Running is passion. The freedom of the it. The drive. The zone.
I use to run a lot. I played soccer. EVERYDAY. Twice a day. None stop. I was in love. That’s where I felt free, where I belonged. And then injury brought it all to a SCREECHING halt. That was a hard one to stomach. And now, looking back, it didn’t have to end that way. There were options, though being young and inexperienced without a good mentor, coach, etc… well, water under the bridge…pick your fav cliche…Here I am. I learned a lot. And my passion has shifted a bit. I can’t run anymore but I have found this thing called yoga.
And just let me say this: It’s not just stretching folks. There is a ton more to yoga than stretching. You haven’t made it to the right class or teacher if you’re bored, if your runner’s heart hasn’t been challenged.
Yoga is about balance. Balanced action. On the physical level, joints that are SUPPORTED and ALIGNED. Strong hips muscles and loose hip muscles. Long hamstrings and strong quads. Strong back and strong abs. Injury comes when something gets out of balance, then a joint experiences too much wear and tear. Yoga is about warming up the body and muscles, then stretching and strengthening, a big key in injury prevention. Warm muscles stretch and work better. Yoga is about consistent activity leading to consistent results. Muscles have memory, so that short hamstring will want to stay short for a while. Consistent and nurturing stretching will encourage the hamstring to remember longer, not feel like it’s being abused which can lead to rebellion and injury.
For example, in your triangle pose you’ll learn to respect the limitations of your inner thighs and hamstrings, use your quads to help the hamstrings loosen. You’ll find the back stretch and the upper body strength and mobility to align the body in a wonderful expression of strength and freedom. Then when you have that down, you could progress to really deepening your core strength by using your own power to align. What does that mean…barely touch the floor or block with that bottom hand. Lengthen that bottom side. There will always be room to grow. Each yoga pose will have it’s challenges. It’s a super cool thing to find the openings and the strength which leads to a new level of body and mind awareness.
On other levels, yoga will help with mental focus and breathe awareness. This is where a deeper, more steel like ability comes into play. And wisdom. Remember balance. We learn how to stick with it and when to pull back. We learn more about our bodies, where we are in space and how to be solid in some of those crazy poses. It can get real juicy. It’s always a dance, but when you learn to dance well, your performance goes up and your injuries go down. And you feel like a ROCKSTAR!
Bottom line. Here’s what yoga will do for the runner. With consistent and teachable effort.
Injury Prevention, Better Performance, Flexibility/ Range of Motion, Lung capacity, Mental Focus, Longevity, Endurance and Strength
It doesn’t matter what you know about yoga, how flexible you are, what clothes you wear, how old you are, how young you are, if you are man or woman. Yoga is so flexible in how it’s taught. Find yourself a GOOD teacher. And stick with them awhile. You’ll learn some really cool things, get stronger. Calmer. More grounded. Might learn things that will totally blow your socks off if you want. It’s not just about mastering a certain pose, it’s about the fun that you’ll have getting there!