For many years, there has been a distinct break in styles of training. What was the traditional style of training for athletes, such as running and weightlifting, was considered a Western style of training. On the other side, you had styles of exercise involving meditation and being aware of your body, such as yoga and tai chi, considered more of an Eastern style of training.
In the last decade, however, there has been an emergence of East Meets West Training that combines the two styles. There are many benefits and challenges that you might not get if you only did one of the two.
How Does It Look?
Eastern training keeps most of the focus on mind-body awareness through static holds and stretches. So, it is typically slow and focusing on where the body feels strong and controlled even when in a stance lacking complete structural integrity and requiring a lot of balance.
Western training, however, typically focuses on using a position with structural integrity and using it as a launching pad of sorts to generate power to lift, throw, jump, or run. The focus is typically on getting bigger, faster, or stronger.
When you combine the two, you may be doing things from a state of imbalance, but you are focusing on how your body feels in that position and how can you move most naturally to still be strong, powerful, and flexible. Some common exercises are different types of animal walks, like the bear, monkey, or lizard. Also, it is common to see aspects of gymnastics, such as the handstand, or parkour, such as different types of jumps.
The focus is on being more efficient and confident in different types of movement in order to make a body capable of doing various tasks with greater power and a reduced chance of being injured. Because of this, a workout may combine flexibility training, stability training, and explosive training.
What Are the Benefits?
The focus in Eastern training is more about flexibility and the focus in Western training is more about strength or speed, but East Meets West Training is focused on the movement as a whole. Sure you can squat a lot, but can you climb? You are great at those yoga poses, but can you jump or run well?
This has especially gotten into the athletic arena where competitors realize that overdoing certain exercises may have left them with muscle imbalances or inflexibility, creating constant pain or the inability to do certain movements well. So, it is common to see rehabilitative exercises incorporated in a workout as well. With movement as the focus, a football player may be working on how to make a hard cut to the side while running, or a fighter may be working on being able to duck and move in on his opponent. But it is all getting the right response from the entire body to achieve an optimal combination of balance, stability, and explosiveness.
Where East Meets West
We are meant to move. So instead of being aware of your body only during your workout or separating your strength workout from the actual movements you perform, East Meets West Training focuses on mind-body awareness and building strength within the movements you make.