Best Yoga Stretches for Runners

Top 4 Yoga Stretches for Runners

Perfect for Injury Prevention, Improved Running Form and Recovery

These are post run yoga stretches or rest day stretches to add to your training regime. Running, even with the most efficient style, does put load, stress and strain on the body – but I get it you love it! So just make sure to add rejuvenating and injury preventing yoga postures and yoga stretches to your training at least once/week (ideally more). If you want to learn even more check out our Monthly Yoga for Runners Workshops in Southampton or the Online 7 Week Yoga for Runners Course.

Shin / Ankle Yoga Stretch for Runners

  1. Sitting back on your heels, bring your hands to the ground behind you
  2. Lean back and lift your knees up and as much of your shins as possible
  3. If you are tight in your ankles don’t worry if you don’t get much lift, it’ll improve over time

Runners Lunge – a Yoga Stretch

  1. A stretch for both the hamstrings and the hip flexors perfect for runners
  2. From kneeling step one leg forward, straighten the leg as much as possible (it’s ok to keep a little bend in the knee whilst your flexibility improves)
  3. Lift up the foot and toes of the front leg to also stretch your calf
  4. Keeping your spine long fold your chest forwards over the straight leg

Hip Flexor / Psoas Yoga Stretch for Runners

  1. From the above posture, bend your knee and place your foot on the floor
  2. Your knee is exactly above your ankle in the front leg
  3. Bring both hands to the floor on the inside of the front leg
  4. Slowly start to drop your back hip flexor lower to the ground as you lower your chest a little closer to the ground as well.
  5. Over time you can progress to placing your elbows on the floor

Quad / Hip Flexor Yoga Stretch for Runners

  1. From seated, carefully bend one leg back behind you and plant the other foot flat on the floor with your knee bent.
  2. As much as possible try to have even weight on both buttocks
  3. Bring first your hands to the ground behind you and gently lean back
  4. Over time lower down onto your elbow
  5. You must keep the bent knee on the floor
  6. Any pain in your knee come straight out of the posture

I hope that you give this yoga stretches for runners ago and enjoy incorporating them into your running training for less injuries, improved running form and recovery. We’d love to teach you more at either the Yoga for Runners Workshops on our Online Yoga for Runners Course.


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Is Yoga for You? 5 Surprising Fact for Yoga for Beginners

Thinking about starting yoga but not sure it’s for you? Read our Teacher, Gemma Witcomb’s advice.

SNHS-funnyyoga-crop

There are loads of misconceptions about yoga that stop people giving it a go and they are all just that, MISCONCEPTIONS!

These are not really helped by the world of social media, size 4 models in eye-watering poses that make the average person feel somewhat intimidated and self-conscious.

It gets easier once you realise that these are not a representation of real life. It’s advertising! Most people in a yoga class are just normal people, with busy lives, busy minds and bodies that have a whole range of aches and pains. Just like YOU!

People also worry about the spiritual side of yoga, the chanting, meditating etc. That might not be your thing! It’s true it is a big part of yoga, in fact the goal of yoga in its traditional form is to reach spiritual enlightenment. However, that was yoga studied with gurus over years of exclusive practice and in one class a week, reaching enlightenment might be more of a stretch than splits!

A yoga class will help you quiet the mind, deepen your breath, and begin to introduce you to some of the concepts of the traditional texts, but we are not here to preach. If you want to find out more, you can take a workshop, read a book and your teacher can guide you. It’s up to you where you take it, it’s not going to be forced on you.

Still not convinced? Have a look at my 5 Things Yoga Beginners Should Know to see if I can change your mind.

1) You don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. Lack of flexibility is the most common reason people give for not starting yoga. Whilst practising yoga will develop your flexibility, yoga is a just that, a practice. We practice the stretches to improve flexibility and strength. Everyone is different in different areas of their bodies and flexibility is not the goal, it’s a bonus!

2) A yoga class is a really friendly place. I know it can be daunting starting a new class but yoga is non-competitive, non-judgmental and encourages more openness and acceptance, both of yourself and others. You will find a real community of like-minded people within the yoga world. We are generally a super friendly bunch!

