Loosen Up to Run Fast with Yoga, Pilates, and Anatomy Expert Frances Taylor
48 - One of the things that runners often neglect is working on their range of motion. Not only can this have an incredible impact on performance, but it can prevent injury and is extremely important for your body health.
Frances Taylor is an incredible yoga instructor, pilates teacher and anatomy expert.
In this deep dive interview, Frances tells us how we can assess our range of motion. Which muscles runners should focus on. Specific drills to improve your range of motion and the workouts that will make you faster.
In addition, we talk about how Frances has pivoted her business, TaylorFitWellness.com in the middle of the pandemic and what she's learned by bringing her practice online.
We're working with Frances to put together a live yoga for runners class. So if you're interested head over to RaceMob.com/yoga, to tell us your availability and get notified when this class happens.
Links For the Show
Podcast TranscriptionThe following transcript is provided for your convenience. It was created through a program, and may not be entirely accurate to our conversation.
Frances Taylor: [00:00:00]
So the meditation is a great way to, to kind of just calm the body, the mind, the spirit. And just to kind of allow yourself to sort of settle in and then you kind of have a better capacity to be in the moment.
You might not react as quickly. You might pause before saying that thing that might jump to your mind and, you know, we all do it. Right. You know, we're like, we're human, right.
You don't have to do 20 minutes of meditation a day. You can be mindful while you're washing the dishes. Or you can be mindful, , when you go for a walk.
Kevin Chang: [00:00:38]
Hello and welcome to the RaceMob podcast this is episode number 48.
I'm Kevin entrepreneur technology and fitness nerd, and I'm joined by the head coach of RaceMob and master motivator, the incomparable Bertrand Newson.
Guest Introduction [00:00:52]
One of the things that runners often neglect is working on their range of motion. Not only can this have an incredible impact on performance, but it can prevent injury and is extremely important for your body health.
Francis Taylor is an incredible yoga instructor, Pilates teacher and anatomy expert. In this deep dive interview, Francis tells us how we can assess our range of motion. Which muscles runners should focus on. Specific drills to improve your range of motion and the workouts that will make you faster.
In addition, we talk about how Francis has pivoted her business, tailor, fit wellness.com in the middle of the pandemic and what she's learned by bringing her practice online. We're working with Francis to put together a live yoga for runners class.
So if you're interested head over to RaceMob dot com slash yoga, to tell us your availability and get notified when this class happens and without further ado here's our conversation.
Start of the Conversation [00:01:46]
All right RaceMob crew. We have an incredible guest for you today. She has been teaching yoga and Pilates for over 20 years. She also has been studying anatomy for a very, very long time. And she's here to help you with your flexibility, your pliability, and help you get faster in your running.
Please welcome to the podcast Francis Taylor. Welcome Francis.
Frances Taylor: [00:02:11]
Thanks so much for having me on the show. I'm glad to be here.
Getting into Fitness
Kevin Chang: [00:02:13]
Fantastic. Francis. I know we've known each other for a couple of months now we're in the same mastermind group, which has been just fantastic. Tell us how you got into fitness Kelis, kind of your, your fitness journey.
Frances Taylor: [00:02:26]
Wow. So I did not come from a fitness background at all, and I think that's sort of what kind of prompted me to make a switch. I didn't grow up in a. Athletic family. You know, there weren't a lot of activities that we did. I saw my dad when I was a kid have back problems and I couldn't understand it. Like, here's this, you know, as a kid, you know, my dad's like a hundred feet tall.
Right. And then all of a sudden he's floored and I just, I couldn't understand it. So I knew that I wanted to get into Focusing on wellness and being healthy in your body academically, I was a straight a student. And so the academics were , no problem. I, I had those down, but I've, I struggled physically.
And I think that made me have to work a lot harder and overcome. I went into dance in college. So I didn't start young and I probably started in high school. So I was a late bloomer in the dance world, but I really, really took it on as a challenge and had overcome a lot of barriers
so. Yeah. I, , from dance I used to live in LA and I flew to New York to pursue that. And then I got into fitness as a compliment, you know, instead of waiting tables and. You know, slinging burgers. . I got it. I'm certified as a fitness trainer and I started doing that. And then I pursued hand-in-hand with dance, goes politeness.
I steady Pilates at the cane school, and I loved that they were anatomically focused because anatomy is also a love of mine. And I did a yoga teacher training and then continued to study that. And. Followed Macuna styles, instructural yoga therapy, which follows the philosophy of looking at well, what is happening anatomically with regard to your range of motion and your muscle testing so that you know what you're working for, you're not sort of just randomly, you know, doing some pose for.
Some odd reason you don't even know and everything and anatomy studies. I, , co owned a yoga studio. in New York city. And we had a course called anatomy studies for yoga teachers, which still exists. And it's a great. Opportunity to do a super deep dive. I'm also pursuing an occupational therapy degree.
So I went back to college and did anatomy course there, which floored me because I thought I knew anatomy and really like to get super deep dive. And now I'm tutoring anatomy, students at LaGuardia community college.
