Yoga Knee Pain & Is Yoga a Good Cross Training Option for Runners?

Now that I’ve started running on a regular basis because I’m training for my first half marathon at the beginning of 2014 I’ve been trying to find workout options for non-training days. The recommendation is to cross-train and history has taught me that I need to do something other than just walking on those days so I can avoid an injury. The only problem is that the first suggestions I see no matter where I look is to swim or bike because they are both great cross-training options for runners. Here’s the thing. I hate swimming and I hate biking even more. They are just not my thing. I get no enjoyment from either of them, and at this point they would both require me to pay for a gym membership, which I’m not willing to do.

So I went in search of other cross-training options and I came across yoga. I’ve never been a fan of yoga because rather than it being a good cardio workout, it’s a lot of slow movement and breathing and I have always felt I wouldn’t get anything out of it as a real exercise option. As I researched more I began to realize that yoga is a wonderful way to improve flexibility and prevent injuries, which is something that matters a great deal to me. I found a free yoga class sponsored by my local hospital, but held at the local dance studio, which happens to be less than a mile from my home. I decided to give it a try. I even told Paul and Nick I was planning to go, figuring if I said it out loud I would hold myself accountable and keep the appointment I made with myself. Walking into any kind of class always brings out my social anxiety, even more so when it is a class I’ve never attended that is filled with people I’ve never met.

Yoga Knee Pain

I arrived at the yoga class several minutes early, found a spot in the back furthest corner of the room and laid out my yoga mat. The instructor is a sweet woman and I used to love it when she went to the kids’ elementary school to do dance workshops with the students. Oh my gosh, my kids are all grown up. Sorry. I had a moment there. I figured if she was good with the kids, she is probably just as good with adults and I was right. We started with breathing, of course, and gradually worked into some basic yoga poses. Even though I had never been to a yoga class, I knew for the most part what to expect. Initially, I had trouble shutting off my brain, but eventually I quieted my thoughts and truly enjoyed the 75 minutes of focusing on my breath and my body. Later that night I started to notice my knee was pretty sore. I tore ligaments back in high school and ever since it has caused me problems off and on, especially with intense bending, which apparently happens a lot in a yoga class. I was a little bummed because there is so much I enjoyed about the class, but it’s not worth the toll it took on my knee to put myself through that kind of agony every week. I iced my knee and rested it, but yikes, it was achy. I’m a little nervous, but I’d like to go back next week and try to modify several of the moves because the last thing I want is for an exercise that is supposed to help prevent injury, cause aggravation to an old injury.

Somebody please tell me I’m right to try again because I really want to believe yoga is a good choice for me.



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