The Happiness Challenge

This is your invitation to begin your own Happiness Challenge.  I invite you to honour yourself, and those around you, by embarking on this 4 week journey of self discovery to the path of inner happiness and a mindful state of bliss!

Make time for yourself, to discover, or re-discover, the slightly dusty corners of self, uncovering what lays dormant and letting your own sun shine in. No matter where you are, from Southampton to Timbuktu, you will be supported, guided and loved through 4 weeks of meditations, yoga, moon rituals and interesting information on health and well-being.

Check out below for more information or click here for a pdf version

 

Happiness Southampton Yoga

 

I’d love for you to join me on this challenge!

Drop me an email to book.

Laura x 


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Chandra Namaskar – The Moon Salute

Chandra Namaskar Moon Salutes Yoga Southampton

 

The Chandra Namaskar yoga sequence is one of my personal favorites and I know many of my students in Southampton would agree. It creates a wonderful tranquility. So here’s a little more information if you love it too!

Meaning

Chandra Namaskar is a simple sequence which honours and acknowledges the energy of the moon. The name “Chandra Namaskar” is derived from the Sanskrit, chandra, meaning “moon,” and “namaskar,” meaning “salutation.” Although less well known than the Surya Namaskar (the Sun Salutations), they complement it perfectly, as they embrace the opposite, interconnected cooling energy.

Balancing

Chandra Namaskar cultivates a yin energy (as in the Daoist Principle of Yin & Yang) whereas Surya Namaskar is more yang. The yin energy and the energy of the Chandra Namaskar sequence is cooling, calming and meditative. This sequence is best practiced in the evening time once the moon has risen and you can work with the lunar energies. It is often practise during the time of the full moon when the lunar energy is as its peak but can also be practise at any time during the lunar cycle. Another approach is to include both Surya Namaskar and Chandra Namaskar in the same yoga practise to promote a balanced state where you feel energised yet calm

The sequence of asanas for Chandra Namaskar has many variations, but will often involve moving to the right and left, and facing the long edge of the mat. The side stretches and circular movements of the sequence can be considered to represent the phases of the moon as it waxes and wanes.

Gratitude

This is the perfect practice for the practice of gratitude as can be done slowly and with consideration. Practice this under the moonlight with minimal distractions for the full effects the Chandra Namaskar flow and the energies of the moon has to offer.

Benefits

Chandra Namaskar can also be beneficial for:

  • Strengthening all major muscle groups
  • Calming the mind
  • Grounding and focusing the body and mind

I’ve added this sequence as a PDF on my Online Studio under Printable Sequences on the website, head over there to download your own copy.

Chandra Namaskar Moon Salute Southampton Yoga

Keep an eye out on my Workshops page as this is a workshop I love to offer during the year and its always being updated with new workshops.

See you on the mat.

Laura x


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Survival Guide for Beginners Yoga

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

Google image search for the word ‘yoga’ and the results are terrifyingly intimidating!  Skinny minnie bendy Wendy’s in very little clothing on an exotic beach doing their best pretzel impressions. Trust me if this is what real-life yoga is like so can count me out!! But fortunately, it’s not! Yoga truly is for everyone, all shapes, all ages, all fitness levels, all degrees of flexibility, all genders and all personality types. My Beginners Yoga Courses in Southampton are suitable for all and we love to see a diverse mix of people taking to the yoga mat.

So here’s my Survival Guide for Beginners Yoga

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? I have 2 Beginners Yoga Courses in Eastleigh and Southampton starting in September and a Beginners Yoga Classes on Thursdays:

Join our 6-week yoga beginners courses for a fun, simple, and safe introduction to the awesome practice of yoga. Or if you’re available during the day, pop along to our drop-in Beginners Class.