Pilates vs Yoga
Kevin Chang: [00:04:48]
Wow. That's incredible. Yeah. Talk to us a little bit about the difference between yoga and Pilates for those. That may not know the difference between the the two practices.
Frances Taylor: [00:04:59]
They're very complimentary, so yoga and Pilates, they have a different focal point and you'll see a lot of Pilates there's Pilates mat, which has done on the floor, usually on mat and there's Pilates on the machines. All right. So I'll speak a little bit more on the mat, cause that's a little bit more accessible and Pilates mat classes, you actually can see a parallel between a lot of the Pilates machine classes and the Pilates mat classes.
So it's a, it's kind of a linear practice where you're working to strengthen the core. And basically you set up your parameters like stabilize here, right? Work, your core work, your deep muscles at the pelvic floor. The transverse abdominals. In the deep spine, the are the muscles that are found along the vertebra that sort of helps stabilize.
So you set up your foundation and then you do movements that challenge that stability. So, you're working to get stronger in your stability and Pilates. And with yoga, there's usually a lot more standing poses. There are also many different styles of yoga. There's slow flow. There's quick flow Vinyasa, I, and Gar big rum, many, many, many different styles.
And there's actually more styles emerging as people sort of get really smart about what they want to focus on. And in each style has their own different benefit. So you want to look at what you want out of your yoga practice, and then there's probably a perfect style for you. There's some wacky ones out there.
So there's something for everyone.
Yoga for Runners Classess
Kevin Chang: [00:06:28]
We know that you used to teach a yoga for runners class. So, talk to us a little bit about how that got started and then which style of yoga that, was using.
Frances Taylor: [00:06:38]
So yeah, I was so excited to teach yoga for runners. I taught it out of, , Jack rabbit sports, , which is a running store.
As I said, I co owned a yoga studio and the studio closed and I had a number of regular students in the city and I wanted to accommodate them. So I literally picked up our props, moved them across the street and redact rabbit sports. Allowed us to teach yoga classes before the store opened. So we kept all the props there.
And the great thing about that was the store had a lot of activities that you could do. It's great to have organization with regard to the activities that you're doing. And so there's a group of runners that also joined my regular yoga students in the classes. So, you know, we taught classes before the store opened and we got to combine, uh, the regular yoga students.
With the runners, but I also did a free class once a month. That was really specifically yoga for runners. And we focused on the things that runners need. We focused on the core. We focused on the hip flexors. We focused on the upper body strength, the adductors. Because those are areas that I think are really helpful to keep in good shape for your running.
Tips for Beginners
Bertrand Newson: [00:07:50]
And for somebody hypothetically, I'm a runner who's not liberal at all.
Kevin Chang: [00:07:58]
This is hypothetical, right.
Bertrand Newson: [00:08:01]
I'm asking, I'm asking for a friend he's probably like six to one 90, one 95 in his early fifties.
Um, But as looking to incorporate, uh, some level of yoga to be more flexible, et cetera, et cetera. What are some like entry level good takeaway tips for someone in my boat?
Frances Taylor: [00:08:26]
Fabulous. I'm so glad you asked. I think because you're not the only one in your boat. One thing that's really important to remember is that a lot of people think that.
Oh, I'm not flexible. I can't do yoga, but you want to think of it from a start where you are perspective. And I always like to like, do this. I'll put my hand on my chin. Like I'm thinking about something and I'll tell my students to do this. I'll say, okay, put your hand on your chin. Right?
And ask yourself, what do I want to get out of this? Y'all doing it right now. Aren't you? Yeah. What do I want to get out of this? So yoga is for everyone. And especially if you have tightness. First of all, again, don't feel like if you're tight, you can't do it. Think of what am I going to get out of this?
And then you look to see, well, what are the activities that I want to do? You know, running as my activity and maybe I have some tightness. Then what I want to look at is, well, what is going to be the best tool to use? To help me with my running. So one thing would be to look at, from a structural yoga therapy point of view.
Well, what is your range of motion now? Is it restricted? Is it not restricted? You know, um, their full range of motion for your hamstrings is 90 degrees of hip flection. So if you're lying on your back and you put your leg straight up toward the ceiling, With your knees straight that's ideal. Not that not everybody's there not everybody's there.
Right? So lying on your back is a great way to do it because then your spine is not going to compensate for you. You can't cheat, basically. Like you can really see what your hamstring full range of motion for functional wellness is. And if you're not there, then you know what to work on. So the good news is if you're tight and then you look and see, well, where, where do I want to be?
Where am I now? Now what do I do? And if you never look, then you never know, but it's not really going to be the best case scenario. So you want to keep full range of motion for functional wellness. So checking out that 90 degrees of hip flection, there are other range of motion tests for the different muscles.
So that's just one for the hamstrings. The quads might be another one to check out because the hamstrings and the quads, right? The hamstrings on the back of the thigh, the quads on the front of the thigh are the muscles that you want to really make sure because you use them a lot. Right. And running . So the quads, when you lie on your belly and then you bring your heel in towards your tush. Okay. So, uh, you can draw your heel in, towards your tush with your own muscles, but really the way you test it is to have an outside force pull in. Now you want to be careful with this, right?
