ABOUT ABI AND YOGA 15
I'm on a mission to bring yoga to men and women, passionate about their sports, who are training hard, looking for the edge and who recognise that yoga is a highly effective performance and recovery tool but don't know where to start.
I'm a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Instructor, an NASM Qualified Personal Trainer, I was born in England, I live in Bali and I have over 20,000 students worldwide.
About Yoga 15
Yoga 15 is a series of 15-minute yoga videos designed for athletes, to enhance physical and mental performance and support athletic recovery.
The 5 skills taught in Yoga 15 are:
Click on the links above to watch a 15-minute routine from each of the series, as many times as you’d like.
You can also download these free yoga videos on my iPhone app.
Who are the videos designed for?
I designed these videos for active men and women of all ages, to support their athletic passions and pursuits as well as a long, healthy and vibrant lifestyle.
How is Yoga 15 different from other styles of yoga?
My main aim with Yoga 15 is to make yoga accessible to athletes, who I believe, have so much to gain from the practice. The way that I’ve done this is to:
- strip yoga back to the essentials
- separate out the spiritual component
- remove Sanskrit terminology
- break it down into 15-minute sessions
- focus each video on achieving a specific skill
- tailor sequences to different sports
- provide clear progression
- keep equipment to a minimum
- focus on detailed instruction
- make it accessible to beginners
What are the main benefits of yoga?
I break down the benefits of yoga into two different categories:
- corrects muscular imbalances
- relieves muscular pain
- loosens tight muscles
- improves circulation
- reduces stress
- improves sleep
- speeds up recovery
- increases longevity
- reduces risk of injury
- Improves posture
- teaches proper breathing patterns
- calms the mind
- increases flexibility
- improves range of motion
- builds strength
- increases power and speed
- trains balance
- enhances body control
- improves movement precision and accuracy
- increases agility
- enhances coordination
- improves body awareness
- enhances focus and concentration
- increases stamina
What style of yoga is Yoga 15?
Yoga 15 is a combination of hatha and viñyasa. Hatha broadly describes practices that are based around physical postures that train mastery of the body and mind, and viñyasa can be translated as ‘flow’ or ‘sequence of poses’.
It is non-spiritual, each sequence is different—unlike Ashtanga or Bikram, and the pace is relatively slow and gentle. It is suitable for beginners and intermediate practitioners.
How and when did I get into yoga?
I qualified as an NASM Certified Personal Trainer in 2009 and worked for several years in gyms and with private clients in London and Puerto Vallarta, México. Around the same time, I started going to yoga classes and discovered that I was pretty good at it. It wasn’t the spiritual aspect that initially attracted me to yoga but the training in functional bodyweight movements that challenged my strength, balance and agility.
A few years later, I moved to a small town in central México where I no longer had access to a gym or yoga studio. At that time, I was significantly influenced by author Tim Ferriss and I decided to embark on some self-experimentation of my own. I challenged myself to maintain the level of fitness and aesthetic I desired with bodyweight training alone. The two disciplines I chose to achieve this were yoga and high intensity hill sprints. It worked like a charm and in no time I felt fitter and looked better than ever.
As I was living in the middle of nowhere, I found all my yoga tuition online, and this fast became incredibly frustrating. I was annoyed that I had to incorporate spirituality into my physical training and that none of the classes had a clear objective. Most of the time, I would complete a 90-minute session and not feel I had achieved any of my fitness goals.
Again, heavily influenced by entrepreneur Tim Ferriss and eager to start work on my own project, I decided to develop a method of teaching yoga that avoided many of the issues I had come across.
In September 2012, I took my Yoga Teacher Training at the Mystical Yoga Farm in Guatemala and dedicated the following year to researching, testing and designing my own system of efficient and effective yoga that could be practiced anywhere, with little or no equipment.
I launched my iPhone app, Yoga 15, in January 2015 with 115 x 15-minute yoga videos targeted at athletes and designed to train balance, flexibility, mobility, strength and relaxation.
How did I first get interested in teaching yoga to athletes?
While I was at my Yoga Teacher Training, my boyfriend at the time, who was a competitive mountain biker, was riding in the volcanoes around Lake Atitlán. He came to pick me up by boat on the last day, and as usual, his lower back was killing him. Over the previous few months, the pain had often become so unbearable that he hadn't been able to get out of bed without my help and he’d been advised that surgery was unavoidable. That evening, I showed him a few simple poses I had just learnt and for the first time in ages, he felt massive and long-lasting relief from the pain.
Charley became my first client and together we designed the perfect 15-minute yoga routine to address his muscular imbalances and manage his pain. At first, he had to practice yoga every day and now, a few years on, he just needs to do it once or twice a week when he’s riding or travelling more than usual.
What I learnt from working with Charley, and through my subsequent research, is that each sport involves the repetition of a limited range of movements that over time, establishes a pattern of muscular imbalances that cause pain and postural dysfunction.
For example, lower back pain in cyclists stems from:
- Shortened hip flexors.
- Weak glutes.
- A tight lower back and hamstrings.
- Over-developed quads and calves.
- Anterior pelvic tilt.
In yoga, we address these imbalances by stretching the muscles that are tight, strengthening weak structures and restoring range of motion where it has become restricted.
How did this lead to me working with other sports?
When I moved to Bali in 2016, I started teaching yoga to surfers using the same premise. The typical pattern I saw was:
- Compression at the lower back.
- Over-worked neck and shoulders.
- Closed chest.
- Tight hips.
I quickly realised that by looking at a client’s sport and lifestyle, I could design a specific set of routines that would correct their imbalances and reduce the pain.
Why is Yoga 15 so popular with men?
The two groups of people that resonate most with Yoga 15 are athletic women who want to develop mastery over their bodies and minds, and all men. In fact, every man I describe it to is convinced that I must have designed it specifically for him. I believe there are several reasons for this.
Yoga is clearly a female-dominated discipline in the West and this makes sense. Women are generally more skilful at it, it’s not aggressive like a martial art or dangerous like many action sports, it doesn’t get the adrenaline pumping and it’s explicitly non-competitive. It could be argued, however, that men need it even more than women. Their bodies are typically much tighter from playing lots of sports, not looking after their bodies as well as women do and because of hormonal and structural differences.
I’ve deliberately tried to make Yoga 15 more accessible to men by eliminating some of the most common obstacles.
- You can practice the videos at home. Yoga is not always fun for men. They often don’t start off very good at it and they are a lot happier not being good at things in the privacy of their own homes.
- Yoga studios can be pretentious and expensive and who wants to spend money on something that can be uncomfortable in a place where they’re not treated all that well.
- Lack of knowledge. Men don’t know what they’re supposed to be doing, what to wear or where even to begin. I break down the videos by skill and athletic discipline so that they can see a clear progression to follow.
- The free yoga available on the internet is inconsistent, often poor quality and lacks well-defined objectives or any sense of progression.
- Classes are generally too long to fit into a daily training schedule.
- The spirituality aspect can be off-putting, especially when it doesn’t feel genuine.
- I start at the start. Men often fall into the trap of believing that they are not flexible enough to practice yoga, though of course, that’s exactly why they need it—to improve their flexibility.