6 Week Beginners Yoga Course

Starts: Monday | 17th September 2018
Finishes: Monday | 22nd October 2018

Where: Richard Taunton’s College, Southampton
Time: 18h00 – 19h00
Taught: Caroline Eyles
Course Fee: £46

6 Week Beginners Yoga Course

Starts: Monday | 17th September 2018
Finishes: Monday | 22nd October 2018

Where: The Hub, Bishopstoke Rd, Eastleigh
Time: 19h30 – 20h30
Taught: Veronique Dumont
Course Fee: £46

General Beginners Yoga Class

Resumes: Thursday | 13th September 2018
Drop In: Pop along anytime

Where: Turnpike Pavilion, Hedge End
Time: 09h30 – 10h30
Taught: Gemma Witcomb
Course Fee: £8 drop in or £35 for 5

Email to Book!


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Living Your Yoga


yoga southampton

What does it mean to live your yoga? To be a Yogi or Yogini? Is it even possible in the modern Western world? Yogis of old in India often segregated themselves from society, spending much time in isolation living in the mountains and caves in India, meditating for very many hours on a quest to calm the mind and achieve enlightenment.

In the West, Yoga is often something that we do; an interest, or hobby, a class that we attend once a week but soon the benefits of yoga seep into the rest of one’s life.  Then with continued dedication and commitment the practice of yoga can become a way of life.  Everyone’s path is different, and although it is common to come across preconceived notions of what a Yogi must and must not do, it is essential that you walk your own path based on intuition, guidance, reflection and self-study. It is a path towards growth, unity and harmony with oneself and the world we live in; for me this is enlightenment.

What is Enlightenment?

The meaning of enlightenment and what happens once one achieves it is open to much debate. For me, it is something we can all experience through the path of yoga. It is the experience of being completely present in the moment, in touch with your true self and free from the suffering imposed by the fluctuations of the mind. Maybe our first such experience lasts for just the tiniest moment, but through continued growth there are more of these moments and they last longer until this becomes your permanent state of awareness.

Suggestions for Living Your Yoga

Here are a few ideas you may wish to consider in exploring how to live your yoga. Don’t worry if you don’t know what all of these practices are just yet, we will study these in detail together. Please note that this is the road less travelled, it is winding and bumpy with many obstacles but a life lived with intention, clarity and an open heart is a life worth living.

  • A regular home yoga practice in addition to continued guidance from teachers.
  • A committed meditation practice.
  • The practice of pranayama to calm the mind and ease through daily challenges.
  • Journaling as a form of self-study and reflection.
  • Volunteering and being of service to others – karma yoga.
  • Intentionally focussing on the qualities of loving kindness; mantra and meditation can support this.
  • Reading texts such as Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita and interpreting their being for you.
  • Exploring bringing the Yamas and Niyamas into everyday life.
  • Creating your own sadhana, a daily spiritual practice.
  • Upgrading your diet for optimum health and well-being.
  • Being part of a satsang, a community of likeminded individuals joining for discussions.
  • Performing a daily gratitude practice.
  • Setting intentions, using affirmations and sankalpas to bring clarity to your days.
  • Working through mental and emotional afflictions and challenges such as samskaras that stand the way of your spiritual growth.

Yoga Immersion Course

If this is the path you wish to travel support and guidance of a teacher and a community is really beneficial. I’d love to walk this path with you and invite you to consider joining the Yoga Immersion Course. A 6-month course for committed yoga students designed to deepen your awareness, knowledge & understanding of yoga in all its dimensions.


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Trusting your Yoga Teacher Instincts

yoga teacher southampton

You’ve planned a high energy, upbeat yoga sequence designed to challenge your students, you look at the class in front of you and they’re tired, stressed and in need of something chilled out and relaxing? What do you do? You trust your yoga teacher instincts and rethink you plan!