So you can pull your own healing toward your tush. Or if you're having a friend help you do it, you can make sure they don't push too hard. That's the thing. So what you want or looking for there is basically four fingers away from your seat. Now I have a lot of students that have knee issues and a lot of them, there is a much bigger space between their heel and their seat.
Right. So if you don't have any issues, but you have a big space there, then you might want to look at like finding ways to open up your range of motion. And that's the starting point. So those are a couple of things that you can keep in mind, you know, as entry-level you can just look at, well, what do I want, how do I get there?
And then let's get started.
Increasing your Range of Motion
Kevin Chang: [00:11:32]
Talk to us a little bit about how do you actually increase your range of motion? You know, we hear all the time static stretching in and of itself is not all that useful. So we hear about dynamic stretching. How does one actually go about increasing range of motion?
Frances Taylor: [00:11:46]
That's a great question. There are a lot of different ways to go about it, and there are pros and cons to all of them coming from dance.
We do a lot of jumping, spinning, twisting, turning, and there's a lot of range of motion that is needed. So dancers need a little bit more of what's called ballistic stretching, but ballistic stretching has kind of gotten a bad rap because the idea is that you can get kind of little micro tears in the muscle muscle fibers you want to look at well, what are you doing?
Another thing is to look at well, you know, with regard to static, stretching and dynamic stretching, you'll kind of get different things out of doing those different types of stretches.
There is a type of yoga called yin yoga we're and it's like the epitome of static stretching for a long time. And the idea of doing yoga is that you hold a position for a long period of time and the fascia, right? That's like the skin beneath the skin. It has a chance to sort of remodel. There are other types of yoga that you can look into that are also gonna be different.
So I, in Gar yoga, you would come into a pose and hold it, slow flow yoga, which is what I focus on. , you would move in and out of poses with some flow. But you wouldn't be moving too quickly. That might be a good strategy for runners, right? You get enough of your cardio right running. And so you want to look at well what's, what's a way you can move mindfully.
You can check into your alignment and your range of motion. There are a lot of other techniques. That can be used for stretching as well. , we've talked briefly, you and I, about, um, active, isolated stretching. So, , there's a technique where you can kind of, and this is where the anatomy is kind of fun to think about, like within the cells of the body, like within the muscle fiber, the mechanisms that work in there, you can kind of, almost like trick your body into releasing and there are different various ways to do it.
You can engage the opposing muscle and then go into release. So let me just give an example that you can do. So imagine you're lying on the floor. You have a chair sort of over your feet, so you can put your foot one foot on the seat of the chair and you have a yoga strap on that foot. So the other foot can go underneath the chair.
So you're, you're not in your full range of motion with your foot on the chair, right. You kind of partway there and that's where you want to do like some muscular work. So what you can do is with the strap around that foot. So you have your right foot on the chair. You can push your foot down into the chair and hold it.
So you're activating your hamstrings and you would hold it for maybe four counts, . And then with the strap, you would pull yourself into your full range of motion that you have for your hamstring stretch, but only hold it for like two seconds. And then go back into the work. So you press and hold for four, and then you pull into that active, isolated stretch for just a short period of time.
And what you're doing is you're working with your bodies nervous system to kind of reset the muscle length. It's another way of going about it. As I said, there are other forms, there's something called contract release agonist contract, right? So you would sometimes contract the muscle that you're going to stretch.
Sometimes you would contract the muscle. That is the opposing muscle. And again, these are all kind of different ways to sort of like, , finesse your way into finding a way to get your body to that full range of motion that you want to.
Kevin Chang: [00:15:03]
I love this. Yeah. So, I mean, I think the steps would be, find where you have limited range of motion.
So go about assessing, , either it's the hamstring, whether it's the quads. And then go about finding ways to increase or influence that range of motion, uh, potentially slow flow, yoga being one of those things you could practice maybe even on a daily basis or fairly consistently.
And then some of these other techniques that may be able to help you increase that range of motion that are maybe a little bit more advanced, but the actively tensing the hamstring, and then really forcing the release of that hamstring as, as one of these examples. So what are some other places that.
Runners may have limited range of motion. I know we've talked a little bit about the pelvic bull, so I know for myself sitting all day hip flexors, that whole section it bands. I think these are very common places that runners may have tightness.
Assessing the Right Types of Exercise [00:15:56]
So, uh, how do you assess whether there is tightness there and then what are maybe some exercises that, that could help runners?
Frances Taylor: [00:16:02]
That's a great question. So I've focused so many times when I'm teaching, I focus on the pelvic bowl. There's actually a, like an ancient Egyptian bowl with feet. Like that's like my favorite image. It's literally like a bowl made out of clay from the Nile river. It's red and it's like tilted a little bit.
So if you're sitting on a harder surface, you can get a sense for where your sitting bones are and you can figure out if maybe right now you might be doing this. If you're in what I called the subway schlump right. So if you're kind of sagging down a little bit when you're sitting, so if you're doing that, then you're kind of bad posture, which is so common for all of us.
