga in particular. So I always like to ask people like yourself, who obviously have dedicated their lives to this in some way, coaching and helping others. In your opinion, what are the most important things that the average person, someone like myself, or maybe some of your followers, should take into consideration when they're trying to figure out the right approach for them to reach their fitness goals with all these different methods, what should they think about?
Sean Vigue: Well, of course in today's age, there's no lack of information out there. There's no lack of new disciplines coming along. Infomercials are full of new workout styles. Usually they're all variations of the classic styles of what you say, calisthenics or yoga or core training or basic strength training, things like that. I mean, the first thing you would do is you would assess, what do I want? What is health and fitness to me? What do I want to do with it? How? What are my goals? And of course you want something practical, but my advice, always, is to just start moving. We can get so caught up in theory. So caught up in, oh, what should I do? What should, I hate that word should, it's terrible. It implies that I should do that, but I probably won't.
“…my advice, always is just start walking. We can get so caught up in theory….I’m big on just start walking, start moving!” Coach Sean Vigue
My consciousness is telling me to do it, but I'm not going to do it. So I'm big on just start walking, start moving. You have YouTube, you have so many areas where you can mine workouts and different styles and you can study, but I would say start moving. Add something new every day you haven't done before, work on setting aside time and it doesn't have to be hours. It can be 10 minutes. Most of my workouts, the meat and potatoes of them are at the most 20 minutes long. Really. They're very concentrated. They're very focused. It's one of the blessings of body weight fitness, using only your body, no weights, no machines or equipment. You can take them and do them anywhere at any time. I know you and I talk about that a lot. When we work on the apps for Triad XP a phenomenal advantage to those workouts, is you can take them and do them anywhere, anytime.
I prefer going outside, if you watch any of my videos, I'm always outside because I like being outside, fresh air, blue skies, the breeze, the smells. It's so invigorating to me. So when you can combine that with movement and breath, it is definitely an advantage. So my advice is always start, do something new every day. Try some new movement, eat a little better, substitute things. Don't just try to crash something. I have a really dear friend who was very overweight and he kept talking about getting back into running and I said, just go for walks to start, don't start running. You're going to hurt yourself, then you won't want to do it at all. So, you want to be realistic with what you're doing, but a little more each day and then after a couple weeks, you'll be amazed at how far you've come.
Why Power Yoga or Pilates?
Bill (TriadXP): Obviously your focus has been put into Pilates and into yoga. What led you to choose those two methods as your core?
Sean Vigue: Well, as we touched on a little bit earlier, I did professional theater. I spent wow, 13 or 14 years, doing professional theater, meaning I was a singer. I sang a lot of opera. I sang a lot of music theater. I did some dance. That was something I reluctantly got into after a while, because I wasn't a dancer. I had an ex-girlfriend who said I had very heavy feet and I was offended at first, but then I realized she's absolutely correct. That's when I was working up in Montana, at the Big Forks Summer Playhouse. And she was right. I was very heavy on my feet. So my awareness wasn't there. I could sing well, I could act, all that. I looked good, I thought, with good lighting, of course. That was always a joke, but wait, where was I, what was the question?
We can talk about this for hours or I'll just have a monologue, but the long story short is I started doing, it in theater. You want to make yourself as remarkable as possible and everything is with your body. Everything you do is with your body, whether it's your voice, your breath, your movement, your look, how you carry yourself, how you can adapt for any given role at any given theater, because you move around a lot. You're doing a lot of different approaches, different voices, different characterizations. So I started taking dance classes in New York City. I always like to give a shout out to the Broadway Dance Center in Manhattan and Sue Samuels. I hope she listens to one of these podcasts I do, or one of my videos, because I always like to give her a shout out.
I would take jazz dance with her because I was doing a lot of west side stories at the time. West Side Story has a lot of dance in it. A lot of very athletic dancing, which I was very drawn to and fight choreography, which I love. I love fight choreography. But anyway, in those classes she would toss in some Pilates. She would toss in some yoga, some stretches, some mobility training, flexibility training and it clicked because you head out and you do rehearsals every day of the week. You open a show and then a lot of times while you're doing that show eight, nine times a week, you're rehearsing another show. So this is in my twenties and my thirties. I'm 47 now, I could get injured and you want to keep yourself at a hundred percent all the time. So that's how I initially got into those disciplines.
The Difference Between Pilates and Yoga?
Bill (TriadXP): We have another program that we've launched with you in the past, Pilates for Athletes, it's a great book and we have it as an in-app routine as well. What are the primary differences that someone might need to understand about Pilates and yoga?
Sean Vigue: Well, they're very different disciplines. The nice thing is I found that they work very well together. They intertwine very well together. I teach Pilates mat, which is your body on a yoga mat or a Pilates mat or an exercise mat. So Pilates can also have apparatus. You can do the reform or different machines, but I don't teach that. I just got a question on one of my videos yesterday. Is Pilates yoga? Well that's the easiest question to answer. No, they're not the same thing. Pilates is exercise based. It's repetition based. It's always tough for me to explain sometimes, because I want to get up and start demonstrating it, because that's the best. As I said earlier, just get up and get moving. I've done podcasts where I want to get on the desk and say, well here's what we do for the Pilates 100.
