Finding Comfort at the Yoga Shelter

As a competitive runner, I know how important cross training can be. Tight muscles and a lack of flexibility can lead to injury and have you hitting pause on your training.

Last year, I neglected this and got the dreaded runner’s knee, a common injury where one experiences pain near and/or behind the knee cap. Not only did this stress me out, but it put a real strain on the one thing I loved doing: running. So I went to a specialist and they informed me that if I focused on incorporating strength training and stretching into my workouts, the problem should clear up.

From there, I prioritized finding a form of cross training that not only would help my poorly functioning knees, but would also be something I enjoy.

During my search to find the type of cross training that works best for me, I tried slow flow yoga with the Blue Care Network team at Yoga Shelter in Royal Oak.

Here’s what I expected:

  • Stretching: My hamstrings and IT band are notorious for giving me problems. I expected yoga to loosen my muscles, so I could have better mobility.
  • Core strength: It’s no secret that running requires a significant amount of core strength, which would be improved through yoga.
  • Balance: If there’s one thing I physically lack, it’s balance. From watching videos and seeing images of yoga poses, I knew walking into this class that my balance would be challenged.

Here’s what I didn’t expect:

  • The amount of difficulty: Slow flow yoga is a great slow-paced workout, but it was still hard. Thankfully trained instructors showed me different levels of poses, so I could pick one that I was most comfortable doing.
  • Positive affirmations: Yoga is welcoming, and the positive affirmations said during the practice were so uplifting. I found that I felt better about myself after this class.
  • Mindfulness: During the practice, we were regularly reminded to breathe. And at the end, we were told to forget about our to-do lists and stresses and just think about our breathing. This form of mindfulness put a lot into perspective for me and led to a more stress-free day.

Overall, yoga helped me in more ways than I then I thought it would. Not only did I physically feel better, but I was also mentally calmer and comforted.

Yoga has no mold and is accommodating to everyone. It doesn’t matter what size you are, how old you are, what you do or why you’re doing it. Whatever your fitness or mental health goals are, yoga can be a great addition to your existing plan.

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