For about 10 years I have been offering a Yoga for Runners Teacher Training Program. The first offering grew organically as colleagues approached me seeking help and suggestions on how to target a class for runners. One particular comment has stood out. One of my fellow yoga instructors commented one day: “How do you teach runners? They don’t listen.”
Other than putting a smile on my face, I realized there was a need to share my knowledge with fellow instructors. The program has evolved over the years to meet the ever changing dynamics of the yoga world. As running continues to break records for its popularity, the need for yoga instructors that understand the specific needs of runner is paramount. Sure, all yoga is good but its better when your time on your yoga mat brings you the best results.
As I have written about in a previous blog (read it here) yoga is not stretching, yet many people, students and yoga instructors alike, believe it is. Understandable, a tight body needs stretching. But regardless of degree of flexibility, balancing the strength is key. Through the training much time is spent on understanding the effect of running, which muscles are overused and which are underused and how to adapt the poses for maximum benefit.
Participants in the training have a very diverse background – yoga instructors, running coaches, massage therapists, chiropractors and even a medical doctor. The program is unique in a specialized field. Participants have come from afar – Greece, UK, Mexico, US and across Canada of course and are keen to bring their knowledge to their local communities.
A module in the program covers adapting yoga to suit other sports. With a better understanding of functional anatomy and deconstructing yoga poses to understand the balancing of strength and flexibility, trainees can easily adapt the knowledge. Other common sports have been hockey, tennis, figure skating, jumping hurdles.
It is imperative that a yoga instructor have their own yoga practice. Would you want a running coach that didn’t run? Participants have come from various styles of yoga and a range of yoga experience. As we work through a detailed analysis of the yoga poses in the curriculum, plenty of time is spent practicing them. This is an amazing experience for participants as they sometimes feel poses in a new way. When cued to contract specific muscles and fully engage in the pose, what at first seems more difficult becomes a deeper and more therapeutic effect.
Poses that we typically spend a lot of time on are downward dog (because it’s THE pose for runners!), chaturanga (yoga push-up), backbends and we always leave time for fun poses!
Yoga for Runners Teacher Training is a comprehensive program that I am delighted to deliver every year. I am truly honoured to share my knowledge and passion with others interested in bringing a style of yoga to their students that will have the desired therapeutic effect.