Incorporating Strength with Yoga

September 15, 2012 § 4 Comments

I went to yoga this morning.

Sweaty, tough, beautiful vinyasa.

The sun salutations were plenty. One legged chaturangas, too. So many utkatasanas (chair pose), core cultivation, crescent lunging, crow (side crow is beyond me; watch superstar Kathryn Budig’s unbelievable video below) and twists.

My arms, back and sides were awaken. They are sleeping again now, but will probably scream at me tomorrow morning after a long night’s rest.

I walked out knowing that the addition of weekly guided vinyasa is going to help me build strength in areas that running alone can’t provide.

Will I have the stamina for both? This remains to be seen.

On the schedule tomorrow is any easy 6-8 miles. Compared to this morning’s yoga class it will be like a good old walk in the park!

Tell me running friends…. Do you incorporate yoga and/or strength training to improve performance?

XOM

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My Dancing Feet

April 21, 2012 § 10 Comments

I rarely take my hair out of its place atop my head. Always in a knot, put there when it’s wet, it’s easy and it works.

Today it was tied as it always is, but came down during yoga and the dance that ensued.

I used to dance.

I used to rave and club and watch strobe lights turn the faces of my friends the most beautiful shades of blue and green and red; yellow, orange, and pink.

The early nineties in San Francisco were a playground for a free bird like me.

I pierced my nose, danced all night, had cocktails at the End Up for breakfast and wore platform shoes with mini skirts and knee socks. I drove around in a small white Mercedes and cut my hair as short as Mia Farrow with long whispy pieces by my ears.

Life is different today and that time of my youth is a long distant memory. In between play dates and pre-school pick-up, there’s not much opportunity to dance anymore, other than the occasional kitchen pajama party with the iPhone on full blast.

Unless I can manage to attend Carson‘s springtime fire generating vinyasa class, which I did this morning, my dancing feet don’t get much time to do their thing in the presence of people above the age of four.

The class was packed with wall to wall mats. The chatter of eager and waiting yogis was like cheerful music and I tried to record the sound with my phone, though when I played it back the energy that had felt palpable was missing. The waft of incense welcomed me and I found a spot in the center of the room.

I had a feeling there would be some dancing. Fire practices generate heat and the best way to do so is to move. The faster you move the more heat you produce. It’s not a rocket science, really.

The class itself was filled with lots of chaturangas and forward folds, utkatasanas, a few inversions, and a good bit of chanting.

The final movement was a dance called tandava kriya (Shiva’s dance).

Shifting from leg to leg to beats times two, elbow to opposite knee and back, twisting slightly at the waist to the thumping of drums, my pony started to fall.

I pulled out the elastic and my mess of a mop fell down in front of my face.

Back and forth I hopped from foot to foot, elbow to knee and so on. I closed my eyes tuning out anything but the drums. One, two, switch. Back and forth.

After a minute, my pounding heart insisted on slowing, which gave me a chance to look around. I brushed my hair out of my face and opened my eyes to find the entire space filled with dancing yoginis; heated hearts pounding together, lots of free pony tails,  tendrils falling around shoulders.

It was freedom. A moving meditation. Letting go.

For a moment on my mat the young, wild, and free twenty-something me had a chance to escape.

I recognized her underneath all that flying hair.

We were connected and time was suspended.

I didn’t realize how much that girl had been missed.

She was an awful lot of fun.

And boy could she dance!

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