I used to run with my shoulders (seriously! no joke) do you? It's something I notice when I am out running observing other runners and when runners join me for a yoga class. I can tell! no hiding.
Before I started Yoga my legs were strong from running and cycling and I was fairly flexible. But I held all of my stress and extra work in my shoulders. To be honest I was oblivious of this until I started yoga. Once I began my Yoga practice, I quickly became aware of how the body needs to work as a unit to be its most efficient. In the simplest terms; for optimum performance regardless of whether you are a Yogi, a Runner or just living the healthiest life - your whole body needs to be strong and flexible. I say whole body because we have a tendency to overcompensate somewhere in the body when there is a weakness elsewhere. For me my shoulders compensated for a lack of upper body strength and total lack of awareness of my core (at this time it should be noted I did sit-ups I may even have had an ab or 2 but a total lack of awareness of how it should and could be used). Also my awareness of stress and how I thought I managed it was questionable.
Over the years I swung between giving up running so I could perfect hanumanasana (splits) to giving up Yoga because I thought I really needed to lose that extra pound or 2. I realised I wanted to do both, I needed to do both, I could do both! Yoga improved my running ability and running added power to some elements of my yoga practice. Whilst running clears my head and keeps me fit; Yoga has made me strong feeding me emotionally and spiritually in a way nothing else ever can. It also has helped me heal from many injuries and has kept me running for longer than others with similar injuries (aiming for 102 years of age ! not a bad life goal)
Lucky for you, each time I've been injured I've gained so much more insight as to how I can heal and also more importantly how I could have prevented it in the first place! From knee, to back, to foot and more I have learnt how patience is the ultimate requirement in returning from injury along with a deep understanding of how my body moves as a unit and how it has changed and continues to change over the years.
Regardless of how strong or flexible you are - it's about finding balance so you can be the strongest and best you can be. Paying attention to how 'you' stand; 'your' natural posture can give you way more insight than you realise. Most running blogs, articles etc. will have excellent but general information on how to be at your best. Through the practice of yoga you will gain a deeper understanding of your own body, how it differs from someone else's and how you can bring it towards a more optimum performance level. Attention to your whole body is required and this includes how you manage stress.
Let's be in this for the long haul!
I am thrilled to be announcing both a Workshop (September 9th) and a 6 week Yoga for Runners course (starting September 14th) at Yoga Dublin Ranelagh. This much requested course is not one to be missed. Every week we will have a different focus to gain insight as to how you can start, improve or just keep going as well as lots of information on healing and preventing injury. Prior booking is essential! We kick off with the workshop the week before which will give you an overview. Please book directly with Yoga Dublin. I am always available for questions, or if you are interested in a private class email me directly email@example.com