Join the Roga Revolution!
To understand Roga™ you need to get into the mindset of the typical runner. Runners love to run – it’s what we do. Cross-training is often at best an afterthought, at worst something we ignore completely, and at our peril. Without some form of carefully structured cross-training, we risk niggles and injury and run the danger of getting ourselves cardio-fit without having the whole-body strength and awareness we need to stay fit in the long term.
Which leads us nicely to… Roga! As a rather inept wannabe yogi, I kept thinking how perfectly yoga compliments running and how great it would be if more people combined the two. This came up in conversation with my friend Holly, who runs the Yoga Hero studio in Leeds Dock and also happens to be a fantastic yoga teacher, and – ta-da! – Roga was born.
We started to develop structured classes that combine the best elements of both for an invigorating workout for whole body and mind. Roga can make you a better runner, with the added bonus of calming your mind too. What’s not to love about that?
Lots of people have twigged that running and yoga go well together, of course – it’s not rocket science. The Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, practice yoga. Ryan Giggs loves it, as do the New Zealand All Blacks. There are plenty of YouTube videos on stretching and flexing your weary runner’s muscles and tendons.
Yoga isn’t just about stretching though, it’s a body and mind experience. As is running, though we often get fixated on the body and forget how beneficial exercise is for our busy minds. Roga combines the best of both, creating a natural flow designed that helps you progress and improve your running and your yoga technique. With our combined experience of yoga philosophy, mediation, anatomy, physiology and runners’ common problems and weak spots, we created and honed a programme that addresses runners’ needs holistically.
Every Roga session is themed – on say, on run ABCs or core strength – and the running and yoga bits are integrated. So, say the Roga session is about the core, we’ll discuss its importance for runners and yogis. We’ll then do running drills that focus on core strength and posture, followed by yoga that really works the core and strengthens the lower back. The sessions are always great fun and we often stop en route to do some yoga poses in the street. Teenagers and drunk people seem particularly fond of joining in for some reason…
Roga takes a holistic approach to exercise, giving you a full mind-body workout, hopefully ultimately leading to a way of life! It has lots of benefits for runners, some tangible, some a bit more esoteric but all good for keeping you fit and injury free. Roga has a positive impact on lots of things that runners need to think about but rarely do.
I’ve never met a runner who holds their stretches as long as they should, myself included. In Roga you hold stretches for much longer than you ever would on your own but it’s worth it, I promise.
In both running drills and yoga, we focus on tiny movements in your body, adjusting, aligning and strengthening as you go. This helps to ensure that you’re aware of posture and running form when you’re out pounding the streets or the fells.
Roga’s not an easy ride – you’ll be surprised how hard you can work between the drills and the stretching!
Roga strengthens the whole body to help prevent injury. We also use the yogic concept of ahimsa, which roughly translates as ‘non-harm’. Overall strength is build by challenging ourselves but Roga helps us learn when we’re pushing too hard, another thing that runners are notoriously bad at!
Anyone who can handle a short run without stopping can take part in Roga classes. Some Rogis, as we like to call them, are brand new to yoga. Others are super-bendy flexible but don’t have the cardio fitness that experienced runners have. Basically, there is no typical Rogi, and no perfect one either. We all have something to learn from matching meditative (though sometimes really tough!) yoga workouts with energizing running drills.
Jayne is one half Veggie Runners (alongside her daughter Bibi) – visit her page for other running related articles http://runleeds.co.uk/r/veggie-runners/