After I finished my marathon, I knew that my running would naturally wind down. I’m not that into running in the winter (the cold, the dark, the cold) and my weekly mileage is typically anywhere from 10-20 mpw. As someone with RIDICULOUSLY tight hips and hamstrings, I wanted to take advantage of this lull to get into yoga.
Luckily for me, there are several yoga studios very close to my apartment. I ended up going with Yoga Tree as they offer a variety of styles. It seems that most yoga studios in Toronto are bikram, vinyasa, or ashtanga. Personally I feel like I get more out of a gentle hatha class as I have trouble transitioning from pose to pose and I like to stay in a pose once I get there. Yoga Tree has the aforementioned yoga styles, but also offers restorative, gentle hatha, yin, and beginner flow classes. The studio is great! Very clean and it has a nice vibe. They have a deal where your first month is unlimited classes for $40 which is amazing.
This isn’t meant to be a pitch for Yoga Tree (although so far they are great and I would definitely recommend them). What I really want to talk about is how much I have fallen in love with yin yoga. Yin yoga is a style of yoga where you use props to support you in a pose (you feel the stretch in your joints and ligaments, but you shouldn’t be using your muscles to hold the pose, hence the props) for 3-5 minutes each. While you are holding the pose you meditate. At first I thought it sounded a little weird, but after my first class I was sold. Not only did my crazy tight hip flexors actually feel nice and open, I could feel the mental benefits, too. People talk about mental benefits from regular yoga classes and I never knew what they were talking about. I totally do now.
If you want to try yin yoga out, there are two free videos on doyogawithme.com.
This week the weather is a little nicer so I’m trying to bump up my running mileage in the AM, and go to yoga class 3-4 evenings a week.