Taking Yoga off the Mat

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Most people come to Yoga for the physical benefits — and there’s no denying there can be many physical benefits. Many people stay with Yoga because of the physical benefits. More people stay because of the mental/spiritual benefits. Those benefits can benefit your running and/or everyday life, too.

Not going deeply into the pose right away
It’s really tempting to just muscle into a pose the first time you do it. It’s a really poor idea, though, and can be a recipe for a quick injury — or an overuse injury over time.

Running: Not going out too fast. Most of us have crashed and burned in a race because we gave into the excitement and started out way too fast.

Not warming up for a Peak Pose
Often Yoga teachers will design their class carefully to warm up students for a peak pose. Generally that pose is the “hardest” pose of the class. Sometimes it’s the pose we love to bust out for those IG selfies — but without warming up first. Another recipe for injury.

Running: many runners never warm up for a run because they just want to hit the road and get going, or lack of time, or maybe simply because it’s cold out (guilty!). The whole point of the warm up is to literally warm up your body to run, so that you don’t injure yourself.

Noticing Your Breath
In Yoga your breath is your clue to whether or not you’ve gone over your edge. When it gets short and choppy, you know you’re pushing too hard.

Running: Yup, pretty much the same thing!

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Starting with a good foundation
It’s important to have a good foundation in your Yoga poses — often this is your feet. Are they turning out or in when they should be pointing forward? Are your ankles collapsing in or out? Is your weight evenly distributed across your whole foot?

Running: Substitute base for foundation, although what your feet are doing in running is important too! We build our base, making sure that we slowly and carefully prepare our bodies for longer and harder runs further down the road.

Finding Our Edge
In Yoga we never want a pose to be too easy or too hard; we call this finding our edge, that sweet spot where we’re stressing our body in a good way, but not feeling pain.

Running: In running we’re trying to find the edge for pushing ourselves hard enough so that we grow as a runner — but not pushing so hard that we get injured.

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It truly is the journey, not the destination | Photo by Visually Us on Pexels.com

It’s the Proverbial Journey
Every day on your Yoga mat is different. Something that felt easy yesterday can feel out of reach today. One day we can balance forever, and the next all we do is wobble and fall all over the place. It’s why Yoga is called a practice, because there is no such thing as a perfect pose — there’s always a way to go deeper or improve.

Running: in running it’s not just about the race, it’s about the training that leads up to the race. You may have your eyes on the prize (a goal race, getting faster, going longer), but it’s the training that will get you there. You have to figure out a way to enjoy the process, the training. Otherwise you’re likely to skip the parts you don’t like — plus you’ll be spending a whole lot of time doing something you don’t enjoy.

Union
Yoga can literally be translated as union: union of body, mind, and spirit.

Running: Yup, pretty much the same thing!

Another “translation” for Yoga is the Science of Joy. At its heart, Yoga is meant to remind us that just as our body, mind, and spirit are connected, so we are connected to every living thing. Yoga — not just asana, but the whole package (asana, breathwork, meditation, etc.) — shows us that when we are present, mindful, and unattached to the outcome, our true nature is joy.

Now that’s a lesson we can take into everything in life, not just our running!

What makes you feel connected to your body? 

What makes you feel connected to others — even in times like these?

Do you think life is hard and then you die, or can you find the joy even in difficult situations? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.

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20 thoughts on “Taking Yoga off the Mat

  1. This is a very nice comparison between Yoga and Running, Judy.
    I feel connected with my body when I am out running. Especially when I’m out in nature and I can only hear the birds, the wind and my own breathing. It’s so relaxing and restorative.

    And I feel connected to others by reading posts like yours. It’s a very upbuilding and motivating company!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve never really thought about the parallel between running and yoga. This post was great at pointing out all the comparisons!

    I have some of my best runs during the Fall. I love those crisp, early morning runs where it’s just me and road, my music and minimal cars and other runners.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a clever post. I’ve always seen the two as separate so I love how you’ve made these awesome connections between the two.

    I absolutely LOVE the journey to the goal. Often it’s the journey I enjoy even more than the actual race – there are so many lessons, experiences, joys and lows that get you to that start line.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice comparisons.

    I figured out now why yoga doesn’t call me … at all.

    Like Catrina said above, I also feel connected with my body when I am out running. I feel energized when I can move from place to place and see different trees, flowers, people and hear various sounds. It’s why I detest the treadmill. I do not like to be attached to one place. Walking and hiking appear to me for the same reason.

    I do yoga from time to time because like a running training group, it’s good for you.. It’s the only time I warm up, cool down and do drills lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting that you say you need to move from place to place. I guess I’m better at the journey part than I realized, I think it’s more being out there & enjoying the process for me. Sometimes, anyway.

      For just moving from place to place, walking is far easier, LOL!

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      1. Walking is definitely easier. I do a lot of that esp. during the pandemic. Easier is not necessarily better. I feel better after running 3 miles than walking 3 miles. Better in this case means more confident, more successful etc.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, Judy. I feel most connected to my body when I’m out running in nature by myself. I do frequent body checks to make sure my breathing isn’t too hard or there isn’t an ache I need to listen to. Yoga is wonderful for connecting to my body as well. I’ve been doing yoga at home these past few months but I love my instructor at the gym and have missed her class dearly.

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  6. I love this comparison! I must get back to my yoga, I find it hard to do it on my own even though my lovely teachers have been offering zoom classes. This month I really will sort out the room up here and then I should be able to fit my mat in and do something. Watch this space!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh wow, I learned something new today. I didn’t realize the similarities between yoga and running. Thank for sharing this with us.

    I feel connected with my body when I am running. I think about many different things but also pay attention to how I am feeling. Many times it makes me feel better and that is always the best feeling.

    Thank you for linking up with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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