ok- so i’m a slacker. well, i don’t think anyone would ever say that about me really, but i haven’t posted anything in a while. so i’m at least a blog-slacker. i could go into a string of reasons/excuses for why i haven’t found the time to write a new post, but there’s nothing fun about that. so i won’t go down that road right now.
what i can tell you is that what has helped to keep me sane over the past few weeks (in addition to running of course…) is my 90 minutes.
90 minutes in the heat…105 degrees.
90 minutes where my brain is quiet.
90 minutes where someone else does the thinking for me.
2 to 3 times a week…for just over two years now.
my therapy. my sanity. my peace.
while i tend to first and foremost identify myself as a runner…i am finding that that definition of myself has been changing. runners are competitive…and are taught to sometimes push past the pain. yogis are accepting and work with what their body is able to do at that moment in time. while the two seem to be counter intuitive, what most of us runner-yogi hybrids will tell you is that yoga actually enhances our performance. it’s actually what keeps me moving these days. so here is what i’ve learned since i started my bikram practice two years ago.
- it keeps me running. there is a common misconception among many hard core gym-rats and cardio-addicts that yoga just isn’t hard enough. i challenge you to stay in the hot room for 90 minutes and tell me that it’s not difficult or challenging enough. being kind to my body in the hot room has allowed me to continue to run without experiencing the pain in my hips or back that typically followed a long run.
- it improves my focus. it’s truly the only time that i can quiet my mind. once i learned this, it helped to make those difficult long runs when I just couldn’t find my groove more bearable. it has taught me to be present. to appreciate the sights, sounds, smells and sensations that only running through the city can offer.
- i’ve discovered an amazingly supportive community. my yoga teachers at bikram yoga baltimore possess a sense of calm and positivity that is just infectious. i can have a horrible day at work and be grumpy as all hell heading into class- but i leave with a clear and open mind- feeling nothing short of amazing. try it. surround yourself with people who have learned to find joy in the present moment. it’s difficult to leave a class without having a greater appreciation for your life. even on the bad days.
- i understand my body better. yoga has a way of really bringing your strengths and weaknesses front and center. i tend to choose to ignore them during running, but i’ve learned to begin to pay closer to attention to them…understand what’s going on…and learn how to adjust and work through it before injuring myself. all due to yoga.
- it’s made me stronger. yoga isn’t just about flexibility and stretching. you need to be strong to hold those postures…and it freakin burns sometimes. you’ve never experienced a longer minute than the first time you do standing head to knee pose. (or…to be honest…the 100th time you do it either!) for someone who hates lifting weights, yoga has helped me to target specific areas and strengthen muscles in places i didn’t even know existed.