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 effect, 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 are they sure that they are working on the source? Working on the running form in isolation, they are probably only working on the symptoms but may be 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 life style today but we also have lots of lifestyle related problems.
Talking of one tiny area of our lifestyle habit – ‘SITTING’, constant sitting for hours has caused great hazard and compounding ill effect on us. It is (sitting), 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 desk and chair. Surprisingly, we are sitting for our whole life from now onwards. Only we do not know “How to do it right”. I have never seen any educational workshop or such things, which introduces one to the “Art of Sitting Right”. No doubt, we are told time and again to watch our postural alignment while sitting, standing or doing any other activity but passing in that practice never becomes as mandatory as passing in Hindi, English or any other subject. Result – the practice rarely gets applied in our day to day life and increased comfort further amplifies the issue.
Sitting requires you to maintain an upright position: Constant sitting but in a misaligned manner has a compounding 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 for how long can be maintain this ‘ideal’ position when “sitting” becomes a constantly long process.
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. These misaligned postures start getting transferred onto all non-chair activities as well.
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. Our constantly misaligned posture starts getting transformed onto the Running Form. If one runs with a distorted postural impact, the result is bound to be disastrous. Also, in general, running hours are fractional to sitting hours. Hence, it is pretty clear that working intentionally on postural alignment during our long sitting hours will have an impeccable impact on the “Running Form” than working other way round. Running and aches & pains are closely associated. Runners 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 OURSELF, 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 whole body. This increased awareness connects you with every tiny & small part of your body even during your run. You are in better tune with your body. Your running becomes focused, disciplined, efficient and almost injury free.
Shammi Gupta, founder of Shammi’s Yogalaya holds an MA 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 a certified trainer from American College of Sports Medicine and holds an MBA in HR & MBA in Finance from The University of Akron, Ohio, USA. She conducts Health Awareness Workshops for Corporate, Yogasana Workshops for Athletes and Yoga Therapy Workshops on different medical issues for patients. Among the celebrities Shammi trains are eminent personalities from the film and television industry and corporate world.