Yoga for Runners, by Christine Felstead

‏In the early eighties, I began carving out a journey filled with marathons and other common road race distances. And despite my commitment to always live life like there is no finish line, the final destination was the one thing all these races had in common.

‏I ran faithfully with the Metro Central Silver Runners and was actively involved in leading fitness and aerobic classes. While I was merely a recreational (read: non-competitive) runner, my passion for it was hardcore, my running ethic inspired by the US Postal Service’s mantra; “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor gloom on night.” Like many runners, my thoughts of stretching were mostly non existent and I began to collect injuries, mainly in the hips and hamstrings. My running buddies and I flocked to a series of miracle workers — the chiropractors, RMTs, acupuncturists and any other professional bodyworkers who I could count on to treat my chronic tightness and pain without telling me to stop running.

‏I could run for hours, yet I had trouble bending over to tie my shoes. Gradually I noticed my posture too was suffering from my commitment to a running-only program. By 1996, complimenting my running practice with a yoga practice wasn’t just logical, it was necessary.

‏Even though yoga was initially secondary to my running, I was amazed at how quickly I started to feel changes in my body. I became stronger and less prone to injury. As I deepened my yoga practice, I started to feel like I was in someone else’s body. I felt lighter on my feet, my posture was improving, my breathing deeper. This was the turning point that made me trade in my running shoes for a yoga mat.

‏In 2001, as I studied to become a yoga instructor, I was advised to teach what I know. What I knew was tight bodies. I put together my Yoga for Runners Workshop, promoted it to many of my running friends and it became an instant hit! Since that first workshop in 2002, I have had the pleasure of working with thousands of runners across Canada and internationally, through workshops and teacher trainings, and reached countless others with my instructional DVDs and book (now translated into Spanish).

‏My teaching incorporates my personal experiences, focussing on alignment and increasing the range of motion in the body. Inspired by my love of running, my work with runners aims to keep students healthy and on the road, so each of us can continue to enjoy our journey, no finish line in sight.