Okay. But myself included, right? We all do it. So what you want to do first is find out where your alignment is in your pelvis. So you want to get upright on your sitting bone. , and you rock side to side for a second, you can get a sense for where your sitting bones are.
They're like little tiny rocking chair rockers, so you don't want to rock to the back, which is very easy for most of us to do. Right. That's called a posterior pelvic tilt. Right? You want to get upright and slightly to the right. So imagine, and this is how I remember. I'm such an anatomy geek is I remember the name of the.
Motion is, if you imagine that you're, if you were standing and doing this, and there was a little ant on the floor and your pelvic bowl was full of water, if you're tilting your pelvis. So you spill like a little drop of water on that ant, that's an anterior tilt of the pelvis. You don't want to be posterior.
You don't want to be anterior, right? You want to be upright on your sitting bones and tiny bit, a little bit anterior, just a little bit. And if you think about it, what that's going to do is it's going to set your pelvis into a neutral. So back to the bowl, my ballet teacher used to always say you or in your hips, your feet are in your hips.
And I had no idea what she was talking about. I was like, what are you talking about? . But, you know, as I continued on in my dancing career and then learning anatomy and as a dancer, trying to get the connection from your pelvis, where it is in space to your feet, it becomes very, very important.
And for runners the same, right? I think you have to know where your pelvis is in space. Then it becomes very important because if you're in a talk, the subway schlump right. Or if you're too far anterior, your Tisha's way out, either one of those extremes. Is not really going to help your muscles that cross the hip, right?
The quads and the hamstrings, like those bigger ones. And plus the other ones we talked about the inner thigh muscles, the ones on the outer thigh that affect the outer thigh iliotibial band connective tissue there. If you don't want to know where your pelvis is in space. Or you're in one of those extremes, your muscles are not going to be able to work in a balanced way.
So your feet are in your hips. So that if you imagine that bowl for a second, that your pelvic bowl is lined up right over your feet. When you're standing, or when you're sitting, if you practice that a lot, guess how your posture is going to be. It's going to be pretty nice.
Imagine when you're running, you want to be in a good secure space, your place for your torso. You want to have your core, like stabilize. That's going to help you as well. Right. That's where Politis can come in handy. Right? You're going to work your core so that you can keep it together when you're running.
So the pelvis. You know, first of all, finding the alignment. Okay. And then checking the muscles that cross the hip. We talked about the quads and the hamstrings kind of specifically, ? So we didn't talk yet about the inner thighs. Those are , the abductor muscles. There is a big inner thigh muscle.
That's called adductor Magnus. And it crosses the hip and it works like a fourth hamstring. So imagine for a second that you're in a downward dog position. So if you're in a downward dog and your back is rounded, right? Maybe you have tight hamstrings, right? Well, there's two different things you can look at.
Well, are my hamstrings tight or is my adductor Magnus tight? So if you're in a downward dog and your back is rounded, bend your knees. Lift your tail, so you make a nice sharp upside down V ? And then if you can maintain that and lengthen your legs, and , you're really getting a clear hamstring stretch.
Now, what, if you try this adjustment and it doesn't work, then it could be possible that your adductor Magnus is tight. ? Cause it works like a fourth hamstring. . So you want to start to investigate the different muscles that cross the hip, ? So, , the quads and the hip flexors doing hip flection and hip extension exercises where hip flection would be where you lift your thigh, hip extension would be your, when your, your thigh is back behind your pelvis.
So I taught the yoga portion of a class right by, um, Bethesda fountain. And so there was a whole group of runners and I taught the yoga portion and, and I, I remember watching the exercises that she did.
And thinking. Wow. Okay. Really cool. Let me, let me keep that in mind and what she did were exercises that had to do with hip flection and hip extension, ? So from the pelvis in that steady place, then you're working the muscles of hip flection and hip extension. She would do knee hikes. And then you do, but kicks, ? So you literally like run, kick your butt, run, kick your butt, run, kick your butt. And then the knee hikes, you would like hike your hip, your knees up high, you know, so you're working hip flexors and hip extensors.
So I think as a foundation for all of this. . Doing that thing where you're sitting on the hard surface, right. Finding where your neutral is for your pelvis . See where your limitations are. And then you go from there, you investigate, is it the hip flexors or hip extensors that I want to work on?
How am I add doctors? Are those tight? Are they okay? You know? And then there's the muscles along the outer line of your thigh, ? So technically the outer line of your thighs, it's actually connective tissue. . But what you want to think of as are the muscles. Near the pelvis that then thread into that connective tissue.
So there's a muscle in the front of your pelvis that goes from your hip points, it goes from the hip points and it kind of goes on a diagonal line too. If you had like a Stripe on the side of your pants, Right.
So that's where your TFL or tensor fascia Lata muscle would be. And that muscle threads into your iliotibial band, the connective tissue on the side of your thigh then crosses your knee. So you want to make sure that muscle is in good shape. And then the other muscles that sort of thread into your iliotibial band will also be important too.
So part of your glutes, so that's kind of the, the side of the thigh, , so, , oftentimes you need to either. Well, is it going to be stretch or release that you need? You, you need to balance out the muscles that cross the hip, find out if they're strong enough, if they're flexible enough, if they are released enough.