3) You don’t need specialist equipment. So you don’t have the latest brightly coloured leggings…who cares?! Yoga is not about what you look like, it’s about what’s going on inside. All you need are comfortable clothes you can move freely in, some layers to make sure you are warm during the relaxation at the end and that’s it! You may eventually want to purchase your own mat but your teacher will have some you can use to begin with.

4) You will always be able to modify the poses. Everybody is different and at the beginning you may need a modified posture to allow you to feel comfortable in the poses. That’s ok! When you first start yoga there can be challenges, you spend a lot of time putting weight on the hands, kneeling and doing things with your body that you haven’t done for years. You will always be encouraged to work with your body, to listen to it and modify poses. Like anything, it takes regular repetition to get stronger, more flexible and more in tune with yourself – it will come, be patient.

5) Your life will change! It’s a big claim, but if I didn’t believe it, I wouldn’t be teaching this amazing practice. It’s not just an exercise class. The ability to deepen and control your breath, find mental clarity and focus, freedom and ease in your body will spill over into your life. You will find it easier to deal with stress, have a restful night’s sleep, be more present, be kinder to yourself and more aware of what you really need to be the best possible version of yourself.

Have I convinced you?
If so try my 6-Week Beginners Yoga Course for the perfect way in, introducing you to all the basics and giving you the confidence you need. I can’t wait to start this journey with you. This Course is 09:30am Thursdays in Hedge End, starts Thurs 2nd March – email laura@lauragreenyoga.co.uk to book.


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Could Children’s Yoga Classes Help Your Kids Education?

Children's Yoga Classes Southampton

Education comes in all guises. We naturally assume the true experience of education is through schooling with the books and endless tests that are thrust upon our children. Some children rise to this sort of challenge and thrive while others get left behind, sink and struggle with this kind of one-size fits all system and this can knock their confidence for a lifetime. Could Children’s Yoga Classes support your child’s education?

We are seeing a huge rise in the popularity of kids yoga classes as a means of supporting our children’s development and informal education. Yoga helps children to explore and learn life skills in a non-competitive way as one of the true wonders of yoga is that it really does suit all. Southampton based Kids Yoga Teacher, Sally Webber, explains exactly how one of our Children’s Yoga Classes in Southampton could support your kid’s education.

How Yoga Helps Your Kids Education?

1) Children’s Yoga Classes provide a platform that nourish and educate both the mind and body together. Formal education tends to disconnect these two with a curriculum for physical education and a separate curriculum for academic studies and so the path is set for an ongoing divide of the two. A good mind body connection is essential for mental health; problems such as insomnia, anxiety and eating disorders stem from a mind body disconnect.

2) Yoga for Kids helps in the development of emotional intelligence as through a yoga practise children are encouraged to explore a wide spectrum of thoughts and feelings as they relate to themselves and others. Even more so children learn how to control emotions such as anger, frustration and nervousness through yoga breathing techniques.

3) Yoga develops creative intelligence as children’s imagination is enhanced by exploring creativity through movement – a physical theatre for children to learn in a fun and inspiring way during a Kids Yoga Class in Southampton.

4) We all have an understanding of how to exercise the body, but yoga exercises and strengthens the mind as well. Through willpower alone children (and adults) can’t sustain focus, our ability to focus and concentrate is like a brain muscle that can be trained. With the meditation techniques and yoga breathing exercises that are taught in our Children’s Yoga Classes in Southampton you’ll see how it improves overall concentration and calmness.

5) Yoga is about connection and unity. It teaches that everyone is the same whilst also being totally unique. In a Kids Yoga Class, children get to explore and develop their true personality, free of peer pressure and social media – they get to celebrate who they are!

We’d love you to see for yourself how yoga can support children’s education and development. We offer a fortnightly Kids Yoga Class in Southampton at Chilworth Village Hall, every other Sunday at 10am. Please came and join us and experience the fun and energetic world of children’s yoga. Please book in advance by emailing laura@lauragreenyoga.co.uk


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6 Ways Kids Benefit From Yoga?

