The Amara Yoga & Arts studio has friendly instructors and a welcoming and energizing atmosphere. The Yoga for Runners class that is held Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. adds a new spin to the practice of yoga. The class, taught by Lisa Haake, is only a few months old, but the class suggests nothing novice.

A runner, Haake personalizes the class and shares her own experience during the practice. She wanted to teach this class specifically because the opportunity to work with runners wasn’t always available. The class is anchored in helping people who are training for the Christie Clinic Marathon. Yoga for runners is not a new concept, but a class geared towards runners makes the practice incredibly beneficial.

The practice is led at an even pace that makes it accessible to those who practice yoga regularly, as well as those who have never practiced. The use of rollers provides gentle massaging and stretching important to long run recovery. The stretches focus on increasing foot and ankle strength. The class also uses downward dog and other core work.

Haake focuses specifically on working out the tension caused by shin splints and plantar fasciitis. These stretches work for repair and prevention. Working on the strength of not only your legs, but also your feet and ankles can eliminate many injuries that plague long-distance runners.

The yoga, in addition to your training, is extremely beneficial to your body as well as your mind. The difference between completing your long run and staying in bed relies on mental strength, sometimes even more so than physical strength. Being mentally prepared is crucial to the success of your training. Also, relaxing after a long run and acknowledging that you deserve and need rest is important to your recovery. Yoga provides all of these things. This class in particular allows for a vertical leg pose in combination with corpse pose. The rush of blood from your legs is both tingly and amazing. The pose is geared toward leg recovery, and the change in blood circulation feels great. The pose leads into final corpse pose, giving every participant a moment to breathe. Focusing on stretching and breathing throughout the class is an excellent change of pace for a long-distance runner.

The studio is located in downtown Urbana in the Lincoln Square mall. Candles are lit during the practice, and hot tea is made available. Both add to the warm environment. The studio supplies mats as well as other yoga props for free. A single class is $12 if you pay online, and $14 in the studio. Drop-ins are welcomed and encouraged. If you are new to Amara Yoga & Arts, a week of unlimited yoga classes is offered for $20.

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