Before Christmas, I signed up for a Sunday morning Yoga for Runners class at Fleet Feet. I’ve long been curious about yoga and have heard more and more about the positive effects it has for runners in terms of improved strength, flexibility and overall injury prevention. And since this is the year I’m getting for real serious about dropping serious time off my race PRs, I thought it was time I gave yoga a shot.
So, is taking three classes enough to earn official yogi status? I say yes. I am fully ON BOARD.
I was a little nervous going in because I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, having never taken any yoga class ever. Would I be able to figure out the poses? Would the instructor be an annoying hippie? Would the meditation aspect be too corny? Here’s the thing, though: It’s a Yoga for Runners class. Everyone in there is a runner, including our instructor. By her own admission she’s not a “bendy ballerina type”; she has tight hips and sore calves and gross toes just like the rest of us. Only, she’s been a yoga instructor for more than a decade and she’s also run Boston three or four times. So whatever this gal is selling, I’m buying.
I picked up on the poses relatively quickly. To be honest, it reminded me a lot of dance class (I took tap, jazz and ballet for about 10 years in my youth), except for one teeny, tiny difference: I am not flexible anymore. At all. Holy hell.
But that’s why I’m there, right?
I’ve found many similarities between yoga and running. Both test the body and the mind. They take concentration. They’re time to forget about everything else going on in the world. And if you’re doing them right, you will be sore.
Our instructor reminds us to have mantras, to breathe, to focus on stationary objects to keep our balance and take our minds off the pain. She likens it to the mental toughness needed at the end of a race. This woman is speaking my language.
One of my go-to yoga mantras? “I am changing my body and making it stronger.” Yes, yes, I am.
Namaste. — Mags