Kids Yoga Southampon
Kids Yoga Southampton

What could be more fun than bringing to life imaginative stories through yoga postures? Tree, snake, half moon, mermaid, lion, dolphin, frog are just a few of the classical yoga postures that get weaved into stories during our Kids Yoga Classes in Southampton. There is no doubt that Kids Yoga is a fun way for your little one to spend an hour but in addition to fun the benefits are surprising . . .

  1. Calms the Nervous System – it is super easy for kids to become over stimulated. Simple yoga poses and breathing exercises have a direct and measurable effect on the central nervous system leading to a sense of calmness and stillness.
  2. Helps Manage Stress & Anxiety – I hate that we have anxious kids in our society, but there is no getting away from it, with exam stress, school pressures, social media and peer pressure kids have a lot on their plate. Yoga is an amazing box of tools for handling stress and anxiety. What children learn during one of our Kids Yoga Classes in Southampton will stay with them for a lifetime.
  3. Encourages Body Awareness & Body Acceptance – through yoga postures kids are encouraged to really feel and connect with their body. To notice a variety of sensations such as strengthening, stretching, lengthening and opening with a healthy curiosity. They are encouraged to celebrate their body for what is does, to not compare or compete with others.
  4. Builds Confidence – In a Kids Yoga Class there are interactive games and exercises that encourage them to speak up, share ideas and work with children of others ages.
  5. Stimulates Imagination – creative thinking, storytelling, and physically embodying different shapes and objects is all a standard part of class as Children practise postures such as lions pose whilst roaring like a lion!
  6. Improves Concentration and Focus – with all the technology around kids (and adults) attention spans are shortening. Yoga helps to train the mind as much as it does the body. Breathing exercises and simple meditation techniques teach the children how to slow down their thoughts and focus their mind.

These are just a few of the many benefits of Kids Yoga, so why not book your little in for one of our fortnightly Kids Yoga Classes in Southampton. The first one for 2017 is Sunday 22 Jan 10-11 at Chilworth Village Hall, there is also an adults chill out class next door at the same time so you can get your yoga fix too! Details here.


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Thinking About Trying Beginners Yoga – 10 Things Beginners Need to Know

Your Survival Guide for Beginners YogaBeginners Yoga - What You Need to Know

January certainly seems to be the month we think about trying something new and beginners yoga is high on many people’s lists. Maybe you’ve read about yoga, you have friends or family members that do it, maybe even your Doctor has told you to take up yoga but you’ve always thought it’s not for you, surely you need to be really bendy and skinny, and doesn’t it involve weird new age hype stuff like chanting?  Like with most things yoga is nothing like the media depict it to be and a beginners yoga class is the perfect start. Yoga really truly is for everyBODY – you just need to find the right class and give it ago. Read my 10 Things Yoga Beginners Need to know and if you’re in Southampton why not come and check out one of my Monthly Beginners Yoga Workshop – a 9o minute workshop to teach you all the basics prior to joining a class. The next one is Saturday 21st Jan – details here.

1) You don’t need to be flexible to do yoga. In fact, yoga has nothing to do with touching your toes, but improved flexibility is certainly a by-product of doing yoga. Telling me you’re too stiff to do yoga, is the same as saying you’re too dirty to have a shower. I know the media is full of bendy, skinny people in fancy yoga poses but this isn’t what it looks like in ‘real life’! Beginners Yoga poses are really attainable for all.

2) Nobody cares if you giggle or fart and you can’t make a fool of yourself either. Everyone else is too focused on what they’re doing to even notice what’s happening with you. I promise!

3) Don’t wear Tesco leggings (or other really cheap makes) they’re see-through when you bend over – trust me I’ve seen A LOT! Get someone at home to check for you before attending your first Beginners Yoga class.

4) Take your shoes and socks off, yoga is practised barefoot on a non-slip mat. Your yoga teacher will have a few spare mats, but if you enjoy it then buy your own mat – much more hygienic!

5) If you arrive early to your first Beginners Yoga Class, sit down on your yoga mat, relax and smile at the person next to you. Yoga classes have a really friendly community atmosphere and everyone remembers how daunting being new can be.

