Health/Fitness :: Fitness

Yoga Made Easy

by Kyle Washburn
Health & Fitness Editor
Sunday Apr 29, 2012
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As a runner, cyclist, triathlete, and all around sport playing and gym going man, I have had my fair share of injuries. Luckily nothing major and no surgeries or significant time away from the activities I love. However, tightness persists throughout my body, even as I stretch almost daily.

So I decided to give yoga a whirl again. I had done it in the past, but it just seemed hard to fit into my daily routine. Yet the difference this time is that I am using techniques from Sage Rountree’s book "The Runner’s Guide to Yoga: A Practical Approach to Building Strength and Flexibility for Better Running."

These poses target typical runner trouble spots (think tight hamstrings, calves, IT bands, hip flexors, and even ankles, not to mention the upper back), which lead to more fluid running. This also eases up the muscles from rigorous and repeated strength training or other endurance and cardiovascular activities.

In "The Runner’s Guide to Yoga," Rountree draws on her years of coaching and yoga instruction experience to offer runners and athletes a safe and simple way to gain the benefits of yoga, even if they have never set foot in a yoga studio.

Entering your first or even hundredth yoga class can be intimidating. You are never sure of the poses, their names, what type or style is best for you, and if you are doing it right. Just looking at others never ensures you are holding or executing the pose correctly. At times you are not even sure where you should be feeling the stretch or strengthening area.

Luckily, Rountree comes to the rescue. The book is filled with color photos of actual runners, offers clear guidance, and easy-to-follow routines. By highlighting over 100 of the best yoga poses for runners, Rountree lays out focused routines that ease tightness in the hamstrings and hips, strengthen the core, build strength and flexibility throughout the body, and speed recovery from minor injuries.

"These poses relax muscles from rigorous and repeated strength training or other endurance and cardiovascular activities."

You will learn dynamic warm-ups and cool downs, poses that target typical trouble spots, self-tests to determine areas of weakness or imbalance, and meditative exercises to sharpen mental focus. That is what yoga is all about . . . stretching, elongating, strengthening, easing aches and pains, and offering a clear and focused mind during and after a session.

Millions of people practice yoga. Check out "The Runner’s Guide to Yoga" to get started, ease your concerns, and get into the healthy habit of yoga. Your running, athleticism, body, and mind will thank you.

"The Runner’s Guide to Yoga: A Practical Approach to Building Strength and Flexibility for Better Running" is now available in bookstores, running shops, and online. Learn more and download a sample at www.velopress.com.

Sage Rountree is a Yoga Alliance Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher and holds coaching certifications from the Road Runner’s Club of America and USA Triathlon. Rountree is a faculty member of the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health and is co-owner of Carrboro Yoga Company. Her popular yoga classes draw all levels of athletes from fitness walkers to Ironman(r) triathletes and Olympians.

An accomplished age-group triathlete and runner, she has been a member of the Power Bar Team Elite since 2008. She is a regular contributor to Runner’s World, Yoga Journal, Triathlete, USA Triathlon, and Competitor magazines. Rountree is author of "The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga," "The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga," and "The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery." For more information, please visit www.sagerountree.com.

VeloPress publishes books for cyclists, triathletes, and runners on training, nutrition, and the histories and personalities of endurance sports. For more information, please visit www.velopress.com.

Kyle Washburn is the National Health and Fitness Editor at Edge Publications, Inc. He earned a BS in Physiology, M.Ed in Sport Psychology and Counseling and an MBA. He is a certified personal trainer through NASM and ACE and has been training for over ten years. He is an avid triathlete, softball and tennis player, runner, hiker and enjoys the outdoors.

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