Kevin Chang: [00:22:25]
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Stretch, Strenght and Release [00:22:35]
Talk to us a little bit about this whole concept of stretch, strength and release, because we often talk to our runners about foam rolling, using devices to kind of, , release tension, the myofascial tension that might be there.
Frances Taylor: [00:22:50]
absolutely. So I first learned about this concept from my yoga mentor Macuna styles of structural yoga therapy. And, you know, I had been already a fitness trainer. I'd been teaching yoga, I'd been teaching Pilates. And so when I went through the structural yoga therapy course, Macuna styles talked about finding balance within the body with three pillars.
Strength stretch and release. Usually most of us have a pretty clear idea of what strength is and how to get it right. Stretch. You know, we've talked about a little bit, right. There's kind of more to it than we usually think of, but we kind of are clear on that, but what about release? ?
I think it gets overlooked oftentimes. But it's interesting. I got to watch Macuna working with individual clients and he would really have to kind of be intuitive about what does this person need? Is it strength? Is it stretch? Is it release? So the process would be to go through the range of motion and then the muscle testing, and then look at well what's happening.
And the amazing thing that I saw was that there could be someone whose range of motion was at a certain position and maybe it was. Looking very limited. And then McKenna would do a mobility exercise with them, um, or maybe some release and then it would open up tremendously
Kevin Chang: [00:24:05]
And what kind of mobility exercises are you talking about?
Frances Taylor: [00:24:08]
There's an exercise that I remember learning from my yoga mentor and I teach it now to my students who have knee issues. So I call it the VX exercise. So this will address the muscles that cross the hip. So imagine that you're lying down on the floor, on your abdomen and your knees are bent and that your shinbones are up against an invisible wall.
So what you do is you keep your knees all the way together, and then you separate your feet as to make the letter V and you move further into that shape further, further, further, further. So the feet get wider in that letter V and then you bring the feedback together and you do that a couple of times.
So you then do the opposite action. So you will cross your ankles and widen the knees a little bit and with your shinbones make the letter X. So, , within that letter X, then you move further, further, further, further into that shape so that the X gets sort of wider and squatter instead of tall and skinny.
And then you switch the ankle that's in the front and you do it again, and then you switch and then you switch. And the thing is, you know, it's obviously it's not a stretch. That's not a strength move. ? Cause you're not adding any load. It's an, it's not particularly difficult. It's a mobility exercise, ?
So you're, you're checking the mobility of when you do the letter V the medial rotation at the hip. And when you do the letter X, the lateral rotation at your hips, and you could look for, if one side is uneven, you might have sort of like a lopsided V or a funny shaped X. Then you can work to even that out.
Kevin Chang: [00:25:36]
Got it. Okay. So the difference between a mobility exercise and a stretch exercise is mobility. You're not actually stretching the muscle itself, you're checking for or increasing range of motion in like a socket joint or something to that extent.
Frances Taylor: [00:25:50]
Yeah. You're allowing something to kind of loosen up a little bit. It's not specifically a stretch.
Heels and Calves
Bertrand Newson: [00:25:55]
Great. And we're talking about some key areas, especially for runners and trigger points. Can we also get some feedback Francis on calves and Achilles and heel that we hear of on a regular basis with runners?
Frances Taylor: [00:26:08]
Yes, absolutely. Calves. So what you want to keep in mind? There's two parts to the calves.
There's the upper part. That's like the upper two thirds of your calf. That's the gastrocs. And then just below, that is what is called the soleus. Right? So there's two different stretches you can do to address each one. Say for example, you have your hands up against a wall and you have the front knee bent and you have the back leg back on an angle, ?
So your back foot is really super flexed. And then you want to let your heel press into the floor and have your leg be straight. So your knee is straight, but then you move your hips forward. ? So when your leg is straight, you're getting a stretch for your gas gastrocs.
So for the soleus, you're going to get the stretch into the lower third of your calf by slightly bending the knee and just peeling the heel off the floor a little bit, but the effort is still sort of a downward energy.
So I call it. Peel and kneel, then you should feel the stretch in the lower third of your calf. For runners in general, since we're talking about that stretch, you can kind of incorporate a hamstring, quad and lower leg, like calf stretch. All in one,
you can do it anywhere, you can hold onto a park bench, you can put your hand against a lamp post or a wall, but you do that stretch that we just talked about. That's going to be, you know, part one. So there's an a and B there's the straight leg and then the bent knee version.
Okay. And then number two would be to straighten both legs. And then if you had your hands on your hips, one hand on your hip to spill water out of your pelvic bowl. Which means you're folding at the hip socket, ? You're not going to round your back, for a hamstring stretch, right?
So you have one foot forward, one foot back, and then you could flex the front foot. So your heel is just on the floor. That makes it a little more intense. So I usually don't hold that one too long. So that's the a and the B on that one. And then if you stand on your front foot and then reach your hand to grab your back ankle and you keep your.
Backlight really parallel. So your knee will first start pointing down and you're bringing your heel in towards your tush. So that's going to be, you can think of that, like part a and part B on that one.
