Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category
There is nothing better than adding some aromatherapy to Yoga, meditation or even random times where either stimulus or relaxation need a boost.
I use Aromatherapy often and found this great site that offers quality brands at terrific prices. So check out Puritan’s Pride and let your senses be pleased and your being be eased!
Loosen Up that SKELETON this week!
Thank you http://heavymetalyogi.blogspot.com for this great picture!
Don’t forget to RSVP~
Yoga For Runners
With Chris Courtney, E-RYT
•90 min. specialized yoga workshop followed by an optional 30 min. run
•Focuses on the specific needs of runners
•Builds a strong mind-body-breath connection
•Works on key muscle imbalances
•Flows through a series of asanas and fascia-freeing movements
•Will help you run more fluidly while preventing injuriesFriday, October 19 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Mountainside Fitness – Peoria, AZ 9745 W. Happy Valley Rd. $25/person or 2 for $40
To register email: email@example.com
One of the many benefits of running solo is it provides an opportunity to think. When I hit the pavement, it is truly a meditative time for me, one that I often use to ponder situations for which I’m seeking answers.
I set out for a 15-mile run today as part of my current marathon training. I was feeling some knee discomfort the first three miles, but by mile 7, I was enveloped by my runner’s high feeling like I could conquer 100 miles. By mile 10, my hips and hamstrings started tightening up, but by mile 13, I felt strong and limber.
As I worked through this series of physical and mental situations, I was asking myself the entire time, “Is it worth it at this point in my life to train for another marathon?” The reward of accomplishing another goal is huge, but the grueling training schedule takes a big toll on my personal life as well as my physical and mental being. Not to mention the effects the increased mileage has on my progressing Yoga practice.
I’ve been pondering the pros and cons for a couple of weeks now and have been conflicted as to what to do. And then it dawned on me – the place that I am at today, on my YogiRunner journey, is a place where I am seeking balance and peace. I love Yoga just as much as running and want to passionately practice both! I don’t want to sacrifice one for the other or go so extreme with one that it negatively impacts the other. For once in my life, I am willing to take things in moderation.
So I made the decision. The decision to continue with my two passions in a balanced effort. Marathons will always be there for me to run. But for now, I want to be free to run and run to be free. No pressure, no pain. Just the continued peaceful practice of my two favorite activities; running and Yoga.
It took me many years to appreciate Yoga. I was often confused about what the different types of Yoga classes were and even what I was supposed to be accomplishing by taking a class. Should I be stretching? Should I be meditating? If so, why are my arms burning so much in Downward Facing Dog? I never quite knew what to expect or what I was doing, until I realized that it was about so much more than the physical practice.
Up until recently, I really wasn’t sure what the difference was between a Power class and a Flow class. And these were just the simple terms I was accustomed to seeing on gym schedules. Now that I’ve stepped outside the gym and into the vast world of Yoga, I’m seeing classes with labels like; Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar and Kundalini. And then there are the various forms of “Hot Yoga” like Bikram, Baptiste, Moksha, etc.
Some of these big words can be intimidating and I promise there will be more to come about the different types of classes and what to expect from each. But for now, I’d like to touch on the backbone of it all so that hopefully you can reap the rewards no matter what type of class you are in.
Power Yoga is the type of class I prefer most. Power yoga is an Americanized version of Ashtanga Yoga popular in many gyms. This type of class typically combines flexibility and strengthening, offering continuous movement from one pose to the next. I’m a pretty high energy person, so a faster paced, strengthening type class works well with my personality and fills the need of what I’m trying to achieve. Strength, flexibility and focus are greatly important as they pertain to my running so improving these areas through a Power Yoga class has been doubly beneficial both for my Yoga practice and my running.
Practicing Yoga wasn’t an easy beginning for me though. I struggled through the physical poses for quite some time before I really grasped what was going on. And when I say I struggled, I mean it in every way you can imagine. My hips, hamstrings, shoulders and just about every other area of my body were super tight so even the slightest of stretches actually hurt. The balance poses seemed impossible because by the time we got to them I was usually shaky and way over-focused. I literally tried to “will my way” through everything I was doing. I heard the instructors telling me to focus on the breath, but to me that just meant “keep breathing while you nail this pose.”
I can’t tell you exactly when it happened, but one day it finally clicked. I actually paid attention to what the instructor was telling me to do with my breathing and things started changing. The minute I embraced the concept of letting my breath be the foundation of my practice, the poses started coming more naturally. The stretches didn’t hurt as much and low and behold, I was able to nail those poses I once thought to be impossible. I finally realized that my will was actually getting in the way of my practice!
I’ve been reading Autobiography of a Yogi – a book that has opened my mind and my heart in so many ways. One of the most influential passages I have read thus far is this; “Yoga practice….would be ineffectual without the concepts on which Yoga is based. It combines the bodily and the spiritual in an extraordinarily complete way.” The intention of Yoga is so much more than nursing an injured running knee or learning to do headstands. It goes deeper than I ever imagined. One of my favorite Yoga instructors, Seth Nichols, states it very simply, “Yoga works from the inside out on all fronts.”
Ah ha! So the practice of Yoga is more than just showing up to class and stretching, strengthening and trying to nail poses. It has a greater purpose – one that crosses over into more than just the physical. If I really breathe, really focus on clearing the mind; I get the big fat cherry on top of the “workout.”
So can this be achieved in any type of Yoga class? I would think so. As long as we stay focused on our own practice, our own stillness and realize that the breath is the backbone of the entire class– there is no reason we cannot reap the rewards, regardless of the type of class we are in.
But let’s face it…we all have different personalities and unique preferences. A Power Yoga class may work perfectly with my personality, but you may find a slower, more meditative type class works well for you. There is no right or wrong – no one size fits all.
My suggestion is this – try different classes and find the ones that suit you best. Even after you’ve found what you are looking for; keep trying other instructors and other settings. The best way to understand Yoga is to take Yoga! Don’t stuff yourself into a box of just one type or just one way. There is a HUGE world of Yoga out there with so much to learn and so much to experience. Just remember, the breath is what will take you to new heights with your practice.
So next time you find yourself struggling through a pose or a class, let go of everything and just breathe!
The Sweet Potato Stir-Fry is my all time favorite recipe and the meal I eat the night before a race, no question about it. But after a 10-mile run in the AZ heat followed by Power Hot Yoga, this exhausted girl realized that my beloved recipe makes for a great post workout meal as well! The Sweet Potato Stir-Fry provides a healthy, balanced meal that the whole family is sure to enjoy!
Sweet Potato Stir-Fry
1 C. water
1/2 C quinoa
1 medium sweet potato
4 tsp. canola oil
12 oz. chicken breast (cut into small pieces)
1 medium onion
1 medium red bell pepper
1 garlic clove (diced)
1 tsp. cumin
1 C. frozen peas
1 jalapeno chile pepper (or NM green chile)
salt & pepper to taste
- Combine water with quinoa and boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until water is absorbed (12-15 minutes).
- Boil sweet potato in water (3-4 minutes).
- Heat 2 tsp. oil and cook chicken until starting to brown (transfer to bowl).
- Add 2 tsp. oil to pan and cook onion and jalapeno for 1 minute.
- Add bell pepper, garlic and cumin. Cook 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in peas and chicken. Cook 2 minutes.
- Add quinoa and sweet potato. Cook, stirring frequently.
- Season with salt & pepper.