Yoga for Runners
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Yoga for Runners is a practice specially designed for runners who would like to strengthen as well as increase flexibility in the muscles and joints they use for running. Runners face a unique set of challenges, from runner's knee to flat feet to plantar fasciitis. I understand that. When I first began running, I struggled with several painful issues. Yoga helped me to heal and strengthen my body, and has helped me to prevent further injury. The poses in this DVD can help to improve strength in your knees, legs, thighs, calves, and ankles. This will enable you to have greater power and strength in your muscles while running. The poses will also stretch and tone your hamstrings, arches, and legs, making you less likely to injure yourself.
This DVD is divided into 3 parts: A warm up section, the main practice, and a cool down section. You may do the warm up either before running, or before completing the rest of the practice. If you choose to go running after the warm up, you can simply skip ahead to the cool down section when you get back.
Runners like a challenge, so there are a few poses in this practice which you may find challenging, particularly if yoga is new to you. Do not be discouraged by the challenge, but, at the same time, do not force yourself beyond what you are ready to do. Listen to your body. It knows what it is ready for. Give yourself time, and modify the poses as necessary. You may wish to have a yoga strap or a hand towel nearby, as well as a chair and a yoga block or other sturdy item. Be sure to practice on a mat for stability.
Thank you for choosing this DVD. Enjoy your practice, and I sincerely hope it will help your running experience, as it has helped mine.
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Back then, I was a yoga newbie - but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to do the poses (with some modifications, if need be) and get the desired benefits. Ann isn't joking when she says that eventually you'll be able to get into some of the more complicated poses...I'm getting there, but it does take time. "Be patient with yourself, your body knows what it is ready to do". Indeed!
I have a few other yoga/pilates DVDs which move SO fast and are SO confusing and because of that, they sit in a cabinet...unused. I use this DVD every time I go for a run (the warm-up and cool-down sections), and twice a week I do the entire program. I love it. I've been particularly attuned to noticing that the parts that should be stretched are actually being stretched...which does help with form.
Like others have mentioned, there's nothing quite as jarring as being blown out of relaxation pose at the end by earnest pleas to help women in the Congo, and that we should all be grateful for what we have. I just now know to have the remote control nearby towards the end of the program. :)
It is pretty good, there is enough challenge to keep it interesting, but not so much that I spend my time rewinding the stream to figure out what is going on.
Defanitely noticed a difference from using it.
One complaint, during the relaxation pose at the end (you know - the part were you just lay there and drift away a little bit) the VO starts talking about women in Africa and how their life is hard and stuff. I mean, that's cool that she has social conscience, but it's not good timing in my humble oppinion. I honestly don't want to hear it every time, so I've learned to stop the dvd at that point. -.-
a. I saw notable improvement in my flexibility six months after starting to use this DVD, and I continue to benefit from regular use of this DVD, which I alternate with Zyrka Landwijt's DVDs for beginners and intermediate practitioners of yoga. (I haven't tried other DVDs specifically for runners, but Ester Eckhardt and Sadie Nardini have fabulous short "yoga for runners" clips on YouTube.)
Some other reviewers have expressed dismay about a claim or two in this DVD, the uneven surface on which Ann demonstrates poses, and the plea at the end of the practice to help women in the Congo. I don't know enough to evaluate what information might be incorrect, or what poses could be done more effectively. But I do know that I'm stronger and more flexible than before, that I'm too focused on breathing and maintaining my balance to be distracted by Ann, and that I know to turn the volume down in the final resting pose.
b. My technical issue with the scene selections has (for whatever reason) been resolved by playing the DVD on my laptop instead of a DVD player.
Ann's delivery is a little too gentle and New Age-y for my spouse, who prefers Sadie Nardini's more forthright style, but this DVD has been great for me, a beginning runner and absolute neophyte when it comes to yoga (though I've done several other forms of body movement).
Ann's very helpful with guidance about breathing and safe posture, what muscles are being stretched or strengthened, and what kinds of modifications/props will make poses easier or more challenging.
I have two insignificant reservations, the second of which I may need to update once I've practiced another few months:
1. The DVD is supposedly set up to allow a runner either to practice the entire sequence of poses, or to do the warm-up, go run (skipping the main workout), and finish up with the cool-down. But visually, it's very hard to tell from the menu which button to select to get to Scene Selections, so I always spend a minute or two fumbling with the remote.
2. I've only used the DVD twice a week for a month, so I haven't yet seen improvement in my flexibility. But I'm getting better at keeping my balance during some of the trickier poses, so I'll trust that Ann's right when she says to be patient and not force things.
My only issues are 1)it seems a bit pricey for a 57 minute DVD that is copied as people buy it and 2) the guilt trip at the end about starving children in Africa. I too care about the poverty there, but at the end of my relaxing cooldown is not the best time to be reminded. Still, I give it 5 stars as the nuts and bolts of the exercises are what I was looking for.