Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Yoga for Runners Workshop

This past weekend I participated in a Yoga for Runners workshop at my yoga studio with my favorite yogi. The idea of the 2 hour class was to strengthen what is weak (such as hip adductors) and stretch what is tight (such as glutes and hamstrings), while focusing on balance and similar motions as running. All this contributes to more efficient and effortless running.


I mentioned the motion of running…by this, I mean directing energy forward. As runners, we want to keep our legs and arms moving forward and back, not side to side. In Vinyasa yoga, there is something called a sun salutation, which is a series of poses done in succession so that one pose flows into the other. One of the first poses in this series is bringing our arms out to the side and above our head, then performing a swan dive hinging at our hips and bringing our palms to the ground. In this Yoga for Runners workshop, the sun salutation was adjusted for runners by raising our arms in front of us instead of out to our sides, focusing on forward-moving energy. This was suggested as one the warm-ups to do before a run. Here is the sequence of yoga warm-ups to perform before a run:
After doing this sequence, my muscles felt warm and ready for a run!  It was said that you can do it once or thrice or as many times as you want until you feel warm-ed up.  Unless you're super tight, once should be great for a pre-run warm-up.  Then we did a series of strenghtening yoga poses, each one focusing on forward energy as opposed to side-to-side motions.  We practiced for about an hour and a half before we began our post-run cool-down:
I've been praticing yoga for a while now, and with each practice I discover something new about myself, sometimes physical sometimes emotional (and many times both).  I love yoga, and I think it's so beneficial for runners because when we run, our muscles tighten and shorten.  Yoga helps to stretch and strengthen, which is a huge added benefit to running.  This running workshop was sensational because it really emphasized that!  I learned a lot, strengthened my body, focused on my breathing to steady myself for a challenging yet effortless practice, and learned how to focus that energy into running motions.

Do you practice yoga?  What are some of your favorite poses?  Least favorite?

2 comments:

  1. I don't practice yoga, but I think this is great. Helpful stretches to really loosen up the muscles before a run! I've never really gotten into yoga before, but I hear such great things :)

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  2. Did you take this class a Purple Yoga?? They had this same thing this week, I was so bummed I missed the opportunity!

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