The main critique of lesson planning and sequencing is that it prevents you from reading your students, their energy and what they need in the moment. I encourage yoga teachers to do both; lesson plan thoroughly, play and create yoga sequences that enhance your yoga students experience of the asanas and the flow of prana and then be present and adapt to the moment: watch your students as they arrive at the yoga class, observe them during the warm up and throughout your sequencing and adjust your plan accordingly, by that I mean the following:

  • As your students begin, are they holding their shoulders unusually tight? If so, add shoulder opening variations to your standing sequence and some extra warm up poses.
  • Have they walked in energised and full of get up and go, when you’ve planned a totally chilled out and meditative flow: Meet them somewhere in the middle to help them find balance, remove a few of your resting poses, add in some extra vinyasas, swap your pranayama to a balancing one such as Nadi Shodana.
  • Do your students look exhausted and depleted: Take your poses lower to the ground (e.g. instead of a high lunge take a low lunge, switch standing or seated poses for the reclining (supta) variations), swap a few Downward Facing Dogs out for Child’s Pose. Encourage students to take it easy and honour their body, cut out a couple rounds of your Sun Salutation or Standing Poses to save time for an extra long Savasana.
  • You’ve planned a flowing yoga class with emphasis on fluidity and the movement of prana but in the first couple of rounds of Sun Salutations you notice some very dodge shoulder alignment in the majority of your students during Chaturanga. Pause your music (if using), explain your going to take a little detour to workshop Chaturanga and then get back into your flow.

Learning to be observant, trusting your gut and being flexible with the content of your lesson plan will help to ensure that your students leave your class feeling looked after.

If you’d like to explore in greater detail the Art & Science of Sequencing, Laura is teaching an 8 Hour CPD day on Sunday 15th April 2018 at Rownhams House near Southampton. Find the details here.


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Creative Approach to Yoga Class Sequencing

yoga sequencing southampton

Stuck in a Rut? Fancy Mixing Up Your Yoga Class Sequencing?

Getting a little bored with your yoga lesson plans? Looking to bring new inspiration into your yoga teaching, and mix things up for your yoga students? How about trying out some new yoga class sequencing techniques?

In sequencing a yoga class a yoga teacher draws on all their skills, knowledge and intuition to craft a journey for the body, mind and soul. Yoga students put their absolute faith and trust in their teacher to lead them on a journey that is safe, authentic and true to the teachings of yoga.  This takes planning and practice, it is both a science and an art.

Lesson Planning & Sequencing

Yoga class lesson planning and yoga sequencing is in my opinion a must. I know that opinion is divided on this topic with many yoga teachers proudly saying that they don’t plan classes; I usually don’t come down heavy on anyone side of a yoga debate but on this one I am firmly in the lesson planning camp. The sequencing of a yoga class dramatically impacts your yoga students’ experience.  When it’s done well, our bodies open with ease and feel fantastic but when it’s poor, the body feels tight, poses feel unnecessarily challenging, the alignment can be unsafe and the flow of prana is inhibited.

By planning and carefully crafting yoga sequences you start to teach your students rather than just lead them through yoga asanas. As a Yoga Teacher you get to truly facilitate your yoga student’s journey and create an engaging yoga experience. The science in yoga sequencing is your understanding of Asana, Alignment, Technique, Modifications and your Students Bodies, the art in yoga sequencing is in holding and creating the space for your yoga students to blossom, grow, transform and experience.

So here are a few suggestions for alternative ways to sequence a yoga class.

