Yoga Nights

Tonight was yoga class.  I know, right?  I am a runner.  Runners run.  We do not fold ourselves up like pretzels.  That’s for people who are limber and flexible, not for those of us who run.

In fact, one of the reasons I run is that I need the exercise, but I have no discernible athletic talent.  Running only involves me, there is no team to let down.  Running does not need much equipment, which I would only lose, or forget to bring, or trip over.  Running does not expect me to be limber like a pretzel, which I am certainly not.

Back to yoga night.  The class is for runners, not “regular” yoga people.  We do very simple exercises, I think, compared to the others.  We also do some stretches that are specific to the parts that runners need to stretch, like the hamstrings, the piriformis, and the IT band.  Even though I feel clumsy as an ox during class, I am inexplicably proud of myself at the end.  And, it seems to be working!  My legs feel great after all that pretzel-like bending and stretching.  I can downward-dog without feeling like I’ll fall over sideways.  I’ve even learned how to properly cobra.  My, how far we have come in only 5 classes.

The most important point here is that we all start somewhere.  The biggest gains to our health start by, well, starting.  Step 1 is just getting off the couch.  Step 1 for you could be stepping out your own front door.  Keep adding steps, one at a time, until you get to the end of the block.  That may be all you can manage at first.  Moving a little at a time is completely fine.  It gets better as you go.  Be healthy, you are so worth it!


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Cydney said,

    I am also a runner, and former soccer player, so I have all the wonderful leg injuries that prevent me from getting any type of flexibility (those hamstrings, it’s like they have a mind of their own). However have you noticed any improvements in your running since you started yoga? Also what stretches have you learned in this class that you would recommend for other runners?

    • 2

      Hi, Cydney – Great questions! It’s only been about a month, so I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference in my running yet. I’ve struggled with IT band issues and with a neuroma (like a pinched nerve) in my foot. I DEFINITELY notice improvements in both those issues!
      I’d recommend downward dog as a great hamstring stretch. The instructor in our class always points out that it is fine to keep the knees bent and heels off the floor – the important thing is to get the sit-bones up high so the back is straight. Then we alternate bending one knee even more, kind of “walking” the pose. I also like “legs up the wall” for a piriformis stretch, right ankle on left knee and then slide the left foot down the wall a few inches until you feel a nice stretch. It’s easier to relax into the stretch than the more traditional piriformis stretch done lying on your back and grabbing the thigh to pull it toward you.
      Best of luck with your own running, keep in touch about how you are doing! – Gail

  2. 3

    Nita said,

    Gail, I couldn’t even move — at my age — if it weren’t for yoga. I do very simple, read SLOW, routines from a couple of old DVDs. I like doing it alone so no one can see me falling over from downward facing dog!

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