It’s a love hate relationship at best, and the hate usually wins out. I tend to avoid yoga classes with the same determination that I avoid the stomach flu, but yesterday I caved. I realized that I’m not as flexible as I think I should be, and yoga is the way to resolve that situation.
Runners need yoga – we often don’t stretch as much as we should and we’re prone to IT band injuries, tight hips, and a slew of other flexibility related injuries. When we’re injured we can’t run, and that creates very ornery humans, especially when we know the injury could have been avoided.
Personally, I had an IT band injury about three years ago that took running away from me for nearly a year. At the time, I was completely unaware of what an IT band was, what it’s purpose is, and how one can really screw it up by increasing mileage too quickly, or by not stretching it out after running. Alas, I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so all I could do was react to the injury after it happened. After that injury, I joined the Nike Run Club where I learned about dynamic stretching before runs to get warmed up and stretched out, and I was forced to stretch after runs. Both of these things were great additions to my running routine, and I firmly believe that they’ve kept me injury free since then. While I do continue to stretch with my Nike peeps, I don’t do it on my own, and my flexibility isn’t where I want it to be.
Enter yoga. Ugh, yoga. Boring, hocus-y pocus-y, incense smelling, hippie yoga. Yesterday I pushed those thoughts out of my mind and looked up a studio that some awesome Insta friends recommended. It turns out that the studio will give newcomers a free week of unlimited classes to start. They had a beginner class at 7pm last night. Jay was working until 8pm and wouldn’t be home waiting on me. Perfection.
I dashed out of the office at 5:15pm yesterday which is early for me, but I knew that I had to get home, get changed, and sit in traffic to get from Somerville to Cambridge. I arrived at the studio the recommended fifteen minutes early to fill out paperwork, rented my mat and towel, and headed off to my class. The first thing I noticed was that the room was warm. I remembered that the literature on their website mentioned that this particular class wasn’t heated, but that the room might be warm due to an earlier warm class. It wasn’t unbearable, so I crossed my fingers that the room didn’t get any warmer. The instructor came in, introduced herself, and class began. She ran us through different poses, some flow, an abs portion, and some time for inversions. I got both feet off the floor for my pigeon! I couldn’t quite keep the balance for long though, and I put my feet back down quickly. I have to say that the instructor did a great job describing the poses and offering modifications. I knew most of the poses, but had to look around for a few. I was able to keep up though, which made me feel slightly more confident. All in all if was a good class and I’m looking forward to going back. I can tell from the class last night that if I keep going, I’ll be able to develop the flexibility that I’m looking for. This should help keep me healthy for running, which in turn, will keep me happy.
What things do you do to maintain your injury free status for running, or other sports that you enjoy?