Yoga + Running Ramblings
Since the urban adventure began, I’ve been doing more yoga and less running. And it feels soooo good. (Thank you Hale Holistic) Quite simply, I’m better when I practice yoga. In general, I’m more calm, relaxed and at ease. My back, shoulders, arms, legs, core…everything strengthens and feels good. Inhale. Exhale. Flow. Move. Stillness. Rest. Repeat.
Alas, the running…not so much. Some people do really well with this combo. For me, I find it’s all or nothing. When I run my hamstrings shrink an inch for every mile I log. Well, maybe not literally, but it feels like it. There’s a different release I get when I run. Anyone who’s run when they’re frustrated, anxious or angry knows how this feels. Running when you have excitement or indecision pent up is an incredible meditation in motion. But when I get back on my mat after running, I feel stiff, achy and like I took a step backward in my practice.
Over the years, I’ve released my “performance yogi” and sent her gently on her way. The more I practiced yoga, the more goal-oriented I was in mastering certain poses, back bending deeper, touching my toes to my head in a forearm balance and being as flexible as possible. It was a fun time of exploration practicing with incredible teachers, doing yoga 6 days a week, being acknowledged for having a beautiful practice, but I missed the point of a lot of it. Not to mention did some pretty permanent damage to my SI.
It’s interesting to see the array of fancy poses of my fellow yogis all over Facebook. Confession #1: my judgement comes screaming to the forefront of my brain. Thoughts like, “there’s so much more to you then this”, “did you post this shot for admiration?”, “enough with the handstands already”. Is it so bad that people post pictures of themselves doing yoga? (okay sometimes it’s all. the. time.) But no one’s being hurt and I can always hide them from my feed. My work here is to acknowledge that it annoys me and then gracefully move on. Confession #2: totally not there yet.
Nowadays, I show up, take class and that’s the beginning and end of it. I’ve freed up a lot of rules in my practice. I don’t have to go to a certain teacher or always choose the hardest, most advanced option anymore. If I feel energetic, I’ll do a backbend. If not, supported bridge with a block is just fine – delicious actually. If I have a strong aversion to a pose, I may ask myself “why” then move on. I still have my glory poses – the ones you just love and could hang out in all day, but I’m equally happy with a long sivasana covered in a blanket and supported with a bolster. And I’m loving this freedom and truly enjoying practicing each time now that there’s no goal or attachment to the outcome.
As M gets deeper into his marathon training, I decided to sign up for the OC Half Marathon as a sign of solidarity. The good thing…it’ll get me out running again. The maybe not so good thing…my flexibility will likely take a dive. This humbles me on my mat. But maybe that’s a good thing after. Either way, I’m grateful for a body that allows me the strength and flexibility to choose each day how I’ll move. ♥