WHY YOGA AND RUNNING?

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Yoga is also about much more than breathing and relaxing (though these are also essential!). Yoga can make you stronger, build a better core, and help correct preexisting imbalances in your body. This translates to less injuries and faster, more consistent running.

Watch Ann's TED talk, "Do Yoga Run Faster," here:

 

Yoga provides a useful time-out from the competitiveness required by running as a sport. For the often intense environment of athletics, a yoga practice offers profound benefits: increased body awareness, strength, flexibility, reduced stress, and an ability to coordinate movement with breath. Yoga is all about listening to your body at a particular moment, breathing, doing what is best for you and your body right then. Rather than paying attention to distractions outside yourself, yoga is a chance to direct attention inward during a specific moment. This focus carries over to running itself—letting you actually be more competitive because you’ve taken a moment to let yourself relax, but also because you are generally more attuned to what is going on in your body. This skill can clearly help prevent injuries, in addition to the general increase of flexibility and strength that comes with a yoga practice. 

Athletes involved in sports built on the efficiency of repetitive movements, such as running, have even more to gain from yoga.  Repetitive motions can reinforce existing imbalances in the body, and make the body tighter and more developed in some areas than others. Many runners find that as their mileage increases, or they run more intense or hillier workouts, they become tighter.  Ann brings efficient yoga and stretching routines to her students in order to allow them to maximize their athletic potential. (Con't. below: About Ann.)

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About Ann.

Ann is a 200 hour RYT with Yoga Alliance, certified at the wonderful Yoga H’Om in Pittsburgh, PA. She is also a serious runner, who specialized in the 5k/10k while running for the University of Notre Dame.  Ann earned her Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Virginiain 2014.  While in her graduate program, she taught more than 570 yoga classes while continuing to run and race.  She believes her training and background in English literature helps her communicate more effectively as a yoga teacher.  Ann is very happy to be able to pursue both a career in academia and her goal of bringing more yoga to the running community!

Ann grew up competing in the endurance sports of running and swimming. During her sophomore year in high school, Ann decided she was tired of being known as the “not flexible one” amongst the girls in her family—both her mom and sister were competitive gymnasts—and started stretching daily. This early stretching-related body awareness paid off later when Ann ran track and cross country for Notre Dame. While running for ND’s competitive Division I program, Ann soon learned that stretching not only helped her stay uninjured and feel much smoother while running, but that it also made her a faster runner. As a walk-on to Notre Dame, Ann went on to earn All Big-East and NCAA All-Region honors in cross country. She typically stretched for at least an hour a day while running collegiately, and enjoyed figuring out stretches that most helped runner-specific tightness. During her senior year, her college coach put her in charge of leading the women’s team stretching for every practice, leading to significantly fewer injuries team-wide. However, Ann has always loved helping her teammates and other runners learn stretches that most targeted and alleviated their particular tightness. As she knows from experience, an uninjured runner is a happy runner!

Ann began practicing yoga in 2005, and became a certified yoga teacher in 2009 with the goal of helping runners and athletes continue in the sports they love and to become injured less often! Since Fall 2009, she has accumulated over 800 hours of yoga teaching experience, through instructing University of Virginia students, faculty, and staff, and various running groups and camps.

In her spare time, Ann enjoys revising her book manuscript The Nineteenth-Century Home Theatre: Women and Material Space.  She also acts with the Victorian Theatrical Society, a graduate student-run group which she founded in 2009 and produces authentic Victorian parlour plays for academic conferences and the university community.  Ann was the 2014-2015 Shannon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Virginia. She is currently a Lecturer of English at UVa where she enjoys teaching courses on Victorian literature and academic writing.

Be sure to follow "runnersloveyoga" on Instagram for yoga and running tips and inspiration!