Sometimes in a yoga class, I'll go into kink dancer from there, which is a fun one. Will you lift your foot up, but that's just for fun, but you can do that like before you .
Kevin Chang: [00:28:23]
Yeah, yeah, yeah. When you're flexible or pliable enough to actually be able to lift your foot and bring it back behind you. Um, I know that, yeah, I've done some hot yoga up here in the area and it does feel like I can lengthen my muscles a little bit more or, um, have a little bit more stretch or flexibility when I'm doing hot yoga.
I know one of our upcoming podcast, guests, uh, Dean Karnazes and his newest book, he talks about doing hot yoga in his late forties, early fifties. It's been one of the things that has lengthened his running career. And I think his yoga instructor always says, she says, running's not necessarily good for yoga.
But yoga is great for running. I think it's so interesting as we talk well, you know how runners can benefit from this practice of yoga? You know, we've talked a lot about the legs, increasing flexibility, increasing range of motion, increasing the power that you can get from your hips when you can really focus on your pelvic bowl and that whole area.
We've barely brushed over the real benefits on core upper body, right? Like these are really places from our runners in particular, they've talked about this at length at nauseum, you know, when they've strengthened their core, they've seen their PR times decreased dramatically. ? So they've been able to run much, much faster.
And I think this comes down to, , and you can visualize this right when your upper body is a wet noodle and it's flopping in all around. You're not able to transfer the energy, the momentum, from the ground up through your body, into that straight lane motion.
And similarly, people don't really think about that upper body, but, , the upper body, you can transfer so much energy into your running gets you so much faster. We've talked about this with egg ways and, and other things.
Strenghtening the Core [00:30:11]
So talk to us a little bit about just the benefits of core and maybe even some of the Pilates movements that people can incorporate.
Frances Taylor: [00:30:19]
Yeah. Polities is so great for that to strengthen the core.
And it's, it's interesting. I'm thinking about, you're talking about like the wet noodle analogy. Like I think about like, from the dance perspective, like if there, if you see someone do like a partnering move, And you think of like the partner that's being lifted is actually doing a tremendous amount of work.
So like, even though the person on the floor is like the base, the person that's being lifted in order for it to be a good lift, they have to have a tremendous amount of energy. And it's like the stability adds stability. Right. So I'm thinking about that with just your own torso and your legs being the support, right?
So if you have a wet noodle, you have a soft core, it's not going to really help you. So Pilates is really great for strengthening the core. And then you also want to think of core in a 360 degree view. , it's not just your abdominals, it's your back too.
And, it's not just abs from doing crunches. They're actually four layers of, of abdominal muscles. So the rectus abdominis is the eight pack muscle, your internal and external obliques work on an are on a diagonal fiber, one on top of the other. And then the deepest layer of muscles is your transverse abdominals that you could think of like a weight belt that you tighten with your own muscles.
So, you know, by doing curl ups or sit ups, you get the rectus abdominis. And when you do a sort of twisting motions, That's going to get your oblique abdominals. And then, uh, in order to get the transverse abdominals, it's intra abdominal pressure. So when you exhale and you exhale with some force, you can try right now, exhale, exhale, exhale, and just, you can feel those muscles tighten up, right?
So it increases your intra abdominal pressure and Pilates. There's a simple series of five called the Pilates five, that kind of addresses all of these different muscles. So the whole thing's done on the floor. Five exercises. So the first one is actually one leg out at a time single leg extensions. That's called.
So with that one, you come into tight ball shape one, the end of the chest, the other leg on, on an angle and switch and switch and switch single leg extension double leg extension has you reach your arms by your ears on a diagonal. And your legs away from your diagonal, and then you sweep the arms and come back in a tight ball shape.
Next is an exercise called lower lift where you literally, you're just, you're lowering the legs a little toward the floor and lifting them back up.
And then scissors, you hold onto one leg. The other leg is far away from you. You do a double pulse and then you switch pulse, pulse, switched pulse pulse, and then crisscrossed . Are you reaching your elbow, cross your knee, but that's simple series of the Pilates five it's quick, it's easy.
You can do it anywhere. You know, you don't need any props for it. , that's a great little series you can use, , to strengthen your core.
Kevin Chang: [00:32:56]
That's incredible. Yeah. And we probably should just challenge ourselves, challenge our community to try the Pilates five, take this practice on, do it, every day for one week.
If you haven't done these core workouts in a while, your minimum effective dose is actually, you know, the bar is set pretty low, ? You can just do this for five minutes and you're going to see tremendous results, like pretty immediately. Um, I know my core is not fantastic.
So I am actually looking forward to doing this. And maybe we'll challenge our community to do this for, , the first week, two weeks after this podcast episode launches we'll get you guys out there doing it.
Coach, you had it. You had another question here.
Bertrand Newson: [00:33:33]
I do. I'm feeling better already. I am conversation. So
Frances Taylor: [00:33:39]
Bertrand Newson: [00:33:40]
Absolutely. So going into our conversation today, the way I had like an, a proceed yoga, uh, one as in, um, mobility, core strengthening, but also the mindfulness component. The sense of being at peace. Being able to channel energy.
