By Faye Martins
Many yoga instructors teach in a variety of locations, but it takes time to realize all of the possibilities of places where one could teach. When you learn how to become a yoga teacher, the head trainer’s emphasis is usually placed on technique. This is a very good policy, but many new graduates have no information about where to start Yoga classes.
Running clubs, athletic clubs, and country clubs for golfers are usually an after thought. If you are a yoga teacher training graduate, you have to look at all of the possibilities. The local ashram or studio isn’t the only place where one can find yoga classes. As a yoga instructor, you need to reach out to runners, tennis players, golfers, and every potential possibility.
Asanas for Runners
The practice of Yoga and running go hand-in-hand. Unless you are very skilled and strong in your Yoga practice, it may be difficult to maintain your heart rate at an aerobic level throughout your practice. By combining Yoga and running or another vigorous aerobic activity like walking or swimming, you will gain all of the benefits of a regular Yoga practice, in addition to the cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercise. Running can be difficult on the muscles, joints and tendons because of the repetitive nature of the activity and the hard surfaces that many of us run on. A regular practice of Yoga poses can be a great way of maintaining the health and flexibility of your muscles, joints and ligaments, in order to keep you in top running condition.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Facing Dog is one of the fundamental Yoga poses. It stretches out the entire backside of your legs as well as releasing tension throughout your upper back, neck and shoulders. This pose is particularly effective at stretching out the calves and the Achilles’ tendons, areas which are often vulnerable to injury during a run. To practice Downward Facing Dog, come to a standing position at the front of your Yoga mat. Place your hands flat on your mat approximately shoulder-distance apart from each other. Step your feet several feet towards the back of your mat until your body makes an inverted “V” shape. Distribute your weight evenly between your feet and your hands. Breath deeply and fully as you sink your heart into the pose. If your calves and Achilles’ tendons are tight, you may wish to slowly peddle your feet. When your are ready to come out of the pose, step your feet forward with your next inhale and return to Mountain Pose at the top of your Yoga mat.
Preparation for Lord of the Dance Posture (Dancers Pose or Natarajasana)
This Yoga asana stretches out the entire front side of the body. It is also very effective for releasing tension in the front of the thighs, an area that can become quite contracted from running. To practice Dancer Pose, stand at the top of your Yoga mat and take a few deep breaths. With your next inhale, shift the weight of your body to your left foot and raise your right foot behind you as your grasp the outside of your right ankle with your right hand. Raise your left arm up towards the ceiling with your left palm facing in. Slowly begin to push your right ankle against your right hand as you expand your chest. Raise your right leg as high as you can comfortably go without strain. Hold this position for several breaths. When you are ready to come out of the pose, gently release your right foot and place it back on your Yoga mat. Pause, and then repeat the pose on the left-hand side.
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