As a runner who’s completed over 18 half marathons and 3 full marathons, cross-training is incredibly important. One of my go-to’s when my body starts feeling tight is yoga. I’ve been practicing for over 6 years although I don't ask too many questions about form.
Fortunately, I had the opportunity to chat with the woman who teaches NYC’s yoga instructors, Ariana Rabinovitch. She holds 10 certifications and has over 20 years of experience. She focuses on the scientific aspect of the practice and shared these tips for yogis to keep in mind during their practice:
- Excessive flexibility can lead to instability in our joints and possibly injury. There are healthy ranges of motion for our joints and sometimes yoga poses go beyond those ranges. Many men and women often get fixated on more flexibility and pushing beyond their “edge”. Instead, yogis should learn what their healthy ranges of motion are and to aim for stability in a pose. If you feel painful resistance or your hips lifting when they shouldn’t, you may be out of your personal range.
- Doing a hundred chaturangas in a typical vinyasa class won’t give you the buff arms you are dreaming of. Not to mention chaturanga is a hard pose that requires a combination of core and shoulder strength to do the pose optimally. Yogis should take the time to gradually build up the strength to do the pose properly and every so often seek feedback on their form. This will help to cultivate a sustainable practice.
- Have you ever heard someone tell you to relax your glutes in bridge pose? There’s actually nothing wrong with using your glutes during yoga poses. Your glutes are powerful and necessary muscles that will help you get into the poses and help build long term stability in your hips and core in the process.
- Lastly, here’s a tip for runners based on recent research. Avoid static long-held stretches before your run. Performance tends to be better if you do dynamic stretching in order to prepare the body for your run. If your muscles tend to feel tight after you run then some longer held yoga poses (and stretches) might be a good idea because your body is warmed up and ready. Stretching consistently could also help with your joint mobility and might also decrease muscle soreness.
For my readers who are yoga instructors, Ariana is hosting a movement science workshop on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 at Yo Yoga!, 344 E 59th St. It’s $45 and from 2:30 PM to 5 PM.
You can purchase tickets here.