Mindfulness and Body Wellness [00:33:59]
Are you able to speak to that as it can help a runner's mindset? And also if there's some medicinal ability to kind of help with soreness and things along those lines, because again, there's always a sense of Zinn with my friends who are very active in.
Frances Taylor: [00:34:14]
Oh, I'm so glad you asked that. I actually just did an interview with Sue headsman of the melt method and she does a tremendous amount of work on. Fascia and the, we haven't really talked about fascia so much, but the, like the connective tissue that runs throughout your body and in our conversation, I was so impressed to hear about the mindfulness, that just exactly what you're talking about, the mindfulness aspect, and the fact that just focusing on the present moment can have such a profound effect on your performance.
On so many other layers of who we are as well, your emotional state, your anxiety, if you have anxiety, or if you're feeling peaceful, the mind is such a powerful thing. It's such a powerful thing. And so, um, the mindfulness practice, basically, you know, when I'm teaching yoga class, I teach online classes as well.
If we do something that's kind of a little crazy, maybe. I mean, I don't want, I'm saying it's a little crazy only because I think it's not, usually what's done. But we literally, we start every class with 20 minutes of meditation. And it's interesting because there are a lot of different ways to go about it.
Like you can stick your toe in the water, right. Or you could just jump in and like, just do 20 minutes. And if you do like 20 minutes a day, it might seem like a lot, but I'll tell you what, some years ago we did a teacher training at the studio. And at the time I was sort of also going through the teacher training and I had a four-year-old and a seven-year-old.
And the task was to do everyday straight, 20 minutes of meditation and Hara was a mom of a four-year-old and a seven-year-old. So like, you can find ways if I could find ways to do it.
The thing is you, you might think it's impossible, but even as a mom meditating for 20 minutes a day, I found my four-year-olds climbed into my lap one day and meditated with me. And I was like, what? Oh my God, this is so awesome. Like, it was like she was breathing with me and like, it was like she was in the womb again.
So the meditation is a great way to, to kind of just calm the body, the mind, the spirit. And just to kind of allow yourself to sort of settle in and then you kind of have a better capacity to be in the moment.
You might not react as quickly. Uh, you might pause before saying that thing that might jump to your mind and, you know, we all do it. Right. You know, we're like, we're human, right.
In the yoga practice that, that I teach, there's, there's three things. They talk about mindfulness, skillfulness, and good will.
You know, so if you take those three things, you can really definitely weave that in with the mindfulness practice. You don't have to do 20 minutes of meditation a day. You can be mindful while you're washing the dishes. Or you can be mindful, , when you go for a walk.
There is such a thing. As walking meditation, I used to attend the, , Zen mountain monastery, , regularly. They had a Zen kids program, which was amazing. And even the kids did this, and so imagine like it must've been like 30 kids.
Sitting in a circle and meditating and then standing up and then walking one after the other. So maybe us as adults, we can kind of make it a game to find out when we can bring our mindfulness into practice. And maybe it's slowly walking to work.
Kevin Chang: [00:37:26]
Yeah. There's been so many research studies that talk about the benefits of meditation and we're all awake 16 hours a day. So can you just take 20 minutes of time away from devices away from, the distractions of the everyday. To focus on yourself to check in with your own body, your own mind, and wants you to be so much more productive at the end of the day when you can take those 20 minutes just to focus in on yourself.
So, I mean, I think that's okay. Fantastic.
Frances Taylor: [00:37:55]
I think it's great to know that the scientific studies are proving the effectiveness of. Meditation. And, again, if, if like sitting 20 minutes a day, , doesn't fit the bill immediately, , trying those moving meditations is , another practice that's possible.
Kevin Chang: [00:38:10]
Yeah. And maybe, you know, just turn off your earbuds for five to 10 minutes at the beginning of a warm up and check in with yourself as you're beginning of those runs, . Well, Francis, one thing that I wanted to get into is I know that we met each other through our mastermind group.
So you've been building a business. You have online classes, online courses, you know, we've talked a lot here about, , different practices that runners can take in terms of yoga practice. Sometimes it's a little bit hard to visualize over, , the audio podcast. So we know that we're going to put together a couple of yoga classes for our RaceMob audience, which will be extremely exciting.
And then you'll get that, that one-on-one attention. And you'll get a little bit more feedback in terms of, Hey, what is my range of motion here? What does it look like? So go to RaceMob.com/yoga. We're going to have a survey up there. We're going to have some information and so be part of those classes as well.
Starting a New Business [00:39:03]
Francis, talk to us a little bit about, you know, starting your own business, , tailored foot wellness, , getting everything set up, getting online classes, set up, your podcast. , how has that experience been
Frances Taylor: [00:39:14]
it's been a practice in and of itself. I'll tell you what , I've had tailored, fit wellness. Like , my business name I've done it for years, but it mainly, I started with in-home personal training and, I worked as an independent contractor working for other people.
