In The Fitness Test, Leyla explores a different class in Toronto and gives you a breakdown of what’s awesome and what’s not.
Studio: Flipswitch Studio – 49 Camden St., Upper Loft
Instructor: Vanessa Montenegro
Description: This is yoga curated for runners. “There are a lot of synchronicities between the two,” says Montenegro. “It’s meditation in movement.” The class starts with a focus on breathing, an obvious fundamental when it comes to running. A Downward Dog or two later, Plank Pose makes an extended appearance, the focus being on core and shoulder strength. Even though running is all about legs, “you need a strong carriage,” explains Montenegro. Then it’s on to the powerhouse of momentum: Glutes. All sorts of Warriors and Chair Poses come into play at this point. Modified balancing poses, like Half Moon, cater to other major players: knees and hips. Half an hour in, gears shift from strength to stretching. Montenegro waters down the traditional pretzel-like yoga poses to suit the notoriously tight bodies of runners. It’s all about fascia stretching to prevent ankle injury, and dorsiflexion (pulling your toes up and back) to protect the knee. My personal favorite was a slight modification on Apanasana/Knees-to-Chest Pose. “Now push your pelvis down. You should feel a release in the hip flexors.” Yes. This is my new Happy Baby Pose.
Reason I signed up: It’s more like, what took me so long to sign up: Running and Yoga are my two favorites. I’m just so glad they finally met!
Price: $16/class. $25/two-week unlimited trial. Package savings available.
Level of difficulty from 1 (newbie) to 5 (hardcore): Three. It’s challenging but it’s only an hour and, as mentioned, half is devoted to stretching. Gotta love stretching.
Why you should (or shouldn’t) try it: Well, if you don’t run there’s really no reason you shouldn’t try it. But there’s also no reason you should. Despite being on the mat, the focus is concrete. It’s yoga-based, for sure, but the class is geared towards runners, both physically and mentally.
Overall assessment: You won’t master Head Stand Pose, but you’ll feel like you walked out of a very active physiotherapy session in a very good headspace.