I’d like to share my recent story of success with Yoga in helping to overcome a long stretch of painful and frustrating running-related ailments.
I’ve tried Yoga classes at a few different places over the past half a dozen years or so. I tried some private studios and a couple of YMCA locations. I never really “got it” for several reasons. First, I don’t think I went into it with an open mind. I was encouraged to go by others and thought of it as some “stretching meets meditation” exercise. I didn’t understand anything about the poses and spent most of my time looking around to see what the instructor and others were doing and unsuccessfully attempting to twist my body into a shape that looked similar.
Fast forward to 2012. I run 10-15 miles per week during colder weather and work up to 20-25 miles per week in warmer weather when I’m preparing for some of the longer races such as half marathons. I’ve always had a stronger right side than left and it’s become more accentuated over the past couple of years. I’m occasionally told that I appear to be “favoring” my left side or “limping” and even “wobbling” during the Biltmore Estate 15k this year. For a long six-month spell my hamstrings were tight as drums and it made it difficult to run. The pain and stiffness even made it difficult to walk quickly or with a long stride. I tried rest, plenty of different stretching routines, a foam roller, active release technique performed by a chiropractor who treats many athletes, traditional chiropractic adjustments, laser therapy, magnesium supplements, deep tissue massage and ibuprofen. Nothing worked for me.
My wife Nancy learned about a Yoga instructor named Jane Grant through her sister, who was acquainted with Jane. Jane provides private instruction in a studio in her home. Would I be interested in trying a session to see if it could help? Sure. Why not?
A little about Jane (download her brochure here):
A session with me can help you feel more energized through better posture, stronger muscles, and a greater understanding of what your body is asking for. You will learn skills that are appropriate for pain management of any kind, depression, anxiety, auto immune and neurological disorders, arthritis, and the thousands of aches and pains that plague our lives.
The style of yoga I teach is an accepted adjunct to physical therapy, psychology, and integrative medicine. I invite you to come see what I have to offer you. I would suggest a private hour to start with so I can assess your specific needs. I have a small, very private studio in my home.
We had our first session in September of 2012 in Jane’s private studio in her home studio in Biltmore Forest. I liked Jane because she wasn’t perfect (sorry Jane) and she appeared to be very interested in my ailments and how to increase my mobility and achieve pain-free running. The small setting and focused approach (Jane the instructor teaching Nancy and me specifically to address the parts of my body that were troublesome) provided me with hope and a sense of progress immediately. I “got it” this time. We learned important poses in-depth with personalized coaching and adjustment to make sure that we were executing the poses correctly and using the proper breathing techniques. I began to feel improvement after the second session. I could detect a difference in pain, mobility, flexibility and even strength. As I understood more poses and what they did for my body I was able to perform my own routines (or “practice”) at home in between our weekly sessions. I could also attend group classes at the YMCA since I was familiar with most of the poses that would be included in such classes.
Within about five weeks my “bad” pain was gone and my “good” pain returned (the soreness from running more and running better). It felt good to run again. My hips feel more open and flexible, my stride feels longer, my quadriceps feel stronger and my pre-race Yoga practice is far better than the previous pre-race stretching routine. What’s most important is that I have a clear understanding of how Yoga can help me achieve greater strength, balance, focus and relaxation as an integral component in my training routine. I can’t imagine NOT having Yoga as part of my daily routine.