Running & Bikram – From a Lady who knows!
Laura Turner, former British Sprinter & Olympic Athlete.


Laura Turner

I remember my first class at BYC like it was yesterday. It was September 2011 and only my second ever Bikram yoga class. I had tried Bikram whilst on a training trip in Phoenix, Arizona, fell in love with it and vowed to join a local class when I returned to the UK. My original intention was to practice Bikram to help my back pain, it proved to be far more beneficial than I could’ve imagined.


I have been an international athlete (running 100m and 200m) since 2002 and my body has taken a bit of a beating over the years. Back pain was starting to interfere with training and competition. With the Olympics around the corner, enough was enough. I had heard that Bikram yoga could help with back pain, so thought I would give it a go.


I went along to my first class at BYC with my good friend (and fellow GB athlete). Kat was our teacher, she was very good at explaining everything to us, making sure we understood what was going on and paying particular attention to our rather long list of injuries!! We set ourselves up at the back of the room, in the corner, of course!! The first few classes were hard work. I would regularly have to kneel down between postures and my legs would be shaking as I walked home!! With regular practice this soon went and I was able to get through the class and feel better walking out than I did walking in.


I’m happy to say that I have not had any major back problems since I started Bikram. My back does still give me a few problems, but nothing like I had from 2008-2011. This has not been the only benefit to my running though………Laura Turner Running


I have noticed a big improvement in my focus. I had no idea how easily distracted I was, especially when sweat was dripping into my ears! It’s definitely helped me focus on my race “if you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs …….”


Then there is the balance. Working on my foot strength and isometric strength in my legs is extremely important for me, having suffered 3 stress fractures in my feet. Runners will put their feet through a lot of pounding so it is important they are strong enough to avoid injury. The balancing series has proved to help strengthen my feet and legs.


I have learnt to relax, as athletes we find it very hard to relax and tend to want to do the most training we possibly can. I am now embracing the “less is more” attitude and taking time in my week for Bikram yoga as a form of relaxation.


Bikram yoga has been a fantastic tool in my training and competition, allowing me to be at my best and compete against the best. I strongly recommend Bikram yoga to all runners as an excellent cross-training and recovery tool. I will certainly never be without Bikram yoga in my life, even after I hang up my running shoes and retire from international athletics.

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