But Pilates is a system of exercises, it works from your core, your abdominals, lower back hips and glutes and it works outward. So you're always anchoring in that spot. It’s now called Pilates after Joseph Pilates, but initially it was called controlology. So it's the study of control, control of your body, how it moves through space, spatial awareness where yoga and again, there's a lot of different variations on yoga. So, but basic yoga is postures, different postures that are held for a certain amount of time or a certain amount of breaths and yoga is like that, power yoga is taking those postures, I'm sure we'll talk about that a little more. Power yoga is taking those postures and running them through more athletic, more aggressive, intense sequences, but they do work beautifully together. I've done a lot of videos, yoga, Pilates, and yoga core because the core work in Pilates enhances the poses that you do in yoga and the breath and the focus and the precision in yoga enhances the Pilates.
How is Power Yoga Different from Yoga?
Bill (TriadXP): So let's dig into that. Your new program we're launching on TiradXP is a power yoga piece. And when you say power yoga, how is that different from yoga just as a general practice? What makes it powerful?
Sean Vigue: I alluded on that a little bit, power yoga is a system of flows. It's sequencing. It's taking those yoga poses and plugging them into a flow. I equate it to a symphony. I equate everything to the arts. Usually using music, Mozart, symphony, comedy. It has a definite flow. Everybody teaches a little bit of their own style of power yoga, but it is designed to raise the heart rate, to help you sweat more, to build more strength, to build more focus, more control, it's definitely a Western adaptation of yoga where it's athletic, it's more intense. And that being said, it's very, very pliable to the practitioner where you can vary it. If you're on your own, like in the app, if you want to use the Power Yoga for Athletes app, there's a lot of room there to grow as well. But it's definitely a more intense style of yoga than a lot of people are used to or that they might just think yoga is without trying. It's more intense than that.
“Power yoga…is designed to raise the heart rate, to help you sweat more, to build more strength, to build more focus, more control, it's definitely a Western adaptation of yoga where it's athletic, it's more intense.” Coach Sean Vigue
Key Benefits of Power Yoga
Bill (TriadXP): So, you touched on it already, but what are the key benefits that someone gets? If they're a yoga practitioner, what will the benefits be if they practice your program of power yoga?
Sean Vigue: Well, the first thing that comes to mind definitely is body control, because you move a lot more. You're moving, spatial awareness, you're moving through space and all these different poses. You'll have much better control of your body. The sweat aspect, the cleansing aspect, a lot more breath control, because you breathe into each of the flows you breathe in from pose to pose. You work as a balance. Endurance is a big one. Your ability to maintain a certain level of fitness of exercise for an extended amount of time, which of course translates positively to anything, especially athletics, playing sports, you build more strength. You build more, flexibility and mobility in your body. It's also great and can help with injury prevention, from more range of motion in your body. The muscles are more pliable. There's more blood flow into the muscles. There's more oxygen into the muscles, into the tissues.
I never have a problem writing benefits for these. That's a nice thing. I've never had a problem listing benefits in talking about them because there are really so many. And again, the best way to get those benefits is to get on the mat and start moving and then discover for yourself and that can trump everything else then as far as just reading about it.
Knowing How to Get Started
Bill (TriadXP): You talked earlier about your friend and getting started walking instead of running. Obviously all of us are at different points in our own fitness levels, our mobility, our flexibility and so on. Are there things that you suggest to someone that they might want to do to assess themselves and make sure they understand where they're at and how to start?
Sean Vigue: Well, of course, the nice thing about poses in the app is there's always modifications for something. The goal is to get moving, to get flowing. And I say this in my videos all the time too, you're using body weight fitness. You're not on a machine. You don't have a barbell over your head, a dumbbell over your head. You can modify as you need to, you can make little changes. I always say the goal is to keep going. Sometimes you have to stop of course. And I say, it's your workout? Well, I'm just merely a guy. It's your workout. So you don't have to copy everything that I'm doing, but the essence of power yoga and yoga and Pilates is body weight. So if you need to, you can make little changes along the way and build on your own.
“yoga and power yoga will meet you where you are on the mat. It's not going to try to artificially pull you somewhere where you're not ready to go yet.” Coach Sean Vigue
I like to say, and I've heard this many times is, yoga and power yoga will meet you where you are on the mat. It's not going to try to artificially pull you somewhere where you're not ready to go yet. So I work very hard to take away that mystique, to take away that intimidation. I know I've been very successful with that, but I would never teach in a way that I wouldn't want to be taught. So in the app, all these poses, all these many flows for all levels and such, they're all designed as something I would want to see if I had never practiced yoga before. This is what I would want, just tell me where, what are the beginner ones? What are the cool down ones? What are the more intense ones? So I definitely have a roadmap on the direction to go.
Benefits of Fitness Apps
Bill (TriadXP): Well, that's a great transition into where I'd like to go next. And that is fitness apps. Obviously they can provide a lot of support. They give voice and visual guidance. So you get some cues. Apps are known to enhance the ability for someone to feel like they can support their habit formation because they're tracking their results and so on. But with your programs and in TriadXP, users have the ability to personalize it, as you said, modify, change the flow and adjust things. Why did you decide to work with TriadXP and what do you see as some of the benefits your followers might get out of an app-based version of your program?
