jump to navigation

Warrior, too February 23, 2011

Posted by Merrilee in LMJS.

For a while I’ve been wanting to write about yoga and running. I’m not really knowledgeable about either to speak authoritatively but I can give my general impressions.

As part of the LMJS training program, we were invited to attend a talk on injury prevention at SOL in Oakland. Having sat out the OFR last year due to injury, I was an eager student. What I found surprised me, but maybe shouldn’t have. Balance on one foot at a time with no shoes. Stretch out your hamstrings. Your hips need to be flexible. Work on flexibility in your back and shoulders. It sounded a lot like the yoga I’d been practicing off and on for years. For a long time, I’ve been drawn to yoga, but have never had the discipline to maintain a home practice or been able to afford a membership at a studio. The lecture on injury prevention made me more determined to establish a regular yoga practice, so I attached myself to Barefoot Movement in downtown Oakland.

I found Barefoot Movement via Living Social, but what has kept me with them is their rock bottom pricing and great instructors. More than doing yoga for yoga’s sake, I feel like yoga really complements my running. I’ve always had tight hips, and as a runner, my hamstrings always need work. I have persistent neck and shoulder issues that respond well to stretching and strengthening. With all of this, is it any wonder that yoga is great for me?

But there’s more. I benefit from the reminders that are implicit in yoga. Be strong, but soft. Ground yourself. Balance. My two favorite poses are Warrior II and Downward Dog, because in each of these I can feel power running through my body. Each limb feels powerful and adds to the whole. The more I press and balance effort through my arms and legs, the stronger I feel. “Keep your face soft, your eyes gazing gently” are words I carry with me in and after class, into my running practice, into my life practice. I may not always be successful, but I often think about keeping my face soft and my eyes gazing gently while keeping lines of energy running through my body.

I’m also loving inversions. There’s something just … fun about going upside down, in handstand or headstand. I’m probably missing the yogic point of these poses — okay, they are about creating more lines of energy, which feels strong and powerful. But more than that they feel like a summer day, when I could tumble down a hill head over heels and didn’t worry where my limbs landed. This is a long way from last year when I felt broken and old. I feel young and strong, and like I’ve finally found the right combination for me.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: