Starting November 7, Stretch Ya Brass is heading to Duncan Plaza for weekly outdoor yoga sessions. Led by Stephani Perin—certified yoga instructor and personal trainer who teaches at NOLA Yoga Loft, French Riviera Fitness and Franco’s on Magazine—the sessions will be held every Wednesday at 5:30 PM throughout the month.
Move Ya Brass talked with Perin about the benefits of yoga for runners and why they should add the practice to their workout regimens—starting with our all-levels Stretch Ya Brass series.
You Don't Have to Believe in the Woo-Woo
Some people shy away from yoga due to the spirituality aspect of the practice, but that won't be the case with Perin, who began practicing yoga for the athletic benefits.
While she initially sought to tone up and get herself some "yoga arms" when she began taking classes, she eventually discovered the "peace and awareness" she had been seeking. But that doesn't mean her teaching style is all spirituality all the time.
"For me it’s a way to bridge that gap for people who are looking to do yoga but are afraid of that woo-woo spiritual part of it," Perin explained. "I see myself as sort of that bridge between introducing people to yoga in a way that is technical and they get a good workout in, but then making that other part a little more accessible too. "
You're Already Doing it
Yoga isn't all contorted twists and gravity defying poses either. For many people, it's simply getting in a good stretch, which is something runners already do for recovery and to keep them "pliable and flexible" for their next run.
Some simple poses Perin pointed to that will help strengthen and lengthen are stretches runners are probably already benefitting from—they just don’t call it yoga.
Downward Facing Dog – a great universal pose to stretch out your Achilles tendon, calves and hamstrings.
High & Low Lunges—great for lengthening out your hamstrings and your quads.
Seated Butterfly—a "beautiful pose for runners especially for the inside of your thighs, your abductors and your hip flexors."
Since yoga is already at the base of your post-run process, Stretch Ya Brass can only help fine tune your form, further your knowledge and help deepen the benefits of yoga.
You'll Learn How to Breathe
The greatest gift Perin has received from yoga—as a runner—is learning how to breathe.
"Before I started doing yoga, I would get short of breath [when running] or I would struggle to keep oxygen flowing," she recalled. "In learning how to breathe with yoga—getting those nice steady inhales through your nose, nice steady exhales through your nose—it helps keep your heart rate steady. It helps your muscles and it helps with your endurance."
Opining that a lot of runners don't learn how to breathe properly, she recommended the yoga practice of conscious breathing.
"I'll inhale for a count of five, exhale for a count of five so it keeps my breath steady and that'll help keep your heart rate steady too," she explained. "I'll do things like that when I run. If my heart rate's getting out of control or I'm pushing too hard I can steady my heart rate by steadying my breath. That's what I mean by conscious breathing—paying attention to 'Am I breathing deep? Am I breathing shallow?' and then learning to control it."
There is no fee for the Stretch Ya Brass classes. Just show up and start flowing. There are even mats provided at no charge thanks to the Downtown Development District. So… there's nothing to lose.
And as Perin pointed out, while yoga is a good complement to running, “Yoga is for everybody whether you're a runner or not.”
Join us starting November 7!
Tell us your favorite thing about yoga or how you hope to benefit from it in the comments below!
- Lori Wilson