There is no shame in using the foam blocks
There’s common phrase heard by many runners, “Yoga is great for runners, but running is bad for yoga.” Well I think there may actually be something to the saying.
Today I tried out a new yoga studio, called Mind the Mat in the up-and-coming Del Ray district of Alexandria, VA. It was an illuminating experience. Instead of doing a normal yoga class, I convinced my friend Christine to join me in a 2.5 hour Yoga for Runners and Athletes Clinic.
Running has made my muscles so tight and I will admit as a former dancer my flexibility has suffered. From time-to-time I dabble with yoga. It can be very relaxing and a great form of exercise. After last Saturday’s knee popping issue I realized that I should be incorporating more strengthening and cross training exercises in to my routine. So when I found this clinic I jumped (or Namaste’d…) at the chance.
The studio is located on 3 floors. Each floor is a unique yoga studio with a different vibe. Our class was located in the very top floor, in what would be the hot yoga studio. Thankfully this class was not hot.
We started by doing roll call. When checking each student in we all shared what our more serious ailments are. Most people had lower back, hip, calf, or knee issues. (sounds like most runners right?) Then we moved on to poses that can be more troublesome for runners. Our instructor called out positions that would be more difficult and demonstrated modifications. She allowed us to try them out and showed us helpful modifications based on individual issues. Some of these positions included Runner Lunge, Lizard, Warrior I, Warrior II, Garland Pose, Baby Cobra, & Cobra Pose. ( I may have googled these later, don’t be impressed).
These modifications were mind blowing! No really! After yoga I’m usually in some kind of intense soreness or pain. We actually used the blocks and straps. People there is no shame in using the foam blocks. It’s all about maximizing the stretch for each individual. There is no ego in yoga. It was more apparent in this class due to the wide range of athletes with unique physical ailments.Maybe it was because we knew there was nothing to prove to one another, but while in the class it was amazing to see people asking questions and trying different variations of poses.
After our Q & A/modifications review we went in to an open flow session that was still very open. In the flow session we did many of the Vinyasa flow poses, In the class, the instructor came around and adjusted our positions. This was beneficial for 2 reasons. She was able to adjust our positions to the correct form AND she was aware of any previous physical issues. Therefore, she helped with needed modifications. For example, I needed some help with my reverse triangle due to my knee issue. She fixed my hips and showed me how to place the block using “spider fingers” to properly align my body.
Overall the class was fantastic. I plan on going back to check out a regular class and get a more thorough look at all the studios. It’s hard to base my entire opinion on a clinic class, but I have a good feeling that I’m going enjoy Mind the Mat’s other classes.
Quote of the day: “Breathe, there’s no need to suffer. There is enough suffering in the world.”
That yoga clinic sounds so cool. I go to yoga 1-2 times per week, but often feel intimidated by the super flexible people there. It makes more sense now why I can’t do a lot of the poses well – I have super tight hips from running.
This was a great class. Some of the people were super flexible but most were runners and we all had trouble with the same moves!
I keep hearing that I need to do (more) yoga… Although I haven’t attempted any clinics or classes at a studio, I did find a phenomenal at-home yoga video for runners on Xfinity On Demand. You’re absolutely right about the tightness of muscles after continued running, and some of these poses have really helped to stretch and strengthen!
Wow, 2.5 hours? I’ve never gone that long (in yoga ;)) Funny you should mention the block as my instructor yesterday MADE everyone use a block. She had us use it to make certain poses more challenging in ways – like squeezing it between our legs in chair pose. It was very interesting.
HA! Yeah, it was a clinic so the first hour was fixing poses then the last 1.5 hours was a flow. I’m a block convert now whether it’s making my life easier or more difficult we’ll see…
I love yoga! I am a runner and I have been practicing yoga for over 8 years now. The props are definitely there to help with the poses (ie, if it hurts, modify it because you are not getting the benefit of the pose). Have you tried Unatta Aerial Yoga? It uses a hammock to assist with the poses. I love it!
I think yoga is about to become a cross training staple of mine. Unatta Aerial Yoga? I have never even heard of it! Is that like the ribbons from the ceiling? I could seriously get on board with that. It looks like lots of fun!
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