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Get to know your coach: From Shut Up & Yoga

A snippet from an interview I did with a unique and exciting company, Shut Up & Yoga.






WE WERE DELIGHTED TO MEET DONOVAN STEWART, CURIOUS MOVEMENT COACH AND FITNESS PHILOSOPHER. IN THIS INTERVIEW, WE DISCUSS (AND DEFINE!) UNCONVENTIONAL TRAINING, THE CROSS-ROADS OF FUNCTIONAL MOVEMENT AND YOGA, BUT ALSO CURIOSITY, BOREDOM, AND EXPECTATIONS. READ ON TO LEARN MORE!

Donovan’s Movement Journey As An Individual & Educator

Can you tell us a bit about your background? What education did you receive, and how has it influenced your movement philosophy? Can you tell us about becoming blind in your right eye has influenced your life and coaching career?

I received a Bachelors in nutrition & exercise science from Queens College (in NYC) in 2015. Since then, I’ve taken several workshops that have shifted my thought process. I originally wanted to become an athletic trainer; now I want to not only help people prevent or recover from injury, but I also want to heal the mind through curiosity.

My eye accident opened the doors to my coaching career. I never wanted athletes to become hurt like I was, to have a crutch, to have a predisposed limit to performance. And if they did, whether they were athletes or people looking to move better, I would support them into overcoming it time and time again.


I want to not only help people prevent or recover from injury, but I also want to heal the mind through curiosity

You mention how you got into “unconventional” kinds of training because you got bored. Can you tell us a little about that adventure? What do you mean by “unconventional”?

I got bored with the traditional, lift a barbell, and put it down antics. I got really strong, really fast using machines, barbells, and dumbbells but I was doing the same thing all the time. I switched it up by adding more running into my regimen, but I was still bored. I started to use kettlebells and experimented with my own personal training and fell in love. I researched kettlebell training and came across steel maces, steel clubs, and martial arts. I studied all three of those and got a basic understanding and now use them for skill learning and something to always work towards.


For skills learning I mean that, for example, I’ll use steel maces/clubs for offset training (weights far away from the body to force people to engage more of their core and body awareness). I’ll also use martial arts for coordinating the upper and lower body, not for self-defense or fighting purposes but to connect mind and body fully. I call it unconventional because if I walk into a gym and start swinging a steel mace around a gym, just about every person around me will be in awe.



So, what does your movement practice look like?

My movement practice consists of a lot of bodyweight training in terms of mobility, running and movement games. I also love to use kettlebells, I’ve practiced so much with them at the start of my career, I can’t imagine a day going by without swinging a bell once.

What’s your goal through coaching?

My goal is to provide a space for people to feel comfortable working towards their goals no matter who they are, pain-free and through curiosity. I want to invite them to see what works, what doesn’t, and encourage them to appreciate the result of such exploration because they get to try something new.


What role does social media play in your coaching endeavors? How do you use it and how has it influenced your life?

I use social media to come across movement games, new styles of training, and to get in touch with other coaches who inspire me. From time to time, I do get lost into the vortex of comic book and video game randomness, but social media influenced my life to what it is today. It’s led to life-changing experiences and helped me discover my style of coaching.

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