Class review: Yoga for Runners

Yoga for Runners taster session, by yogalustco
Location: Run and Become, Cardiff. CF10 1DX
NB: I was not asked to write this review and attended the class of my own volition.

Cardiff-based yoga teacher Lisa James of yogalustco held a free taster session at Run and Become on St Mary's Street, Cardiff, in the run-up to a new weekly course at the store. I went along to try it out...

A bit of back-story first:

Lately, my yoga practice has been missing its oompf. It's bhoga. The buzz that would get me up and rolling out my yoga mat come what may. It's safe to say running has been pretty much ruling my life lately. Not a bad thing, but I was looking for balance. My days of daily 5am practice may be over (for now), but I was longing for the comfort of a yoga routine that worked with my other commitments.

Searching for something new in my yoga practice

So this class was a chance to tickle my taste buds again, find a new dimension to my yoga while satisfying my love of running.

I rocked up at the Run and Become store in the city centre to find it was closed. A woman was standing on the other side of the door, letting fellow yogi students in; the main floor of the shop had been turned into a yoga studio, with about ten mats in the middle of the floor. It was an unusual set-up but I loved it: if you're into yoga and you're into running, a yoga session while surrounded by all the latest running gear and beautiful trainers worked in perfect harmony.

The Run and Become store regularly holds a range of events, from talks to techniques - and now yoga classes. 

The setting was remarkably peaceful, for such a central location on a busy city street. There was something soothing about seeing glimpses of the sunny outside world through the large window lined with trainers, and listening to the muffled sounds of urban life. Inside, everything was calm and dim and cosy. 

Lisa, who runs yogalustco, was amazing. Her soothing voice is made for teaching yoga and she had infinite patience and calmness. 

The class was accessible for anyone at different stages of yoga. You could be a complete beginner and feel comfortable and assured, or an experienced yogi looking for a different kind of course. 

Yoga for Runners does what it says on the tin. It's a specially-designed course by Lisa, a runner herself, which targets problem areas while strengthening all those bits that make us better runners. 

When we talk about problem areas, think hips. This was a key area of focus in Lisa's taster session, for obvious reasons: the repetitive motion of running tightens all sorts of muscles, but if we don't maintain a good range of movement, starting at the hips, we're on a downward spiral of niggles and potential injury. 

When we talk about strength, think core. Lisa's other key focus. This goes hand-in-hand with hip mobility, really, as a strong core means stable hips. We did a great exercise which was a simple and effective way of establishing whether we were engaging our core. I'm still using this tip back at home, before I go for a run. 

So the session covered a range of 'hip-opening' poses, core work and improving range of motion. That evening, as I walked back to the car, I felt an immediate improvement in my posture and how I walked. It felt like someone had replaced my heavy, tight hips with brand new ones, light as air. 

Before the session came to a close, Lisa's third focus was to embrace the calm, the energy, and the meditative nature of yoga. For many, anything that borders on spiritualism or 'energy forces' is off-putting, preferring to see yoga as another cross-training exercise that may benefit their running. That's absolutely fine, and Lisa made the session accessible and appealing to everyone, whatever they felt or thought. For me, it's my favourite part.

Most runners will identify running as a way to meditate, to find calm and inner peace. To me, yoga is an extension of that. Like running, yoga makes us aware of our bodies and how they move. It brings us into the moment. Lisa gave us the opportunity to recognise, observe and enjoy that moment.

Thanks to Lisa of yogalustco and staff at the Run and Become store for providing a free taster session.

Weekly classes start on Tuesdays with yogalustco at the Run and Become store in May. Sign up here. 

Find out more about yogalustco here.


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