Yoga for Runners –
a Review of the Runners Yoga Program
If you have been looking for a yoga for runners routine, or for any other sport for that matter, then the Runners Yoga program (opens new window) developed by Canadian yoga teacher Van Clayton Powel might be just the thing for you.
I always keep an eye out for new books or dvds and came across this whilst doing some research on yoga and sport. It caught my attention enough to order it, and I knew that if it turned out to be rubbish I could get my money back.
So is it any good?
Well, it claims to offer a comprehensive, challenging 30 minute yoga session that will help athletes and sportsmen with strength, balance, posture and flexibility. All this plus helping with cardiovascular strength and mental focus. It also helps protect against common injuries runners often pick up in the knees and ankles.
To be honest you can get all of this from any good dynamic yoga routine, but what intrigued me about this were a couple of points. Firstly, the fact that this yoga for runners routine is just 30 minutes long, and secondly that the mp3 file of the yoga sequence has a specific beat and breathing cues to help you as you go through it.
Once I had downloaded the materials I printed off the book that comes with the program, and have to admit to being pleasantly surprised. I had half-expected a basic collection of articles and general information like so many disappointing e-books I’ve seen in the past.
But the Runners Yoga book is actually really good. In fact if it was available in a store then I would probably buy it.
The level of detail in the photographs of the postures is very comprehensive. Every part of getting into the posture is illustrated, not just the final pose, so it’s great for yoga beginners and also is a good reminder for the more experienced amongst us.
When I sat down to read the yoga for runners material I was pleased that it wasn’t pushy. The writing style is encouraging and Van stresses over and over again the importance of respecting your body and working with it rather than trying to force it to conform to a photograph on a page.
The style of writing is engaging and friendly, and it’s clear that the author knows what he is talking about.
Sequence of Yoga Poses
The yoga for runners routine starts of in the style of an Astanga yoga sequence. This offers a dynamic, flowing sequence of asanas (yoga poses) held together by a powerful breathing technique which helps build power and strength in the body.
A regular routine will take over 1 hour, but this has been stripped back to the essentials to fit into 30 minutes.
Very quickly the body gets warmed up and you then work through a number of classic yoga poses. Despite being a compact routine, I found it ticked all of the boxes, every major muscle group is worked and the entire body receives the benefits. There is enough variation to keep you interested which is essential in a good routine.
The Runners Yoga mp3 yoga routine
I personally enjoy following yoga instruction. Every now and again I play a dvd or audio for a bit of variety. It also takes away the tendency to rush particular poses as you just follow the pacing of the teacher.
This audio here is enjoyable and the beat that has been added encourages a very present state as the mind settles into it. The audible cues (in the form of subtle chime) help give consistency and direction to the breath.
It’s also a challenging routine and by the end of it you know you have had a good workout. Van’s voice is easy to listen to and the instruction is clear, precise and encouraging.
I normally prefer a longer yoga session, but the demands of the day may not always allow that. I bought this in late 2009 when my daughter was six weeks old, when time (and rest) was precious. But it was easy to get my yoga mat on the floor and give myself a half-hour yoga session knowing that I would be getting a comprehensive yoga workout yet would soon be free and ready to do the next diaper change.
Runners Yoga is definitely worth taking a look at. Although the routine is compact it offers an enjoyable and effective workout, and the written materials are clear and well-illustrated. I think it will appeal to more than runners. You can check it out at Runners Yoga (opens new window).