I was walking through the mall today. Not a fan, so this is enough to make me crabby. I saw a sign in a store to remain unnamed advertising “Yoga for Runners.” I am now a bit more crabby.
Most of the Yoga for Athletes crap that is out there is mostly bogus. “Let me show you this stretch for your tight IT Band. Here is how to stretch your hamstrings.” STOP. JUST STOP. Individuals that are involved in sport need to take very specific care of their bodies. NEVER STRETCH SOMETHING THAT HURTS. I cannot be more clear here. If you have an injury, this is injured tissue. You should not tug and pull on injured tissue. That will only cause more damage. As an athlete you will never, ever stretch your way to health. So STOP. And stop now.
What will make you healthy is proper movement, mobility, and appropriate range of motion. You cannot engage in sport if you cannot move appropriately. When we continue to engage is sport without appropriate range of motion, we get injured. This is when most athletes walk in my door. The good news is that you can heal while you train.
I get very protective of my athletes and athletes in general. It is very easy for someone to dress up yoga and claim it is Yoga for Runners, athletes, whatever. NOT TRUE. Also, Yoga for Runners/Athletes is NOT, I repeat is NOT athletic yoga. Athletes need recovery and mobility. Most do not to get “athletic” in a yoga class. And frankly if one is looking for a rigorous form of yoga I would advise a good Ashtanga or Power Yoga practice.
I am going out on a limb here…. And it is a safe sturdy limb when I say this. I am the only one in my area that TRULY teaches an appropriate and specific Mobility & Yoga for Athletes class. I am also trained to teach this class. Check your trainers credentials! It’s a small world, I know the yoga teachers in my area. No one offers what I do. I’d love to be wrong here. There needs to be more teachers that will appropriately address those engaging in sport. Specifically we need mobility, flexibility, and range of motion. This is not to say that there are not yoga classes that will benefit you as an athlete. But, again, I know of only a handful of local individuals that are trained specifically in mobility and yoga that is specific to the athlete.
What you will get in my class:
I have been teaching Mobility and Yoga for Athletes for roughly 10+ years. I learn every day. I did not teach myself. And I will never stop learning, Each one of my teachers has taught me something very specific and I have blended this knowledge into a practice. Please look at the list below for my teachers.*
I teach my weekly class at Fleet Feet West Hartford, Sunday's 5:30p. I am grateful to this local running store for allowing me the space to develop my technique. We have also created a very safe space for our athletes. I encourage talking, questions, and laugher during class. It is interactive. I might have ideas about what I will teach. But the specific mobility work, poses, and sequencing comes from the needs of those that are in class. I teach what is needed.
*My teachers, listed in chronological order:
Barbara Ruzansky, owner of West Hartford Yoga. Barbara’s Power Yoga Teacher Training was my first certification. She taught me about power yoga and flow. The piece that I carry with me every day is alignment. Barb teaches me how to teach my athletes proper alignment. It’s great that you can go so deep into a yoga pose, but when your body is not aligned when you are doing it you are hurting yourself.
Sarah Powers, Yin Yoga. Sarah taught me the power of the balance of the Yin and the Yang of life. I learned how to use longer holds with less intense poses. I have found that athletic bodies respond best to these longer holds.
Sage Rountree, Yoga for Athletes. Sage was my first direct training in teaching athletes yoga. We worked with the University of North Carolina Tarheels football team. I know NOTHING about football. However, Sage taught me how each position calls for a different body type. And teaching a linebacker is going to be totally different from teaching a kicker. I learned how to truly access bodies, injuries, strengths, and personalities.
Jill Miller, Yoga Tune Up. I have not trained directly with Jill however; I have studied her work for years. A friend once referred to Jill’s yoga as “yoga for smart girls.” Jill is a physical therapist. Her yoga is truly targeted at physiological needs of the muscles, skeletal system, fascia, and connective tissue.
Kelly Starrett, MobilityWOD. I have not trained directly with Kelly. I have studied his work extensively. His approach is very similar to Jill Miller’s. We target the fascia and the connective tissue and ensure proper mobility and from this point comes proper movement with alignment.