Does it help your running?
Simple answer is yes go for it. As for groups you might feel a bit frustated at first just remember that just like running everyone starts out at the same level. I'd see whats near you and which group looks friendly.
Cake is right.
If you're not very supple down your left side, logic would say that you're over supple (!) on your right side. Why not try to improve control on the right and in doing so you'll get greater lenght and suppleness on the left.
Thanks to both of you for replying.
Cake - looks like I've possibly found a group to join. Not worried about not having the level of other members of the group, as you say we've all got to start somewhere.
Six - interesting observation and something to think about.
Would be good to hear about other people´s experiences re yoga and running.
I swear by t'ai chi too. I'd rate it as far and away the best thing I've ever picked to study. Taught/learned properly, it's more of a philosophical/meditational discipline than a physical one (I refuse to call it 'spiritual' because it's just plain not!) and the outward movements are more an aid to focus and concentration rather than the main point of the thing. I think some schools of yoga teach it along those lines too but most of them are more about the physical movements. (As are some t'ai chi schools.) Though I do know one woman who decided to give up her much loved yoga classes as she had decided the eastern philosophy side of it was 'incompatible with her christianity' which I thought was a real pity she couldn't find some way to reconcile the two.
Anyway, good luck with the yoga. It's something I've been meaning to take up for years too but just never got around to it. Perhaps I shall investigate my local community centre's hatha yoga daytime classes aimed at pensioners. I bet it's full of sweet looking little old ladies who are super-bendy yoga demons!
I do both Pilates and yoga, I find that Pilates helps more with core strength and posture, whereas yoga is good for flexibility and stretching the muscles that get very tight from running. I think of Pilates as pre-hab and yoga as rehab.
There are so many different types of yoga out there, just shop around until you find one that works for you. I like my weekly vinyasa and bikram classes but I go to a yoga for runners workshop once a month too - its nice to be in a class where the teacher really understands the challenges/limitations that come from running a lot and to be in a class full of other people who have chronically tight hamstrings and dodgy hip flexors instead of the bendy show-offs in other classes
I don't know if it has made me faster, but it has made me stronger and less prone to injury.
Intresting thread ...
I was also consdering yoga and or pilates.I'm not very flexible. But have heard it can improve my posture and core stregth , I have tenedencies to slouch ALOT. So could improve my running stance ?
Really interesting comments runs-with-dogs. I must confess that I'm intrigued about the woman who gave up yoga due to it's eastern philosophy being "incompatible with her christianity". As you say, it's a shame she couldn´t reconcile the two things. Thanks for the good wishes, hopefully signing up for a class tomorrow. I also can't help wondering a bit about whether the group will be full of rubber-limbed contorsionists but I guess actually turning up and doing it will dispel any sterotypes. Good luck to you too if you finally decide to join a group.
xine267, I also thought about pilates but am going for yoga as I'm really looking to get more flexible. I heard that Ashtanga yoga (hope I've written that ok) is good for runners. Any opinion? A once a month yoga workshop for runners sounds really great and is something I might look for once I've been in a group a while. Good to hear it's made you stronger and less injury prone. The 'making you run faster' comment was a bit tongue in cheek!
I go through phases of doing yoga quite frequently and then stopping for a while and going back...
I've not noticed any real differences when taking up yoga, it does help with stretching but I do that anyway after running.
What I have noticed when it comes to helping with running was working on balancing exercises. You don't need to spend hours doing them and you probably wont notice any differences the first few weeks but if you can, things like standing on one leg, then on a bosu ball, then with your hands reaching skywards and gradually moving around to create more of a challenge and then with your eyes closed and head upwards...there are many variations and the important thing is to not develop a stratagy (so none of this "I'll just stare at a fixed point" stuff) and to work on making your core stronger and acting as something to keep your balance (rather then your eyes!).
I found it had an impact on my running after I did these core stability exercises for a good 5 minutes to 30 minutes a day and at least every other day if not ever single day.
I don't know where you are doing your classes, but if they are in a gym look out for Body Balance which has a Tai Chi warm up and then a mix of yoga and piates in the rest. It generally included a strength track and a balance track as well as stretches and core work. I find it really useful.
What BB does lack is the more meditative / breathing focus of a traditional yoga class, so I like to do one of those when I can as well.
Pilates bores me, and it hurts, but I have a core made of marshmallow.
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