  • Singular Pose Yoga Sequence: A great way to really teach your yoga students a posture very thoroughly, inspiring them to add it to a home yoga practice. Take one fundamental yoga pose keep repeating throughout the yoga class, use complimentary postures to teach alignment principles of the main pose and draw the energy/feel of the main pose into other posture. Such as Tadasana, Star Pose, Tree.
  • Repetition Yoga Sequence: Build a yoga sequence around a repeating posture, transition, movement motif, mantra, mudra or pranayama. For instance, a flowing arm pattern you set up as a standing movement meditation, re visit as an arm variation in standing postures and then again in seated.
  • Double Up Yoga Sequence: Bikram style. Perform each yoga pose twice, either increasing or decreasing the hold length. You can experiment with adding additional cues. For instance – first round physical cues, second round energetic or breath cues or visualisation.
  • Wave Yoga Sequencing: Take a peak yoga pose such as crow and break it down to the easiest variation. Begin with this seed of the posture, then a warm up, revisit the seed and add the next progression, continue preparing the body with standing asana, revisit the seed, the progression and add the full posture, then counterpose. This can be used in a theme and variation approach such as variations of all fours.
  • Bilaterally Symmetrical Yoga Sequence: The first half of the yoga class is mirrored and taught again as the second half in its mirror image/reverse order. This makes for a really interesting journey of observation as the yoga students experience the poses the second time they can notice changes in their body and mind.
  • Book Ends Yoga Sequence: A simpler version of above. Create an opening yoga sequence and repeat in the reverse order for your closing yoga sequence so students can observe and reflect on the journey.
  • Building a Chain: Take a yoga sequence such as Surya Namaskar with Warrior II, repeat right and left. Start the yoga sequence again and add on another posture to the chain, such as Pasrvakonasana, next round add Trikonasana, then Ardha Chandrasana for the final round. Can be done with easier postures and even seated sequences.
  • Chorus & Verse Yoga Sequencing: Your chorus is your connecting vinyasa, the most common is the plank, chaturanga cobra/updog, down dog flow but you can create a variety of other vinyasas. A connecting vinyasa neturalises the body between sides and sequences. Experiment with other approaches.

If you’d like to explore in greater detail the Art & Science of Sequencing, Laura is teaching an 8 Hour CPD day on Sunday 15th April 2018 at Rownhams House near Southampton. Find the details here.


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Yoga for the Runner

How Yoga gave me my all-round ‘personal best’ as a runner

~ by Gemma Young ~

Yoga Runner Southampton

I have been practicing yoga for many years and as a runner and someone who is fairly competitive, I tend to also have that competitive stance within me, even when on the mat. Not with others but with myself. Always wanting to push myself that little bit more each week, bend that little bit further, breathe that little bit deeper… the same goes for running. I am always striving for my personal best, always wanting to beat my last time.

However, practicing yoga with Laura in Southampton and the family of yogi’s has taught me how it is okay to sometimes enjoy the minimum, not get things perfect, be on the mat not to compete with myself, but to surrender myself to all that yoga has to offer my body, mind and soul. Learning and accepting this has been profound for me. The odd thing about it is that by doing regular yoga practice, learning to breathe deeply and correctly, connecting body and mind, and stretching and strengthening my body, has meant that I now run faster and longer than I ever have done!

The Yoga for Runners workshops comes highly recommended by me to enable runners to learn the basic techniques for breathing and those crucial stretches pre and post runs.

I will be running in the Bournemouth half marathon on Sunday 8th October for the wonderful Children’s charity, the NSPCC. Please feel free to visit my Just Giving page if you wish to make a contribution. Any donations would be very much appreciated and make a difference to this wonderful cause.

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Check out my workshop page for details on our regular monthly Runners Workshop or send me an email me to book.

Lx


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Yoga Relief for Neck & Shoulder Tension

Yoga Southampton Neck Shoulder Pain

As a Yoga Teacher in Southampton the most common grumble I hear from my students is neck and shoulder tension plus referred pain such as headaches. I’m always diving into my yoga tool box for the perfect yoga poses and yoga relief for neck and shoulder tension.

Neck and shoulder tension can be a source of much frustration for many of us. So often, especially at the end of a long hard day we really “feel” our neck and shoulders and this is just the time to get yourself to a yoga class in Southampton. The most common cause of neck and shoulder pain is stress, either emotional or physical stress, or sometimes just a combination of both.  With hectic lifestyles and the constant strain of stress our physical bodies often pay the price.

The trapezius muscle group, which runs from your neck to shoulders, carries the most stress of anywhere in your body but what causes this tension?

 

Yoga Southampton Neck Shoulder Pain

Common Causes for Shoulder and Neck Pain

Stress

We often carry emotional stress which manifests itself in our physical bodies as muscular pain

Pulled muscles

Moving too quickly, or placing undue physical stress on the muscle can cause tears and pain

Bad Posture

Sitting or standing, with the head slightly forward, can cause stress on the trapezius muscle group. We call this the computer chin which juts forward.

