Can hot yoga improve your running?

Fierce Grace Brixton’s resident Scottish lass, marketeer and front desk fave Lila, has recently completed the Royal Parks Half Marathon to raise funds for Microtia UK – a charity very close to her heart. Following an injury, Lila was convinced she needed to train in a dynamic way to keep her knees in good shape and her muscles strong to smash those PB’s.

What happens when you combine hot yoga and running? Lila says “There is no finish line”.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Lila. I’m a professional actor and singer and also work at Fierce Grace Brixton. You’ll find me in charge of marketing, social media and giving you a smile from front desk!

Why a Half Marathon?

On October 14th, I completed my first ever Royal Parks Half Marathon in 2 hours 8 minutes and 1 second raising funds and awareness for the charity Microtia UK.

Most people won’t be familiar with Microtia (which is Greek for ‘little ear’) as it is a very rare condition affecting 1 in 6000 babies; resulting in under developed ears and associated hearing loss. It’s a charity very close to my heart as my younger brother was born with bi-lateral Microtia in 2005. Through this unique charity he has been made aware of medical advances, pioneering technology and connected with other young people and families throughout the UK.

What was the day like?

I found the whole Half Marathon experience pretty emotional; with many people running to support charities that have touched their lives or in memory of a loved one. Despite the rainy weather, the atmosphere was warm and the crowd were amazing, with lots of kids high-fiving runners along the route!

When did you start practising yoga?

Before I worked for Fierce Grace Brixton, I started off on the Introductory Offer like everyone else and absolutely loved the classes and studio. As an actor I find the mindfulness element to long term yoga practice beneficial for making work in the creative arts. Focus, strength and ‘mental decompression’ are amongst my top reasons for taking class. Some of my best ideas have appeared in the middle of a savasana! This goes hand in hand with the physical benefits of hot yoga; a deep stretch, increased stamina and even my posture has improved!

How long have you been running?

I’ve dabbled in running for about 10 years and completed a 10k back in 2012. Over the past year and during a recent six month theatre tour, I started running more frequently and taking part in ParkRun in lots different cities across the UK.

Similar to yoga practice, I find the physical and mental stimulation from running frequently offers new challenges and is a great way to start the day. You could say that with both hot yoga and running there is no end point. That’s what I find most appealing – there is no (hypothetical) finish line!

Did hot yoga help you Half Marathon training?

Very much so! Over the Summer, I managed to injure my calf muscle upping my speed and milage too quickly. I decided there and then that if I was going to run more officially, I’d have to build strength and remember to stretch before and after! Hot yoga is wonderful for flexibility and a post-run Deep Core class was exactly what I needed to stretch out my hamstrings, glutes and hips.

Every Sunday I’d do a long run and always felt strongest when I’d taken class in the lead up to pounding the London streets. In particular, my legs and core were strengthened by classes like Fierce Grace, Beast and Classic. Combined with weights, cardio and resistance training at the gym I’ve managed to stay injury free and have even upped my personal best since then!

What’s next for you?

More yoga to stretch out these hard working legs and I’d also love to take part in another run soon. Some Brixton members were even suggesting I try a Triathlon next!

What is your favourite class?

I love FG2 on a Friday night. Challenging, a great work out and brilliant way to start the weekend!

Anything else to add?

You can still donate to Microtia UK here. They’re a very small charity who rely entirely on voluntary contributions and they have done such a lot in raising awareness and bring people together.

Thank you to everyone at the studio who gave me their support, words of advice and encouragement. You’ve been great!