6) Wear a couple of layers,  like top/t-shirt and a jumper. It’s likely you’ll get pretty hot halfway through and then cold during the relaxation. Ladies remember a sports bra or things may just pop out when you bend forward.

7) You’ll do a yoga pose called Downward Facing Dog a lot, it’s hard when you start as it uses upper body strength and hamstring flexibility but after awhile it’ll get easier. Know it’s OK to put your knees down and use all-fours anytime. If your teacher says ‘Downward Facing Dog is a resting pose’ try and ignore the urge to yell out and curse at them, they’re probably just forgotten how freaking hard this pose is when you’re a Yoga Beginner.

8) It’s OK to rest – yoga is not a boot camp and it’s not about forcing your body to do anything.  it’s about listening to and respecting your body. So if you get tired and want to take a little breather, then do it! It’s all about you.

9) It’s OK to be confused – when you attend your beginners yoga class everything is new, so understandably you might feel confused. See this as an exciting reminder that you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone and something good is coming your way. By your 3rd class, you usually feel like you’re getting the hang of it. Although I’ve been practising for 16 years now and I still get confused and often feeling like a yoga beginner!

10) Your life will change! It’s crazy magic, just 1 hour/week of yoga, bending, stretching, strengthening and breathing deeply and everything changes. Your ability to handle stress, the ease in your relationships, the confidence and calmness you feel in yourself, the relationship you have will your body. Quite simply put yoga makes everything better!

Ready to give it a try? Check out my Monthly Beginners Yoga Workshops in Southampton.

 


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6 Week Beginners Yoga Course – Hedge End, Southampton

6-Week Beginners Yoga Course – Hedge End
Starts Thurs 12 Jan at Turnpike Pavillion in Hedge End

Beginners Yoga Course, Hedge End, Southampton

This 6-week Beginners Yoga Course in Hedge End, Southampton is perfect for complete beginners and for anyone looking to brush up on their yoga basics. So if you are new to yoga, or simply curious this is a great way to get started.

With step by step, clear & safe instruction, you’ll learn all the fundamental yoga postures for improved strength and flexibility, as well as breathing and meditation techniques for stress relief and tension taming. You’ll get to experience all that yoga has to offer in a supportive, encouraging and fun environment with yoga teacher Rochelle Parkes at this 6 Week Beginners Yoga Course.

The benefits of starting yoga are vast including easing stress and anxiety, improving postures, strength and flexibility, to lowering high blood pressure and easing back problems. Yoga has existed for over 5,000 years and the main reason for its longevity is quite simply because it works and has stood the test of time. But trying something new can be a little daunting so even though you’ve heard of its benefits maybe you haven’t tried it yet. This Beginners Yoga Course will ease you in gently so that you can build up your courage and confidence with yoga.

This course is being run and organised by me, Laura Green, and taught by the lovely Rochelle Parkes. Rochelle has been a student of mine for nearly 7 years and is now a great Yoga Teacher in her own right and I’m truly delighted to be hosting this course for her.

So if you’ve been wondering what all this yoga malarky is about, now is your chance to experience it for yourself – you won’t regret it. Yoga can’t help but have a massive positive impact on your daily life.

For all you experienced yogis, please can you share this post with anyone you think would be interested?

This course is £46, booking and payment required in advance to confirm your spot. Email me laura@lauragreenyoga.co.uk.


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20 Books for Yoga Teachers

20 Books for Yoga Teachers
20 Books for Yoga Teachers

Totally geeking out at the moment, re-reading my favourite yoga books and topping up my inspiration tank as I plan the Reading List for my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Programme. In the process, I’ve whittled down the list to my top 20 Books for Yoga Teachers. When I look at the Reading Lists for many Teacher Training Courses I see the same old texts, again and again, it’s time to update that list by adding some of these 20 Books for Yoga Teachers. Yes, clearly it is essential for yoga teachers to be aware, knowledgeable and inspired by the true lineage of yoga and the ancient texts but we need to continue evolving the science of yoga and finding ways to update the teachings so that we connect with our students where they are today, with their real world challenges. So here goes my Essential and Recommend 20 Books for Yoga Teachers.

