Shammi Gupta of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an M.A. in Yoga Shastra, is a certified Yogic Therapist and Naturopath, has completed an Advanced Yoga Course and holds a Diploma in Yoga Education from Mumbai University. She is an American College of Sports Medicine Certified Trainer as well, and also has an MBA in Finance and HR from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporates, Yogasana Workshops for Runners and Athletes, and Yoga Therapy Workshops on injury prevention and different medical issues. She teaches a combination of Classical Hatha Yoga, Iyengar Yoga, Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, etc. She believes in imparting holistic yogic knowledge and is passionate about conducting research in the areas of sports and yoga. Among the celebrities she trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporates. www.shammisygalaya.com www.facebook.com/ShammisYogalaya
As a runner, you realize the importance of “running form” to efficiently optimize the stride. You also know that running, being a repetitive weight bearing movement, may eventually lead to disastrous ill effects, unless the right “running form” is maintained throughout the run. When runners run, they check, recheck, constantly evaluate & correct their running form. This constant awareness does bring a positive impact on their run. But is that impact permanent? By working on the running form in isolation, they are only working on the symptoms but are completely unaware of the crux of the problem.
“Working on your running form in isolation means you are working on the symptoms alone.”
Evolution is a constant change and a sign of progress. It has brought us a lifestyle much more comfortable than expected but probably at a price. We do have a better lifestyle today but we also have lots of lifestyle-related problems. Let’s take one tiny aspect of our lifestyle habits – ‘SITTING’; constant sitting for hours has caused great hazard and compounded other ill effects on us. It is, one of the most basic functions of our everyday life since our very existence. Children as young as 2 years are sent to school today and thereby start their association with a desk and chair. I have never seen any educational workshop, which introduces one to the “Art of right sitting”. Surprisingly, we are sitting for most of our life. Only that we do not know “How to do it right”.
Sitting requires you to maintain an upright position
Constant sitting but in a misaligned manner has an ill effect on one’s “running form”. Whether one is sitting on a chair or on the floor, one needs to maintain an upright posture. Our spine needs to remain in a neutral position. Maintaining this upright neutrality is only possible when our core and back is actively engaged. A natural outcome of this would be a strong core and a strong back. This is an ideal position but how long is it feasible for us to maintain this ‘ideal’ position.
Onset of postural misalignment starts early
We dump our hips on a chair and before we know it, we have already collapsed our lower back, comfort being the main focus. This is how we start initiating into the very disastrous process of postural misalignment. Constant sitting for hours, then days, then years in the same manner leads to a compressed spine, drooping shoulders, overstretched neck, locked hips, inactive hamstrings and many other lifestyle problems. This shape, which the body assumes over the years, eventually becomes the normal shape of the body. One presumes, without realizing the reality that this is the normal posture of the body but they could not be more wrong. This posture starts getting transferred onto any activity we do.
Running, further deepens the problem
Running is a weight-bearing activity. As the foot strikes the ground, the force of impact is around 2-3 times your body weight. Running uses a fraction of the time compared to our constant sitting for hours. So it is also clear that working intentionally on postural alignment during our long sitting hours will have an unfavourable impact on the “running form” than working the other way round. Our constantly misaligned posture starts getting transferred onto the running form. If one runs with a distorted postural impact, the result is bound to be disastrous. This is the reason why most runners have constant complaints of aches and pains. They may think it is because of running but there are high chances that the source of the problem is rooted in their postural misalignment.
YOGA to the rescue
As we perform a yoga posture, even the simplest one, it takes us through a deep journey of our body and mind. We become aware of each and every part of our body, beginning from the toes to the fingertips and from the muscles to the joints. This awareness is complemented with right and rhythmic breathing as well. Over a period of time, we start realigning our misaligned body.
As a runner, you understand your body in relation to running alone. Yoga demands awareness of the whole body. This increased awareness connects you with every tiny & small part of your body even during your run. You are in tune with your body. Running becomes more focused, more disciplined and almost injury-free.