Today was all about yoga. Mostly I practice what my body asks for. If it needs a rest, I give it some slow Yin yoga. If my lower back needs some attention, I do a lot of forward bends and lateral flexion and if my upper body likes to spice up things, I do a Vinyasa Flow (power) yoga class. As a runner I think it’s very important to listen to your body. And as somebody who knows an injury is never far away, because of my flat feet, I make it a priority.
But today wasn’t about listening to my body. Today was about listening to our La Scimmia Yoga film schedule and that asked for a Yin yoga class and a Vinyasa Flow yoga class with Pincha Mayurasana as peak pose. In other words; some sweet recovery and some power, combined with chest openers. Both are actually very nice classes for runners.
Healthy connective tissue
Although I have to admit, Yin yoga might be something you have to get used to. It focuses on keeping your meridians and your connective tissue healthy. Your ligaments and tendons need to be stretched as well. But, very, very softly and only a little.
As ligaments and tendons are not very flexible, those stretches don’t feel very nice. Especially in the beginning. Maybe it’s a bit like drinking beer. The first one you ever drank, didn’t taste that good, but now, after a long run….
Pain and more pain
The first time I did Yin, was in India. Somewhere in 2009 or 2010, I think. I went to Goa to do a Yoga Teacher Training Course in Ashtanga Yoga. A few times a week, we did Yin yoga in the afternoon as recovery. I still remember the first class. I only felt pain and more pain and my only thought was: ‘Never again’.
But the next morning my body felt pretty good. So I gave it another try with the same effect, and I slowly learned that Yin yoga isn’t something that feels nice, when you do it, it feels nice after you’ve done it.
Twelve years forward in time, it now even feels good when I am doing Yin yoga. I think my tendons, ligaments and the rest of my connective tissue has become a lot more flexible. My tendons felt like bones in the past . They now have some suppleness to them. They are also a lot more forgiving. In the past, I would have tendon injuries in no time. So far, in my second running life, they are doing good. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that it stays that way.