Essential Reads for Yoga Teachers – from 20 Books for Yoga Teachers

The Spiritual Teachings of Yoga
There is an ancient philosophy behind yoga practice that is rarely taught in the west. The ancient wisdom of Yoga gives us a way of life, a path that is at least five thousand years old. This book presents and contains within it the key philosophical texts from the Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, the Vedas, and the Upanishads in an accessible and poetic manner.

The Key Muscles of Yoga – Volume One & Two
These two books offer a scientific approach to understanding the practice of hatha yoga. Through four-colour, three-dimensional illustrations of major muscles, tendons, and ligaments. From beginners to experts, this book will become a constant companion.

Yoga The Path to Holistic Health
This book makes Iyengar Yoga accessible to all, while celebrating the life and work of the world-renowned B.K.S Iyengar, a world leading authority on hatha yoga and is globally respected for his holistic approach and technical accuracy.  Over 60 step-by-step sequences of asanas, pranayamas and over 20 include unique 360 degree images of classic Iyengar asanas.

The Science of Breath, A Practical Guide
For thousands of years, yogic adepts have claimed that breath is the essential link between body and mind, energizing a “subtle body” which connects the physical and mental aspects of our being. In this landmark book, Swami Rama and two noted American physicians explore the science of breath as the missing key to both physical health and the attainment of higher states.

Meditation for the Love of It
Meditation is like a love affair with your innermost self. At times it can be ecstatic and entrancing; other times simple and still and sometimes you might not even feel its profound effects until later. Sally Kempton shares practical secrets to help us turn meditation into an unconditional embrace of the fullness of our experience on and off the meditation cushion.

Mindful Teaching & Teaching Mindfulness: A Guide for Anyone Who Teaches Anything
Author Deborah Schoeberlein pioneers the practical application of mindfulness in education. By showing teachers how to tune into what’s happening, inside and around them, she offers fresh, straightforward approaches to training attention and generating caring both in and outside of the classroom.

Career Yogi – Marketing Wisdom for Yoga Teachers
In this empowering guide for new and aspiring yoga teachers, you will share the story of how one career yogi found her way to inner peace and success and get plenty of advice along the way. From developing your brand, to marketing yourself, to keeping your intention grounded in love, Blanco offers valuable words of wisdom for anyone looking to pursue a career in yoga.

Recommended Reads for Yoga Teachers from 20 Books for Yoga Teachers

The Desire Map
Danielle LaPorte turns the relationship to goal-setting inside out. She provides hands-on tools to help you first and foremost identify your core desired feelings, and then create practical Goals with Soul to generate those feelings. By chasing the feeling versus the goal, she empowers you to forge substantial life changes that reflect your intrinsic nature.

Guiding Yoga’s Light: Lessons for Yoga Teachers
This book presents 74 easy-to-follow, succinct lesson plans offering instruction in hatha yoga, including asana, pranayama, the yamas and niyamas, the chakras, creating mindfulness and understanding emotions. Lesson plans progress from basic yogic concepts important for beginning students to more advanced material.

Adventures in Human Being
We have a lifetime’s association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. In Adventures in Human Being, Gavin Francis leads the reader on a journey through health and illness and  an adventure through what it means to be human.

Wisdom of the Body Moving
This comprehensive guide introduces Body-Mind Centering. Hartley’s explorations of the images, feelings, sensations, and intuitions of the diverse organs and cells lead to exercises that gently guide students in ways of discovering and integrating their bodies multidimensional aspects.

On Form
Four forms of energy pulse through each of us at all times: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. To thrive, we must recruit all four of these energies in the service of a specific mission. In this book they offer their precise understanding of how to help individuals and organizations manage energy to drive full engagement.

The Brain That Changes Itself
An astonishing new science called neuroplasticity is overthrowing the centuries-old notion that the human brain is immutable. Psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, Norman Doidge, M.D., traveled the country to meet both the brilliant scientists championing neuroplasticity and the people whose lives they’ve transformed.

The Breathing Book – Vitality & Good Health Through Essential Breath Work
A groundbreaking approach to improving the quality of your life through the most readily accessible resource: your breath. These safe and easy-to-learn techniques can also be used to treat asthma and ease stress, depression, eating disorders, insomnia, arthritis, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions.

