This week I am really excited to introduce you to Heather King, founder of Yogging, a blend of yoga and running. I spotted an advert for Yogging in Om Yoga Magazine last summer, and was delighted to find that it was based near me. If you attended the London or Manchester shows, you may have spotted Heather leading Yogging taster classes. I had to miss the shows this year, but it turned out that Heather and I not only have mutual friends and went to the same university, but are also so close that I now have the pleasure of being one of Heather’s yoga students. Her playful Hatha classes are so enjoyable to be in, and I am looking forward to trying Yogging myself when I have a free Sunday.
First, thank you for speaking to me today! Could you explain a little bit about what Yogging is, and why it is distinct to, say, running with a few stretches, or simply practicing yoga and running separately?
Yogging is loosely based on the science behind Bikram/hot yoga in that we are using the heat from our own muscles through jogging rather than the heat of a sauna to help the muscles become stretchy and more flexible. The formula behind Yogging is one that starts just with getting the body warm through jogging and sun salutations and then incorporates active and dynamic yoga movements covering all muscle groups and joints. Instead of static asanas, we make the posture move and flow making it quite challenging at times.
The lovely thing is that you really can yog in all weathers and we have! All you need is appropriate clothing… and a great pair of ski-gloves for winter. Doing yoga outside is bliss and unfortunately not always possible in the UK but Yogging and the way it keeps us warm, enables us to be outside and experience nature whilst focusing on our yoga. The beach is my favourite place to do yogging.
I was influenced by a lot of PT moves which often have yoga techniques or postures at their heart… plank for example and sumo squats. I try to make the classes challenging but loyal to yogic movements. We don’t really run long distances, but if we do, it is broken up with yoga. It is great for people who are new to runnning or yoga in many ways as it is a good taster of both but nice because you know you are going to stop. People also tend to like it if they normally find running a bit boring. Doing anything as a group is always fun and I love the element of camaraderie and team spirit that emerges when yogging. I have found that the people it attracts are quite ‘hard-core’ people who don’t mind getting muddy!
You trained as a hatha yoga teacher. What caused you to found your own dynamic blend of yoga and running?
I was always sporty and enjoyed endurance running and team sports but I think when I started to study anatomy as part of the yoga course and learning more about yogic beliefs, I took on board some aspects of how running can be detrimental to your body, certainly knee joints and learned about the benefits of yoga for helping to improve running. Even little things like thinking about weight distribution when running or posture and positioning of the hips when running have all helped me. I believe yoga goes hand in hand with yoga as they are both breathing orientated and in many ways, meditational and good for the mind! It somehow just clicked together when I was working and living in London and jogging around Brockwell Park and doing lap after lap and I thought it would work well in parks with people who have little time and can’t decide between focussing on the more remedial yoga or fat busting cardio. I thought it was a little like wash and go – 2 in 1! Great for busy people… the perfect combination!
What is your favourite yoga pose/asana, and why?
I go through phases! I think the dancer pose always feels good but I have a little ‘go-to’ sequence I do which involves high lunge, Warrior 1, Warrior 2 and side stretch and Trikonasana (not forgeting a reverse trikonasana) which I love after a run because it just opens the chest out which has just been working hard and helps the legs recover.
What inspired you to turn yoga into a career?
It wasn’t a plan and really is just a passion!
Do you have a top tip for living well?
If you listen to your body and get ‘tuned in’ (which yoga can help with) I think it tells you what it needs! I try to have minimum processed food and minimum sugar and pretty much ‘eat clean’ and fresh! I am not veggie but LOVE veggie and vegan food – I go through phases but will generally always order fish when I eat out just like my farming Granddad!
Have you always been interested in healthy living?
Always! My recent trip to Australia made me realise how ahead of the game they are out there, I loved having chlorophyll water on tap, alpachinos (almond milk cappuccinos) and chia seeds everywhere and all kinds of amazing fruit! I wish there were some more cafes in rural Yorkshire which offered raw/vegan and fresh, sustainably sourced treats!
Where is your must-see travel destination?
I really want to go to New Zealand, Canada and Patagonia! All the outdoorsy mountainous places! I do think Japan, Borneo and Bali and the Maldives look brilliant too for a different type of adventure!
Who, or what, inspires you the most?
My family as a unit. I think they are all incredible. So optimistic, generous, loving and full of energy, enthusiasm and adventurous spirit – nothing is ever impossible when they are around.
Name a favourite healthy meal.
SLAW! I love different slaws such as red cabbage, lime, onion, carrot and apple with coriander! Perhaps with a fillet of grilled sea bass!?!
Finally, what makes you happiest?
I think my family, boyf, friends, yoga time, the sun and the sea, everything you can have for free!
Thanks so much for your great answers Heather! For more information, head to the Yogging website or Facebook page and keep an eye out for future developments and classes!