It’s been three days since I ran my first half-marathon, but I’m still riding high after such a great event. Although I’ve been feeling pretty sore, particularly in my left foot, I can’t help but smile every time I think about all that I accomplished on Sunday.
So what have I been doing the past few days while riding out my soreness? Stretching. Lots and lots of stretching.
I knew I wasn’t going to do much running this week because I ran the entire half-marathon. Throughout my training plan, I set myself up to use the run/walk method because I simply didn’t think I was ready to run 13.1 miles straight. Once I was at the race though, the energy from all of the women completely captivated me and pushed me through each and every mile. Not once did I feel like I desperately need to walk. In fact, when I did walk, I kept feeling the urge to pick up the pace and run again. It felt glorious.
But on the flip side, it meant I had some seriously sore feet after the race. My knees were killing me after the race too, but that pain subsided by Monday. By Tuesday, I was craving another workout but didn’t want to push my body past its limits. So what’s a girl to do?
Don’t get me wrong, I am not a yoga expert by any means, so I made sure to head to the class offered by my campus gym. These photos are just some additional stretches I did at home afterward. I don’t incorporate enough yoga into my exercise routine and I really need to get into it more often. After all, it improves my running and lets me do cool things like this:
It felt fantastic to stretch out my muscles so well after running for such a long distance. My muscles were praising me afterward, much like they did after I took a class at Strala Yoga. I’m still very much a novice, so I can only hope to one day bend like Tara Stiles.
For now, I’ll keep trying to touch my toes some more. And I’ll always make sure to fit in my all-time favorite corpse pose.
It has quite a morbid name, but it feels oh-so-good.
Are you, like me, new to yoga? Or more of an expert? Ever given it a shot? I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on it, and any tips to stretch me out some more!
Strala Yoga has made an appearance on The Pulse before, but after chatting with fellow bloggers about the place, I decided it was time to test it out again. Although I loved the “Strong” class the first time, it didn’t convince me to pick up yoga on a regular basis. I definitely incorporated it into my workout routine more often, but only when I happened to be available during a class. I never purposely made time for it.
Tara Stiles’ “Relax” class, however, may have changed my mind. I headed over to the new studio at 632 Broadway tonight and prepped myself mentally for a session that was sure to be filled to capacity. Originally, I was going to meet up with Jess from Fit Chick in the City, but unfortunate circumstances kept her from joining me. Despite the initial rush of anxiety that I felt in the elevator, I forged ahead and I’m glad I did. I felt immediately welcomed the minute I stepped through the glass doors and my fears subsided as I settled in the dimly-lit room amongst the numerous yogies.
The new studio is beautiful with plenty of room to stretch without feeling like you’re stepping on toes — but like I assumed, the class was full. Stiles is rising in fame every day and everyone wants to get their om on with the well-known teacher. Who wouldn’t when you can take a class for only $10? I was even offered a deal to take an unlimited number of classes for a week for the ultra-low price of $20 because I hadn’t been to the new studio before. Talk about a deal! If I was in NYC long enough, I definitely would’ve signed up.
The poses Stiles took us through weren’t extremely challenging, yet they worked my muscles enough for me to really enjoy every move. She fluidly instructed us from pose to pose, yet also allowed time for us to do our own thing and move the way our bodies wanted to. The calming music connected with the high points in the class, with the volume increasing when we were set free to listen to our bodies, focus on breathing and move through poses that felt best. By the end, I was thoroughly relaxed, invigorated and happy. My body was humming its thanks for such a glorious workout.
If you have a chance, head over and reap the benefits yourself. But if you’re not in NYC, consider buying Stiles’ book, Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga. I got it as a Christmas present and like what I see so far!
How ’bout you? Are you a yoga fan or gym rat? Tell me what you love about both!
Many people, myself included, take the term “group exercise class” very seriously. Meaning, I don’t go unless I have a friend tagging along. Call me crazy, but I need to have that moral support when I’m exercising in front of a group of strangers and the instructor can zero in on me at any second. I know from working at a gym that most instructors don’t judge (unless you show up to spinning class in cutoff jeans and hiking sneakers), but you never know about the other participants.
If you’re like me, then you’ll understand why I dragged my best friend, Liz, to a new yoga class when she came to visit me in NYC. After arriving at 42nd Street at 12:30a.m. on a Friday night, you’d think I’d let her snag some extra shut-eye the next day, right? Wrong. We were up bright and early to head to Tara Stiles’ Strala Yoga in NoHo.
Now, before you start thinking I’m a huge yoga guru, let me make it clear that yoga has never been on the top of my priority list (same goes for Liz). I usually forget to stretch before and after my workouts (I know it’s important; I’m getting better, I promise!), so contorting my body into various positions and holding them peacefully is not one of my strengths. But I’m here to give you the scoop, so I knew it was time to give it a shot. Not to mention I didn’t want to miss a chance to work out with one of the most prominent yoga instructors in the nation.
Although the “Strong” class is normally an hour and 15 minutes long, I was only there for 45 minutes (due to unexpected subway construction) and I still got a sweat-inducing, muscle-blasting workout. Tara took us through a variety of poses that didn’t just stretch the muscles. We did core, leg and butt exercises that really strengthened the muscles as well. By the end, my tank top was drenched with sweat.
Tara was also extremely nice and helpful with each class participant. She corrected my form when necessary, as a good instructor should, but she didn’t point it out to the rest of the class. In the middle of a pose, she quietly walked over and adjusted my body. And to make things less embarrassing, she cracked a joke and always had a bright smile. Her husband, Michael Taylor, was also extremely welcoming. It was jaw-dropping to see him do many advanced yoga poses despite already knowing that he has studied and practiced Eastern movement and healing techniques for over two decades.
Although all these things are great, I haven’t even gotten to the best part: the price. Yoga classes in NYC are typically $20 per class and can be close to $300 a month if you’re a regular goer. But Strala Yoga offers a unique, affordable opportunity: $10 a class.
“I want to make yoga affordable for everyone so that it can be something that’s easily integrated into everyday life,” Stiles told me after class. “We make the classes enjoyable and affordable, so we always have people coming back for more.”
Sounds good to me.
This really could be the best deal around. So if you’re in NYC, pick up your yoga mat (or rent one there for $2) and head over to Strala Yoga. Look for me while you’re there — I’ll probably be the girl near the back trying to accomplish the basic Eagle Pose.