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Overall Fitness

Photo Credit Jana Josue for West Coast City Girl

The secret ingredient to enhancing your running performance while preventing injuries is improved core strength. 

And the best way to do that is to incorporate cross-training into your regime.  

There are many cross-training options, though one of the best that can help with flexibility, core, and overall fitness is yoga.  

The Westin Bayshore -Yoga

As a runner, I have to confess to not stretch after every workout, yet I always regretted my omission when it happened. 

I would be stiff and not able to run efficiently. I decided to participate in the Hips and Shoulders yoga class taught by Karla Holman. 

She showed me which key poses would help to decrease tensions in the shoulders and hips affected by stress and injuries.  

Holman shares here the benefits of working on your hips and shoulders which can improve your overall fitness. 

 “I would say the hips and shoulders are where most people tend to be tight, stiff; sore…it’s where so much tension and emotions can be held,” she began. “Most of the general population spends most of the day sitting at a desk, which can cause tight hips and rounded shoulders from looking at the computer screen or on the phone…etc.,” she said.

Some of the poses I did were “Warrior II low and high lunge,”  “Trikanasa,” “lizard, IT stretches,” shoulder openers lying on floor cactus arms rolling to one side, lung with block under heart to open chest/shoulders.  

She also modified some of the poses to get deeper into the hips.  I felt not only more relaxed but with more flexibility.

Holman is passionate about helping people feel more relaxed and connected to their bodies after her classes.

“I love guiding people to find space in their bodies and connecting to their breath.” Holman adds, “When you see the body start to accept the movement and let go is a powerful thing.  We all land on the mat for different reasons but we all leave knowing a bit more about our body and feeling better, connecting with our breath.”

Photo Credit Mat Collective

She continues, “The hips and shoulders class focuses on opening the body in a safe and intelligent way, meaning we get deeper into the body parts as the class progresses.  I focus on opening up the hips, inner thighs, outer hip, IT band, lower back, and hamstrings…all of this can be extremely tight with running.”  

She continues by adding “If our hamstrings are tight our hips are most likely tight, slightly rotated and lower back is stiff and sore.  Our shoulders think they need to carry the world (and) even when we don’t think they are sneaking up to our ears, they are. I focus on opening the front of the chest, back of the rib cage and shoulders as well as the fascia so we have better movement in the torso which will create movement and the ability to breathe better.”

Yoga can complement your running so here are a couple more poses to familiarize yourself with:

The Downward Dog – stretches hamstrings, calves, and foot arches; strengthens shoulders.

Low Lunge – stretches hip flexors; strengthens hamstrings and quads.

Even a few months of yoga can make a significant improvement to runners with increased core strength and flexibility.  

Christine Blanchette is the host and producer of Run With It, a running fitness and health program airing on YouTube or follow her on Twitter.

Photo Credit https://www.vipfitnessvancouver.com/single-post/7-ways-to-get-fit-in-Vancouver-this-spring