A First Yoga Encounter…
“My sister (April Porter Crews) has always been more focused. April recognized the benefits of strength training many years before me and always been more interested in the mental strategies of athletics’. I on the other hand could not settle my mind long enough to stop jumping up and down (yes, I am a recovering cardio junkie). However, I did love strength style classes but in reality one does not differ much from the other. My mantras, for both to this day are still one simple word, PUSH!
It took me a while to even participate in my first class. I embarrassing state I believed yoga was slack, easy, not for me, I was better, sure I do marathon running, cardio kick, step aerobics, iron woman, the list continued in my egotistic, arrogant mind frame! I was one of those people, yes, I would roll my eyes when I saw participants coming with their mat!
My first class, April reassured all of her participants “this is not a competitive environment, do what you can, listen to your body.” Then came the poses, in shock, I physically could not do over ½ of them! As I looked at participants in dismay, these were in my own high intensity interval class elegantly posing in Warrior I, II my hips simply said no way! April ended the class in final relaxation corpse.
At that moment I thought this was absolute torture!
Imagine, clear my mind and get my to do list, short term goal list out of my mind!” After that class it was that magical moment I was hooked on yoga because I personally was given a new approach, new challenges, new breathing techniques which I knew was a win fall for my running plus, I was determined to get those poses (still on a journey to master my hips squarely in Warrior I). Like all runners I have had my setbacks with injury, since I introduced yoga my down time has been significantly decreased! I continue to gain more then I could ever comprehend from yoga principles in all areas of my life.
Since my first class, my journey with yoga has been forever humbling and fulfilling. My sister grew our clientele and our demand grew for Yoga classes. Therefore, I attended Yoga Fit Instructor Training Conference May 2012 in Toronto and completed Level I, followed with Level II YogaFit instructor certification in Ottawa with my sister February 2013.
Since that 1st class, I created and instruct Sisters in Fitness Yoga for Runners! I continue to relinquish from yoga what I know “us” runners need most! I would love to ensure you it is so wonderful, relaxing, unwinding class, on the contrary; it is a runner’s workshop. We work the tightness and build strength in a fluid strength flows with a touch of core Pilates sequences. I am embracing all the breathing techniques to help with all our runners who “suck air” and the mental focus for staying positive, finishing the run\race, conquering the hill!
Runners need to become friends with the mat!
An Easier Time on Hills
All those standing poses like Warrior variations, Fierce, and Goddess are yoga’s version of squats and lunges. Within a few yoga classes, you’ll notice that your quads, hamstrings, and glutes feel stronger while running, which means an easier time tackling inclines, declines, and uneven terrain.
Less Huffing and Puffing
Yoga teaches you how to take full, deep breaths and to connect your breath with your movements, making oxygen use more efficient. All that deep breathing on the mat will also increase your lung capacity so you’re less likely to gasp and struggle to catch your breath while running, especially in high humidity, cold air, and when doing sprinting intervals.
For the Chance to Touch Your Toes
Many runners suffer from tight hips, hamstrings, and lower backs. The repetitive motion of running coupled with the fact that most runners skip out on stretching makes for inflexibility. Practicing yoga loosens those tight muscles, which not only feels good while you’re doing the poses, but will make your body feel more open while running.
No More Pulled Hammies
Practicing yoga won’t guarantee the end of running injuries, but it’s a great way to lower your chances. Since yoga helps increase flexibility and suppleness, it makes pulled muscles less likely to happen. And if running is your main form of exercise, chances are your lower body is super strong, but the rest of you isn’t. This muscular imbalance can also lead to injuries, so doing yoga will enable you to strengthen the parts of your body that running doesn’t.
Goodbye Aching Muscles and Skipped Runs
Within hours after a long, arduous run, muscle soreness begins to set in, and can last for days afterward, making even simple things like walking down stairs a huge undertaking. And going for a run — forget it! Doing some post-run yoga can help prevent that soreness so you can keep up with your running routine.
I Can Do This
The mental part of a yoga practice is really challenging. When holding a pose, you can’t stop thinking, “When will this to be over?!” But you learn to welcome and breathe through the sensations that come up, no matter how uncomfortable. This is really helpful when running, especially if you’re doing long distances. Instead of thinking about how many miles you have to get through or how tired your quads feel, you focus on stepping one foot in front of the other, enjoying the moment you’re in now.
Yoga teaches you to notice subtleties of how certain muscles and even organs feel in poses, and this immediately translates to your life as a runner. It helps you pay more attention to how your foot lands on the ground, how you push off, how you connect your breath with each step, and how you hold your shoulders and swing your arms. This contributes to becoming a more efficient runner, but it also keeps you tuned into your body’s needs. If you notice a muscle tweak in your lower back, your experience on the mat will remind you to listen to your body and back off a little.