What does Kim Cattrall, of “Sex and the City” fame, credit with “saving [her] life”? Something you’ve probably never heard of: “fizzy yoga.”
Properly known as physio-yoga or physiyoga, the regime combines yoga with physiotherapy in a one-on-one session that includes massage, yoga poses, physiotherapy adjustments, and meditative breathing. The 56-year-old actress told The Times of London that she was suffering from a sore right knee and “bruises bigger than a professional snowboarder” until the new yoga hybrid helped her to heal during her three-month stint performing in Tennessee Williams‘s “Sweet Bird of Youth” on the London stage.
“As I get older, I find that cardio is less important to me,” Cattrall said in the interview. “What I want to do more of is intense stretching.”
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With a background in physical therapy yoga instruction, Diana Zotos is one of Cattrall’s physiyoga instructors based in New York City. She told Yahoo! Shine that “fizzy yoga” is about teaching someone yoga, one-on-one, with a knowledge base of physical therapy. Zotos evaluates clients and then creates a personalized plan to help them strengthen and align their bodies, whether or not they have an injury, by retraining and rebuilding muscles.
Although Zotos estimates you could burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories an hour (at least double the rate of an average yoga class, though different classes vary) practicing the physiyoga, this workout isn’t about burning calories. Instead, she said, it’s about strengthening, alignment, and healing.
“It helps to awaken certain muscle groups,” said Zotos of the more holistic approach to healing and strengthening the body, which runs about $200 for an hourlong session. Her clients have included everyone from avid runners to yoga novices to people seeking relief from neck pain. “If someone pulls something or feels sore, I have a full tool box,” said Zotos.
She also helps correct clients’ posture and alignment using physiyoga, which strengthens deep core muscles. She described helping a writer who was unaware of how sitting all day at a desk was injuring his neck and shoulders. “Through stretching and strengthening, we changed his posture,” added Zotos.
Because you’re working one-on-one with someone, Zotos explained, it’s also safe. “It’s the safest form of yoga,” she said, reiterating the fact that instructors are trained in both physical therapy and yoga. “You’re not going to get hurt.” The customized yoga routine is hands-on and completely guided, she said.
So, it makes sense that combining physio-therapy and yoga could positively affect the body. Stephanie Creaturo, co-owner of Mala Yoga in Brooklyn, New York, and a yoga instructor, said these kinds of hybrids of yoga and corrective exercise have benefits in private sessions with clients. “Everyone’s body is so different,” she told Yahoo! Shine, “and yoga can really work for any body. It’s prehab instead of rehab.”
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Shelly Prosko, a licensed physical therapist and yoga therapist, agrees. “It empowers my client to take an active approach to their health, instead of the passive ‘fix it’ approach.”
Both Prosko and Zotos said they’ve seen an uptick in the number of clients looking to try physiyoga recently, but in the case of someone with a hectic, stressful schedule, like Cattrall, any type of yoga could be beneficial. “Yoga incorporates a strong mental and meditative component, making it a great way to manage high-pressure lifestyle situations,” said Kimberly Dawn Neumann, a certified fitness instructor in New York City. “It’s very difficult to heal if you have excess cortisol coursing through your body, which happens in times of high stress. It’s truly a mind-body workout and can positively impact exercisers on levels that transcend just physical fitness.”