Pressure

Carrying an object that puts strain on the muscle can result in aches and pains. Examples are bras, backpacks, or shoulder bags.

Holding positions

Positions that are held for a period, consistently, can cause stress in the trapezius muscle group, computer monitors in the wrong position or sleeping in the wrong position, are a few of the most common reasons.

 Yoga Poses to relieve Shoulder and Neck Pain

Using Yoga as tool to relieve physical and emotional stress is just one of the many ways we can heal ourselves. Taking the time to relieve the stress of shoulder and neck pain can help to feel rejuvenated in the whole body.

Try thYoga Southampton Neck Shoulder Painis short video with yoga poses from Neck & Shoulder Tension. This video is just 6 mins long, try doing it daily for a week and see what happens . . .

If you’d like to learn and experience more I’m teaching a 2 Hour Yoga Workshop for Neck and Shoulder Tension in Southampton on Saturday 7th October at 10am. More information here.


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The Quest for Equilibrium – Yin Yoga Southampton

What is Yin Yoga – by Laura Green | Yin Yoga Southampton

As human beings we are hard wired to instinctively seek out equilibrium; through either the involuntary responses of the body or voluntary actions of the mind. You feel too hot – your body’s involuntary response is perspiration whilst the voluntary action of the mind tells you to open a window; you feel too cold – your body shivers and your mind tells you to get a jumper.  This is an essential necessity for survival. Yet we are finding more ways to override this wisdom of the body for temporary gain with little regard for the long term consequences. Read on to learn more about how yin yoga can help or attend a yin yoga in Southampton with Laura.Yin Yoga Southampton

Example: you’re working long hours under the pressure of deadlines, you feel very tired, involuntarily the sleeping centre of the brain kicks in, your eye lids get heavy, your reactions slow down, your concentration dwindles etc; the voluntary mind should make you go to bed and sleep but instead you get a strong cup of coffee. The caffeine kicks in and overpowers the body’s involuntary response. Short term result – we bravely soldier on and complete the task. This becomes a rinse and repeat cycle of always wanting, doing and achieving more – this is the yang cycle. 

Yang without Yin leads stress, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, burnout, heart attacks, fertility issues, digestive issues etc. Equally Yin without Yang leads to lethargy, depression, isolation, weight gain etc.

Yoga teaches that equilibrium comes from balancing opposites. Yet we live in a world with preferences, likes and dislikes and have lost any sense of equanimity. So time and again we are drawn to the things we like, prioritise, or value highly and disregard the rest, taking us further out of balance. Generally speaking, both society and we as individuals value the Yang over the Yin, the Active over the Passive and the Masculine over the Feminine. Whereas we need to balance these opposites, we need both the Yin and the Yang. It is the practise of embracing equanimity in search of equilibrium.

How Yin Yoga Works to Balance the Body

‘Yin Yoga’ is slow-paced with postures that are held for long periods of time. These long held postures are done when the body is cold and not warmed up.

At first this can seem very unusual but it serves the intention which is to focus less on stretching the muscles and more on working into the joints, ligaments, tendons and fascia of the body. It is less about ‘stretching’ these tissues as they don’t have the same elasticity as muscles, but more about ‘stressing’ them through holding them under tension for longer periods which overtime will improve the length, strength and thickness of the tissues.

Just like Thai Yoga Massage there is a focus on stimulating the movement of prana along the Meridian lines and a close connection to Tradition Chinese Medicine. The golden rule of Yin Yoga through the eyes of Patanjali is sthira sukham asanam – the postures must be steady andYin Yoga Southampton comfortable. Yin Yoga also draws inspiration from Daoism and applies one of its key philosophies ‘Live in harmony with the way and you will benefit. Struggle against the way things are and you will suffer’.

Yin Yoga generally targets the lower body with only around 26 official postures, but the principles can be applied to a variety of postures. It is a deeply healing practise both mentally and physically.
Why not try a Yin Yoga class to experience full balancing effects for yourself?

Lx

For Full Class Timetable Click Here

For Workshops Click Here


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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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