“Yoga for Runners is a class designed for runners by a lifelong runner who happens to be a yoga teacher. We strengthen muscles that runners need for stability and support, we stretch what gets tight, and learn manual release work to give our muscles and joints some relief.” The last line of the class description really got me. It said that the class was designed for runners but any athlete was welcome! I am pretty much always looking for yoga classes that are designed to open you up so when I read this class description, I knew I had to try it.
Mala Yoga is one of those studios that just shouldn’t feel as awesome as it does. A simple one room space with very minimal decorations on the second floor of a busy Brooklyn street, it is one of the warmest, most welcoming studios I’ve ever been to. After checking in and setting up my mat, I snuck a peek at the people who looked like they came to the class alot and grabbed the same props that they had gotten. I am always excited by classes with yoga props, since I figure I need all of the help I can get! For this one, we got a tennis and golf ball, 2 blocks, 2 blankets and a strap. Before the class started, Steph made her way around the room to check in with everyone. As she stopped by my mat, I sheepishly told her I didn’t really run at all, mostly did CrossFit and Spinning but that I have a case of Planter Fasciitis. I felt a little like I had snuck into a class I didn’t belong in, but as she talked to me she rubbed my foot and told me where I should start rolling on the golf ball that I had gotten and told me that ALL athletes were welcome. Tight hips are tight hips. I immediately relaxed and was completely smitten with Steph for her openness and caring for helping everyone – even us non-runners.
As the class started, Steph told us that this is NOT a Vinyasa class, and it so isn’t. One of my very favorite moves happened right away – rolling our calves out on a tennis ball that was placed on a block. It was ridiculously yummy. I knew from that first moment that I was in the right place. We did hip openers, side stretches, hamstring releases and as we went through, Steph would call out what different issues each pose would help with… all based on what people in the class had said were things they were dealing with. In each pose, she was also amazing about adjusting people into the right spot so that they could get the most out of the move. A good adjustment means the world and a couple of times, I almost cried with joy as she moved me gently into the right spot. The class FLEW by and honestly, by the time we hit the last pose, a shavasana twist with our legs up the wall, I was blissed out and more open then I’d been in MONTHS.
I would recommend this class for any athlete but runners should be there EVERY single week. It was seriously heavenly and I can’t wait to go back -Steph has really created something magical…