Sean Vigue: Well, Triad XP, this is honest too. I'm not just saying this, it's so comprehensive. I love that, because some of the questions I get are the stuff that Triad XP addresses like, how long do I have to do this? Because if they're watching a video, it's a little different. They can pause it if they want to hold it longer, but in the app, you can control things like duration. You can swap out exercises, you can move exercises, you can make your own flows out of it. So it definitely gives people flexibility and that's what I want, it gives them the ability to construct their own poses, their own flows, their own workouts with what they need right now. Everyone has different needs, different desires for when they get on the mat for what they need. Maybe they just need a quick little stretch.
“it's so comprehensive. ….in the app, you can control things like duration. You can swap out exercises, you can move exercises, you can make your own flows out of it.” Coach Sean Vigue
Maybe they want something really comprehensive. Maybe they're just starting. With an app you can put it on your phone, or your tablet and we always talk about this, you can go out to a football field, or go out somewhere. You can train solo, you can work on this solo. You can get a group of your teammates together. You can get a group of friends together and do these. It's all on the app and I love that, the control it puts in the hands of the user, removing another roadblock they might have because you think, well let’s do some yoga. Well, there's this, this and this.
So the goal is to make it as accessible as possible to anybody. And then once you get them in there, I don't see anybody turning back. Because my experience is I've never had anybody do these workouts and say I was doing a lot better before I started doing these. I'd never had that happen. I was just talking about that on a podcast last week. That's never happened. Not that it couldn't, but the goal is that anyone can do these and benefit, whether it's in a tiny way or a big way as well. And the TriadXP app just gives them everything and more that they need.
Bill (TriadXP): With the launch of your program, there's a special add on bonus for the first couple of months where you've got seven bonus workouts that are full end to end videos. So people can see and experience what they experience from Coach Vigue on YouTube. And then they can experience the flexibility and the ability to adjust routines with the app with the individual poses and times and such. So that's great, a great way to launch it together. Kind of blend your coaching technique and the app benefits.
Sean Vigue: Yes, I love that. I love that Bill, because the seven-day power yoga challenge I put together is a challenge of natural progression. I designed it so you could start with day one, having never done power yoga before and every day just adds on a little bit. Progressive destabilization, I like to call it. So it gives you a definite roadmap in the direction to go because some people think well, what should I do? It's like just do these in order. If something's tough, do it a second time, go back and look at the app and the poses, some of the poses are in the app. You could study them. If you want to read the descriptions, you can practice the flows in the app and then get on, get in the videos or vice versa.
“the seven-day power yoga challenge I put together is a challenge of natural progression. So I designed it so you could start with day one, having never done power yoga before and every day just adds on a little bit.” Coach Sean Vigue
So it gives you both. I've been talking about it as a training course. It reminds me of something we would do in school as in the app part is the textbook. And then the seven videos is the practical application of it. Again, removing those roadblocks. If somebody, they love to train with me online, they like the videos and they may not be comfortable with an app. Well, here's the app. You can learn that, the book and, and look at the poses, then you can plug into the actual videos as well. So I'm very excited about that because the video is my language above anything else. I write a lot of books and stuff. But as I said earlier, I want to get up and demonstrate it because it's all, it's in the movement that it makes sense. So dynamite combination, the two of them.
Bill (TriadXP): Well, that seems very clear. You have a very large YouTube base and I can tell from all the times that we've talked here, your energy level is always high. And I can always tell, you'd rather show than talk. You'd rather demonstrate. But you bring a sense of humor, a sense of reality to all that you do. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. I want to thank you for taking the time to speak with us today and wish you continued success in supporting the large community of followers you have. I'm sure that as a coach, people are used to your style and you built your following because of that. We look forward to hearing some great feedback from your followers as they adopt the app. Is there anything in closing that you feel we didn't touch on that you'd like to share?
Sean Vigue: Well, I want to say that anytime I talk to you or Mike or both of you, I always get really energized. I love it. We all share the same passion for this, right? It's anywhere, anytime. I remember when I talked about that with Mike. He really latched onto train anywhere, anytime. And that's something I preach a lot because people think, well, I can only go to the gym. I can only do this. And during the quarantine last year there were certain lockdowns, gyms were closed, so you have it right here in your body, go explore, do some things, get outside. And then when you get back to the gym, you'll be all the more energized and inspired to do more there. So I always like talking to you guys whenever we plan something, I look forward to it. I take notes because I know we're going to come away all excited about it and that's a blessing. That really is. It's always positive.
Bill (TriadXP): Indeed. And Mike Elia, our founder, he used to travel the globe quite a bit and so that anywhere, anytime piece for him was having something to support his ability to work out when he was going to show up in a hotel in Germany and not know what would be there. As you've said, your body is enough if you understand different approaches, you can accomplish that. So we always enjoy talking with you as well.
Sean Vigue: Good. Yeah. It's definitely a mindset.