Runner-Centric Yoga Can Make The Difference



We sat down with Claudia Baeza from Pineapple Yoga and spoke with her about her practice and the benefits of yoga for athletes.

  1. Tell us about yourself, how long you have been doing yoga and why you love it?

Claudia Baeza is a yoga instructor and owner of Pineapple Yoga Studio located in downtown Sarasota. The union of a strong physical body and a balanced emotional self lies at the heart of her practice. She is a Yoga Alliance certified instructor (RYT200), a certified personal trainer, and is currently completing her RYT300 hour yoga training at The Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires, one of the world’s leading yoga teaching schools. She has been practicing yoga for over a decade, starting her journey at a Baron Baptiste studio in Cambridge Massachusetts where she fell in love with power vinyasa (a powerful breath based vinyasa flow style). Before owning a studio, she was a practicing attorney, professional interactive designer and adjunct profession at Boston University in Boston. Shortly after opening her studio in Sarasota, she launched the RYT200 yoga teacher training program which is steeped in tradition while being applicable to the modern yogi who needs a deep understanding of anatomy and physiology of the body. Claudia’s love of movement was cultivated early when she was a Varsity Gymnast competing at the State level in 6th grade in Syracuse NY. What she loves most about yoga is that you can add it to any sport or passion to enhance anyone’s state of wellbeing and health. She loves that anyone can do yoga.

  1. What is yoga, what are your favorite yoga moves/practices?


The practice of yoga developed over the past 5 thousand years in India as a way to balance or unite the mind, body and spirit. The modern interpretation of this practice has evolved and been updated with knowledge of anatomy, physiology and the physical needs of the athlete to enhance strength, improve flexibility, and range of motion which helps avoid injury and reduce recovery time between trainings. Claudia’s favorite ‘asanas’ or yoga postures are deep hip opening postures which help bring awareness inward through breath while improving both relaxation and concentration. These are skills that have direct application in the real world of competition on and off the mat.

  1. What benefits does yoga poses for runners? 

Yoga postures use all movement planes of the body (coronal, sagittal, and transverse) which strengthens muscles that runners need for efficient gait while also fostering mobility, flexibility and strength for the entire body. The biomechanics of running, from the overuse of some muscles and underuse of others, produces imbalances which impairs efficiency and which will eventually lead to pain or injury. Yoga brings this balance back so that the entire body is working as a whole. Yoga focuses on stretching muscles (antagonist) and contracting muscles (agonists) in each posture which maintains muscle equilibrium for optimal functionality. Finally, yoga focuses on deep conscious breathing which helps oxygenate the muscles and sustain the competitive athlete’s concentration during competition.

  1. Do you have a specialized program for runners? 


Pineapple Yoga Studio has developed a specialized yoga program for athletes (runners, cyclists, tennis players and golfers) which focuses on the particular muscle group that is overused, the repetitive nature of the movements, and the resulting musculoskeletal imbalances in each particular sport. The program for runners focuses on flexibility and strength while  balancing the lower and upper hemisphere’s of the body so that the runner is stronger and more balanced.


  1. How many times per week should a runner do yoga? 


Ideally, a runner should do yoga 3 times per week. In reality when a runner is training, that will be close to impossible to achieve. If the runner does yoga at least once a week off-season and adds a few sessions per week during hardcore training season, that will be enough to keep the body strong, flexible and mobile while avoiding injury and pain. Yoga will also help the body recover faster between each training.


  1. Any other information you feel is important for our audience to know. 


Pineapple Yoga Studio offers complementary assessments for athletes who would like to add yoga as a modality to their sport’s training. Give the studio a call to schedule an appointment. 941 210 3739. The studio offers a full range of yoga offerings as well as private and semi-private yoga instruction.

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