Yoga Adjustments: Philosophy, Principles, and Techniques
The quintessential guide to yoga assisting and hands-on teaching. Covers the philosophy of yoga practice, the sensibilities of touch in teaching yoga and improving alignment, the seven principles of hands-on yoga teaching, and the twenty-five most effective methods of tactile cueing.

Restorative Yoga: with Assists A Manual for Teachers
Master the art of teaching and practicing Restorative Yoga and deep relaxation with this easy to follow and well written manual. A great resource for yoga teacher training programs, seasoned teachers and students of yoga. Includes over 100 photos to help you to understand each posture and a set of simple yet profound assists to take your students into deeper relaxation. 

Myths of the Asanas
Practitioners around the world reap the physical benefits of yoga, assuming poses and frequently calling them by their Sanskrit names. Behind each asana and its corresponding movements is an ancient story about a god, sage, or sacred animal. Myths of the Asanas is the first book to collect and retell these ancient stories adding a new dimension to your teaching.

Hatha Yoga Pradipika
Hatha Yoga involves the yoga of the body, and yet this book does not restrict itself to the physical aspects of yoga, but delves deeper to how yoga can awaken the chakras and the kundalini energy, helping the person who practices it achieve spiritual liberation. Hatha Yoga Pradipika is a translation of Swami Svatmarama’s original text.

The Yoga Teacher’s Guide to Earning a Living: How to Claim the Confidence, Mastery, and Finesse of Being a Successful Yoga Professional
 This first-of-its-kind guide walks both beginners and established professionals through maximizing their impact as teachers and succeeding financially. While any would-be yoga professional could pick up a business how-to, this resource adapts the visions and values of yoga to the business of business.


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Yoga Quotes to Inspire Your Practise

I love to be inspired by yoga quotes, texts and poems in my yoga practise and my teachings. Today I am reminded:

The Buddha taught:

“Do not pursue the past do not lose yourself in the future.

The past no longer is the future has not yet come.

Looking deeply at life as it is in the very here & now.

We must be diligent today.

To wait until tomorrow is too late.

Death comes unexpectedly.

How can we bargain with it?”

Translated by Thich Nat Han

Buddha Yoga Quotes


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Yoga Cross Training for Runners

Yoga Cross Training For Runners
Yoga Cross Training For Runners

Runners – do you just focus your time on getting through the miles? Or have you thought about the effectiveness of cross-training? But how, when and what stops you? I get it, finding the time to fit in runs and cover the distance is hard enough without having to find the time for something else altogether. The answer is  . . . add a little yoga to your current running schedule with yoga cross training for runners.

Why Cross Train?

As a Yoga Teacher, I work with many runners  at class, in specialised Yoga for Runners Workshops and through my Online Yoga for Runners Course, as a result, I have seen the effectiveness of yoga. One thing stands out . . . yoga is the perfect form of cross training for runners. You ask yourself, why do I need cross training, running gives me everything I need? It’s true, running has many awesome benefits for both the body and the mind. However, running exacts a notable toll on the body.

During an average one mile of running your foot will strike the ground one thousand times. The force of each strike is about 3-4 times your body weight? 65% of runners get injured every year and every runner will on average get 1 injury per 100 hours of running, according to studies by the American Journal of Sports Medicine. And as we all know getting injured and being in pain whilst running sucks. Running is addictive, running is amazing so give yoga a try and learn how to prevent injuries and improve your running through yoga.

Benefits of Yoga Cross Training for Runners:

All areas of running performance are improved with yoga cross training for runners, but to cover just a few:

  • Running Form and Posture
  • Flexibility for Injury Prevention
  • Quicker recovery from races and challenging runs
  • Upper Body and Core Strength for Improved Speed
  • Enhanced Lung Capacity and Breathing Techniques for Endurance and Stamina
  • Mindfulness and Mental Resolve for those challenging race

Why not try our Monthly Yoga for Runners Workshop? Next workshop Sunday 26th February 14:00 – 15:30 Chilworth, Southampton.


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