And that's, pretty much as I was, , as, as a dancer, like doing in-home personal training was great. You know, it made sense. I worked with the body, you know, I could fit, fit with my schedule and, you know, so I did that for many years. And with regard to, , combining the different modalities, I basically had a tool bag, a great tool bag to work with people.
And specifically I ended up working with people with special conditions. Knee replacements, hip replacements, disc issues. So working in that capacity was a great learning experience. And then I was able to find a lot of tools to use with other students down the road. So within the last year or so, like we've moved everything online.
I was teaching a lot of private sessions in people's homes. Before that I was teaching in studios, . . So I had a dedicated group of students and we hopped immediately online and had one class online, , Monday mornings, you know, we just kept going and then we expanded it to Friday mornings and then we added a politest class on Wednesdays and another place class.
On Fridays at noon, , I started teaching some kids, yoga classes for a private school and, , I have some private clients as well. , Kevin, you, and I know each other , through Pat Flynn and, and I've think learning some of the business stuff from there has been so great. And then learning the tools and just having the motivation and focus to get that going. So I re redid my website, done a lot of work on that.
I started a podcast called tailor fit wellness. Which, , I do roughly hour long interviews I'm so grateful to be connected with so many people that are just so generous with their information. So we could just share anything wellness related , I talked to a home organizer on how to clear your clutter.
I talked to my son's good friends. Dad is like super fit, like actor and he's, he's the kind of guy that gets like, he's the poster guy, you know, like he's got like the ripped abs, you know, and it's like, and I know him as like the dad,
and, so I interviewed him on how. His discipline has really helped him like with his eating and his exercising, because he's also, , I'm, um, 52, right. So he's a little younger than me. , but , anyone in their fifties, like it's, I think he's a dad and like, counteracting, like the classic kind of dad, bod is kind of a thing, you know, And so, yeah, I've been so grateful to speak with people like Sue hit-man.
I just had an interview with her and she's just done so much work with fascia. She has such knowledge and is sharing it, , in our conversation. , Jennifer brilliant is, , someone who's, uh, in the yoga world that I recently spoke with. And, and so I'm, I'm grateful to speak with, you know, physical therapists that are sharing the information.
Uh, when a physical therapist we spoke about scoliosis. And so that's been really exciting, the tailor fit wellness podcast. I have another podcast. That's a little bit more of like a passion project. It's a spiritual podcast it's called as you wish. And in that one, we break down the book, the yoga of a shisha.
So we read one passage or I read the passage, I pick out one line from the book and then just give my kind of takeaway. And that's actually how you're supposed to do that practice. So it's, it's another way of kind of building mindfulness,
um, but yeah, started a YouTube channel. I did 108 videos in 108 days. Wow. And, um, I'm, I ha I've on Instagram. The funniest one for me is to get on Tik TOK because you know, I'm an old lady like, but you know, I did take talk this morning. I did like how to clean out your Berkey water filter, , and I'm a big fan of the Berkey water filter because clean water makes a huge difference.
You know, I have a thyroid issue and fluoride is not great for. Your thyroid. So I filter out the flier, the fluoride from the water I drink. You know, I want to continue to grow the online classes I want to, , eventually offer, , an online. Sort of library that people can subscribe to that's down the road. I know, but I have, you know, been teaching these classes on a regular basis. And what comes up with my students is a lot of issues with the knees we deal with and issues with the hips, um, and anything that comes up with my students.
The classes are, are not so huge, which is kind of intimate and really cool. I open up the classes so that students can kind of see a couple minutes early and chat with each other because that's fun, you know? And then I kind of open, open myself to, to the screen, you know, kind of right at time for class.
And then we just, we move, we do slow, we do 20 minutes of meditation right away. And then we move it through a slow flow practice and I'll ask my students, what do you want to focus on today? Or, you know, we'll, we'll flow through the different areas of the body. If we, if we don't have a specific focus and I'm just grateful to be able to work with so many wonderful people that, uh, you know, are really inspired to continue to move their bodies.
And with the business aspect, , I've been able to meet people like you guys, right. It's really exciting to be able to be on the podcast. Thank you so much for having me and, you know, and to learn about the different business, , things working with putting a newsletter together.
I put the podcast in the newsletter and like the YouTube videos and the newsletters. You get a little sprinkling in there in one place. And. You know, so it's good to continue to learn and grow and, and, , you know, I consider myself to be someone who's had a lot of challenge with technology. I'm sure I'm not alone, but you know, you keep at it and then just keep learning from other people.
And, and it's, , just with time, , it keeps getting better. So I'm excited about that.
Kevin Chang: [00:44:51]
Awesome. Well, we just want to say thank you so much, Francis. We really have enjoyed this conversation. I think our audience is going to get so much useful knowledge, useful tips that they can apply to their daily practice. So just want to say thank you so much for joining us today.
This has been fantastic.
Frances Taylor: [00:45:05]
Thanks so much.
Bertrand Newson: [00:45:06]
Kevin Chang: [00:45:07]
Well, I hope you enjoyed this episode of the RaceMob podcast. Check out all of the show notes or find a running buddy online at RaceMob dot com. Please subscribe to us on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. And leave us a review until next time.
Keep on moving.