So a while ago I posted about some benefits that runners and athletes can gain from practicing yoga. I just wanted to add some more…
So if you’re a runner, you know the kind of pressure that the impact of pressing your feet into the ground can put on your knees, back, ankles, etc. When the muscles are constantly getting strain on them, they do get stronger but if the same action is being done over and over, the muscle on the re-action side might not be getting as much attention and therefore can create an imbalance…
Yoga for balance! Runners can benefit from yoga this way because it allows you to practice from the inside and working your way out. The most common yoga combination, a sun salutation, works on evening out the opposing actions creating a balance within your muscles, breath, and your self.
Here are a few ideas to get an equal balance to body:
Cow-face fold (Gomukhasana) Benefits:
Stretch out your glutes and hips–including the hard-to-reach deep muscles–and your IT band.
Half lord of the fishes twist (Ardha matseyendrasana)
Opens the shoulders, neck and hips, stretches the IT band.
Child’s pose (Balasana)
Stretches hips, thighs and ankles gently; can help alleviate back pain.
Legs up the wall (Viparita Karani):
Stretches the hamstrings gently, allows blood that has accumulated in the feet and legs to re-circulate in the body. Offers a gentle release for the low back.
Also a reminder: Yoga for The Hoyt Foundation is happening Feb 4th! Please come and support a great cause. Check out my last post for all the info.
We are putting together a yoga class/benefit for The Hoyt Foundation! Here is the information:
Yoga for a Cause
Please join us in raising awareness and donations for Team Hoyt!
The Hoyt Foundation strives to help those who are physically disabled become active members of
February 5th, 2011 10:30 AM (2 sessions if first fills)
At Synergy Physical Therapy. (Route 6 in Fairhaven, behind Mermaids)
$10 Donation (minimum), please sign up by contacting:
Lindsay Wilkinson @ LindsayLWilkinson@gmail.com
Pam Teves @ firstname.lastname@example.org
So there are a huge amount of ‘yoga apparel’ companies out there and every turn there seems to be a new company starting but are these clothes really necessary to practice? Not at all (but definitely great to support local business!)
I’ve had many people ask me what they should wear to class, men and women, so here are a couple of things to keep in mind when taking a class:
1- Downward dogs are putting you almost upside-down. A tight(er) fitting shirt, or a simple tuck could avoid an awkward flashing or strange maneuver to fix it.
2- Leg lifts, lunges, and splits can all be part of class, if you going to wear shorts keep in mind the length and also if they are loose-fitting (a weird pose might just create a straight shot up your shorts) It might be comfortable to wear a spandex type of shorts or if that is not comfortable, maybe a looser fitting pair over them.
3- Socks aren’t necessary and actually might be a bad idea if it is causing slipping on your mat. If you really want to wear socks, there are some available with grip on the bottom to help you hold poses.
Mostly, just be comfortable and able to move freely! If you feel weird without any accessories don’t forget your [reusable] water bottle and, or course, your mat!
Throughout my blog I mention different types of yoga that one can practice. To clarify what different types there are, I’ll be taking the next couple months to dive into a couple different types and explain what each entails.
Power Yoga: is actually a generic term for a mix of vinyasa yoga and muscle toning / conditioning moves. Throughout a yoga practice there are opportunities to work on different muscle groups to improve strength and endurance. For example, while in utkatasana (chair pose; see picture below) you can rock up onto your toes and then back to your heels, while keeping your backside in place, strengthening your calves.
Power yoga also focusing on using your breath to flow through movements and poses (like most flow yoga practices). Though more vigorous than the average class, this would be for a person who is looking for a bit of fitness in their yoga routine, but don’t want to miss out on the other benefits that yoga provides (mentally and physically).
Power yoga doesn’t usually follow a set of certain poses, but can use the flow movements (like a sun salutation (Surya Namaskara)) to increase heat in the body and set the stage for more challenging poses. Here is a good article for an overview of the history and links to a more in-depth look into power yoga.
In the world of running, there are many different levels that you can consider yourself to be in. Marathoner, 10k runner, jogger, walk/jogger, or even if you just like to walk, yoga offers benefits that can improve many aspects of your routines.
Stamina. What better way to be able to improve your run with more cardiovascular endurance and having better breath control. Yoga has many different breathing techniques/exercises that are used in your practice that increase your ability to breath better.
Strength. There are different types of yoga and I encourage everyone to try a couple of different types to find one that you like the best. For a runner, a style close to vinyasa or ashtanga might be the one that is a good fit for you. These styles use fluid movement and can include more challenging poses, that people who are looking for a fitness challenge might enjoy. Try doing a nice, slooooow chattarunga and hold a boat pose and see your strength in your arms and abs improve.
Here is just a short list of benefits. I’ve found that keeping these posts shorter, encourages readers to read the whole thing! So I will follow up with more benefits for runner at another time. Until then, namaste.
New blog post coming soon. Promise. Wedding got me a bit distracted!
Many people do yoga and don’t realize the long-standing traditions that are associated with it. Depending on the type of yoga that you choose to participate with there are backgrounds to reach a deeper practice. Overall there are some basic that are part of all yoga practices.
The Yamas and Niyamas are part of Patanjali’s yoga sutras of Ashtanga yoga. Yoga sutras are one of the fundamental texts that this yoga stems from. The yamas are ways that you try to live your life outwards. And the Niyamas are inward disciplines that one can use to create a better sense of self. There are a total of ten of these Yamas and Niyamas. Below is the list of all of them and their definitions:
Yama: Precepts of Social Discipline
Ahimsa — Non-violence. Not harming other people or other sentient beings. Not harming oneself or environment.
Satya — Truthfulness. Not intending to deceive others in our thoughts, as well as our words and actions
Asteya — Non-stealing. Not taking that which is not given.
Brahmacarya — Using your life force meaningfully. The spirit of this precept is conservation of energy for the purpose of spiritual practice. This includes not only sexual restraint, but protecting our energy for instance by avoiding endless chattering with no clear purpose.
Aparigraha — Abstention from greed. Not coveting that which is not ours. Avoidance of unnecessary acquisition of objects not essential to maintaining life or spiritual study.
Niyama: Precepts of individual Discipline
Sauca — Cleanliness. Not only external cleanliness of the body, but attending to internal cleanliness such as avoiding the impurities of anger and egoism. Moderation in diet.
Santosa — Contentment. Not spiritual complacency, but acceptance of the external situation we are allotted in this life.
Tapas — Perserverance. Deep commitment to our yoga practice.
Svadhyaya — Self-study. Spiritual self-education.
Isvara pranidhana — Surrender of the self to God. Acknowledgment that there is a higher principle in the universe than one’s own small self. Modesty. Humility.
Next time you practice think of one of these ideas and use it on your practice and then work on using it off your mat. But how do all of these relate to practicing yoga? Well not all of them do, so choose one that does. For example: Aparigraha – Not coveting that which is not ours. This can be done during practice by not looking at others practicing and wanting to have a practice like theirs, but taking others out of your practice you bring the attention back to yourself.
This is just one lesson in yoga, but hopefully you can use it in your practice and become more comfortable with yourself on and off the mat.