Yoga & Biomechanics for Runners Workshop

Thanks Alice & Kris! Photo is from ChatterRunGirl.

Thanks Alice & Kris! Photo is from ChatterRunGirl.

What: Yoga & Biomacanhics for Runners
When: Sunday, May 26th @ 12:30 p.m.
Where: Moksha Yoga Danforth (372 Danforth Ave)
Who: Kris Sheppard and Alice Toyonaga

I am really excited for summer. Like really, really excited for summer. And most of all, or most surprising, I’m excited to run! This summer I’ve decided running will be for me. 2012 will forever be remembered as my summer of hell! Okay, I’m being very dramatic here, but fundraising is not easy, and Cecilley and I did nothing but train and fundraise. Not that that was a bad thing, I did spend pretty much my whole summer with Cecilley! And met some great people along the way. Then we celebrated our hard work in California. Okay, so 2012 was not the summer of hell at all.

My goal this year is to work hard, get faster, run farther. I want to become an all round better runner. I think it’s time. The Blue Nose and Around the Bay taught me that the human body is physically capable of doing many things under pressure or stress (and with little training, I may add). Not that I want to promote this fact! If you’re running longer distances do yourself a favour and prepare. Join a clinic (like me!), hire a running coach, find a running group, or get together a group of friends to run with. It’s easier than you may think. Toronto is full of great organizations and people doing great things. Or just ask me! I’ll do the research for you!

With my new goal on the horizon of running faster and running properly, I signed up for a running workshop hosted at Moksha Yoga Danforth with Alice Toyonaga. This was an excellent place to start my summer of running. Alice (aka ChatterRunGirl) is a marathon runner, Moksha teacher, and a big inspiration and mentor of mine. Alice is so great!

Alice has been traveling from coast to coast hosting running and yoga workshops at Moksha studios all over Canada. See. This is why Alice is great! Lucky for me, and the Toronto community, Alice partnered with Dr. Kris Sheppard, a chiropractor at Absolute Endurance Training and Therapy and a certified strength and conditioning specialist, to host a yoga & biomechanics for runners. My love for Alice and my goal of running a marathon compelled me to go. Obviously.

We met at the studio strapped on our sneakers and away we went for a light 2k run to get us started. During the run Kris and Alice broke down the components of the workshop and addressed the importance of proper active recovery, which yoga can do for all athletes!

Back at the studio Kris took us through a series of exercises — lunges, squats, high knee running — to demonstrate proper running technique. Just from observation Kris can tell the type of pain you may experience, he can tell your range of motion, where you carry your weight when you run, as well as knows your foot strike. Apparently I’m a quad dominate runner with weak ankles. Kris has worked with many different clients from sprinters to long distant runners, to the everyday runner, like most of us attending the workshop. Kris, we may have to talk. But watching myself run, I can think of anything worse…

Afterward was Alice’s turn. She lead a beautiful sequence focusing on strengthening our quads and our butt muscles — something we runners really need — then we stretched everything out. Our hips, our hip flexors, this was a treat. Also in attendance was Vanessa Montenegro from Flipswitch Studio who happened to be assisting during Alice’s class. And for the first time in my life she got me to engage my glutes! I actually felt the sensation of firing up my butt. Ha! Thanks, Vanessa! After all this time you think I would have learned.

What a perfect day. The weather was incredible, but better yet the information I took in, along with the great company, made this workshop one of a kind. Thank you Alice, Kris, and Vanessa! And thanks to you too, Brent and Michelle from Moksha Yoga Danforth. I telling everyone right now to attend the next one. Keep your eye on Alice she is going great things.



$5 workshops – 5 trickiest yoga poses

This is me at a race, not at yoga. But I was happy then and am happy now, so it works!


What: $5 Yoga Workshop
When: Sunday, October 26 @ 1:30pm
Where: Moksha Yoga Danforth (372A Danforth Avenue)
Who: Scott Miller & Alice Toyonaga


Holy smholly?! Who knew such a thing existed? But it was very true and really happened at my now newest second favourite Moksha studio (sorry Danforth, but Downtown will always be my home). However as the newly crowned NOW Magazine’s Best of T.O. 2012 Reader’s Pick for Best Yoga Studio I can certainly see why. $5 yoga workshops gets my vote too! Something like this is rather rare and extremely fantastic. So, clearly, I signed up for as many as I could.

Since, Jackie Szabo’s departure from Toronto I’ve had a huge yoga emptiness inside of me. I miss her teachings and classes so much it hurts (I’ve got a whole sad story on this to share for another time). Of course I’ve been thinking about her and how she’s doing, but more importantly I’m trying to make her proud. I’m considering the Moksha Yoga Teacher training and I really want to understand yoga more¬†thoroughly. For days when I can’t sleep, or when some muscle in my body somewhere aches, or if there is ever some internal funkiness going on, or if I just need a really good stretch, those yoga teachers they know. They know all the ins and outs and cues to fix/cure/heal everything without popping some pills or taking medications. I want to know these secrets.

Cecilley and I, months and months ago, went to Moksha Danforth one Saturday evening for a yin yoga class with Amanda. Not only was this class one of the best yin classes of my life, I realized how much I like the Danforth studio. It’s super cute and friendly and has a warm feeling of welcomeness. And it doesn’t hurt that a few of my Downtown teachers also spend time at the Danforth. Bonus! There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of this place if your a Moksha first-timer. Great location, great teachers, fun environment, all good things! But back to the life changing yin experience, afterwards I realized I could easily do these poses at home or at work (if really needed to). Just remembering what we did is challenge. That’s where it all began for me. I want to get to know yoga better. Some of the wrist and foot poses really got in there good. Stretching out the arches in your feet and really sinking into your hands not only helps to prevent carpal tunnel it feels amazing. Like I said, yoga teachers know what’s going on.

Since then I’ve been receiving Danforth’s monthly newsletter. I figured I might as well broaden my Moksha network and maybe discover new things to do along the way. Which is exactly what happened when the October newsletter arrived in my inbox. October was the studio’s 30-day challenge and to commend the yogis taking part, every Sunday was host to a new yoga workshop. A $5 workshop. Where Cecilley and I had other things going on earlier that month, I signed up for the last two workshops of the series.

The first workshop I attended was mastering the art of the 5 trickiest poses of the Moksha series. While tag teaming the workshop Scott and Alice made the class open to questions and discussions – this wasn’t your typical yoga class. The 5 poses were Prayer Twist, Warrior Two, Pigeon, Dancers, and Camel – these are not everyone’s idea of the trickiest poses, but these were the poses voted by the Danforth yogis. I was game regardless. After breaking down each pose, one by one, Alice and Scott went over everything. They described the proper alignment, breath within the pose and how to come in and out of each pose properly while demoing. Visuals are great. Really seeing how a pose is done properly is one thing, but taking the time to feel how the pose should look like (emphases on the feel) is another. Scott and Alice made sure everyone knew what and how each pose should feel. Yoga is all about the feeling and not the actual doing. It was a fantastic opportunity, all for the low cost of $5! Thank you Alice, Scott, and Moksha Danforth!

But seriously, when you really take your time to “feel where your body is going in the pose” yoga all of a sudden becomes really hard! Even in my regular practice I can’t help but think of these 5 poses in a different way now.

Next up, I’ll be a Crow professional. Crow (Bakasana) is the next (and apparently best) workshop. We shall see!