Although I know a little something about yoga, I certainly don’t know anything compared to my friends Sara and Kelley. I like to do a few yoga poses at night and in the morning after my meditation (still going strong on my 30 day challenge), but that’s about it. There was a point in time when I did Bikram Hot Yoga every Wednesday and I loved it. Unfortunately, it was just such a time commitment that I gave it up after about 6 months. I’d rather be running 🙂
Tonight while going through my Google Reader, I came across this article titled: “Hurry up and Stand Still: Why Runners Need Yoga.” It is written by a marathon veteran (123 marathons to be exact) who after many many years of running, finally decided to take up yoga after struggling with injuries. Since incorporating yoga into his workout, the author is avoiding injuries and has improved his muscle flexbility. The type of yoga he prefers? Ashtanga yoga.
I’m not going to pretend to know much about this style of yoga. I’ve taken a few classes and did a little research on the internet. Other than that, I really don’t know anything. But I do want to share a little of what I found what I found.
I think this quote from the article sums up my experience along with what I read about Ashtanga Yoga:
Then one day I was working out at my gym when I noticed a class doing a very different kind of yoga — power yoga, or Ashtanga. No props, no time wasted, and the people were in constant motion. Granted, it was a more “sedentary” motion, if you will — a series of poses like Downward Facing Dog and Warrior and Triangle — but they switched from one to the other so fast it felt like a real workout. In fact, the only thing I didn’t like about Ashtanga was that the pace really wore me out. Turns out that the 30-something yoga students were in better shape than the Marathon Man.
In reading about ashtanga yoga from their website, this really grabbed my attention:
The definition of yoga is “the controlling of the mind” [citta vrtti nirodhah] (Jois 2003 10). The first two steps toward controlling the mind are the perfection of yama (moral codes) and niyama (self purification and study). -Ashtanga.com
As a runner, I think “the controlling of the mind” is perhaps much more important than the miles of training. If I don’t discipline my mind, I could shortchange myself on workouts, bail out of a race (ummm, Boston?), or sleep in when I need to be out running. Sometimes its hard to remember the end goal when you’re tired, grouchy, or just too busy. This is when mind control is essential.
I’ve always known yoga is important to stretch the muscles and bring balance to the body. However, this definition of yoga, “controlling of the mind,” is giving me another reason to visit the yoga studio across the street. Sometimes running is hard – think long runs, tempo runs, intervals, humid runs, or runs when you feel like you’d just rather be sleeping. We all have our own mind tricks or games that we use to get over those barriers. I think yoga might be my new 30 day challenge.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,