yogaI used to be really flexible thanks to years of dance classes and gymnastics as a child. That all changed when I hit 30 – I’m not sure what happened – it’s probably just my age, but I’m going to blame all this running.

I do stretch after a long run, probably not as thoroughly as I should, I usually do it waiting for the kettle to boil as I’m making myself a post-run brew.

My legs seem to be getting tighter and tighter lately. I’ve heard a lot about how great yoga is for runners. As well as providing that all important stretching routine into your training plan, it strengthens the core muscles, quads and hamstrings.

I’m a big fan of Yoga with Adriene on Youtube, she has a specific routine for runners, which I tend to follow on a Monday morning (link here), but sometimes I want an instructor present. A friend told me she had booked into a Hot Yoga class which sounded right up my street so I booked in too.

What is Hot Yoga?

It’s basically yoga in a room heated to around 35-38 degrees. The heat warms the body and encourages suppleness and flexibility. You will need a towel on top of your yoga mat because you will be sparkling after ten minutes and be dripping in sweat when you leave (thank goodness for my sweat-proof mascara).

Because of the heat, it’s important to be well hydrated before a class so drink plenty throughout the day – by drinking, I mean water, not wine!

The class was an hour long and led by a lovely lady called Debbie. She took us through various yoga poses focusing on balance, control and strength – don’t worry if you are a complete novice, she explains everything! I’d say I have quite strong legs, yet trying to hold a yoga pose they turn to jelly – I’m amazed I didn’t embarrass myself by falling over – that’ll probably happen next week!

The verdict?

I loved it, I left feeling well-stretched and surprisingly relaxed. That evening I had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time – and for that reason alone, I would highly recommend.

Hot Yoga is available at Millfield Fitness, York. See website for class timetable.