Most of us are not very kind to ourselves, myself included. When we look into the mirror we hate what we see. We think things like – I am fat, I’ve got a big head, big butt, small breasts, big breasts, too many curves, not enough curves etc… whatever it may be, we always find something wrong. However, coming face-to-face with ourselves and confronting these negative beliefs can be one of the most difficult things, yet one of the most critical steps in our journey to true self-awareness and self-love. Continue reading Break Up With Your Poor Body Image!
Having tight hips and legs can be very painful for a runner, but yoga can help and be a game-changer. Runners, like myself, often suffer from chronically tight hip flexors, hamstrings and calves. This tightness/immobility can lead to pain up the body and along the spine. So being able to lengthen, open, and stretch these areas is important. Yoga will not only help a runner’s performance, but it will also help them prevent injuries and keep them healthy & safe so they can continue to enjoy being able to run!
I recommend that all runners attend a yoga class a few times a week, but if you can’t, try to carve out 10 minutes out of your day day, and practice a few of the poses below to help your running. Begin today and start to see and feel the effects that yoga has on your body.
Strengthen and lengthen your leg muscles, improve flexibility and prevent injury with these 5 yoga poses for runners.
Downward Dog- (Adho Mukha Svanasana): The most common issues for runners are shin splints, knee and foot problems, hamstring, as well as IT-band discomfort. So completing poses that are going to lengthen, and strengthen the hips, quads, calves and hamstrings are important. Downward Dog does a lot of that, in addition to opening the arms and upper back, down dog stretches the legs too. Lift your hip bones straight toward the ceiling and push your heels into the ground for the best overall stretch.
Low Lunge- (Anjaneyasana): Running can be tough on the hips. Low lunges can help strengthen the core while also stretching the thighs, groin, and opening tightened hips. Reach your arms to the ceiling and breathe.
Tree- (Vrksasana): Balancing on one leg is great for athletes. The more you can strengthen your legs andimprove your balance, the less likely you are to twist an ankle or fall down when you’re on a trail or any type of uneven surface. Balancing on one leg, bring your other foot into your standing leg, try to be above or below the knee; avoiding pressing into the knee joint. Focus your gaze on an object in the distance and stand tall for 30 seconds to a minute.
Bridge- (Setu Bandhasana): Backbends help open the shoulders and the front of the body. They also strengthens the core and activate the glutes. Bridge pose is a good counter pose to running, because the longer we run the more we tend to hunch forward. Lift your hips up toward the sky and try to keep your body in a straight line with your core engaged. To open your chest even further, clasp your hands together underneath your pelvis and try to roll your shoulder blades toward each other. Squeeze your glutes and breathe.
Reclined Pigeon- (Supta Kapotasana): Traditional Pigeon can put a lot of pressure on the knees if not done correctly, so reclined pigeon can be a nice alternative. Lie on your back with your knees bent, and cross your left ankle over your right quad. Gently pull your legs toward you for a stretch in your left hip, glute, and hamstring, then repeat on the other side
Running + Yoga = LOVE
As a yoga instructor, I frequently have students asking about mindfulness and how to live more mindfully. A good place to start, is defining the term. The commonly acknowledged definition of mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Continue reading Mindfulness
Yoga is about finding a balance between the comfortable and the uncomfortable.
Do you struggle with a specific pose/posture in your yoga practice? When I first started practicing yoga in 2008, I was terribly afraid of inversions, particularly handstands. Every time I tried to get into a handstand, the fear of falling overwhelmed me so much so that I refused to even try.
That fear of falling made me so uncomfortable that during class, when offered to go into an inversion, I either did shoulder stand or hips on a block. However, being someone that does in fact love a challenge, I decided that I needed to get over my fear and give it a try. I wanted to do handstands so badly! So I decided to master the uncomfortable. I practiced diligently each time I got onto my mat. After almost 4 years (yes that’s how long it’s taken me and it’s been very humbling) I started to gain the strength and confidence to do it. I’m still working on holding the pose for longer periods of time as well as attempting funky variations (i.e. tree, straddle, eagle legs etc…), but I am just so happy to be able to get off my feet and onto my hands.
For me that’s where the excitement lies. When you are able to come face to face with your fears and then overcome them, you start to feel strong and unstoppable. When we live in a place of fear, we aren’t able to grow. We are limited by the walls we’ve created around us. But, NOW is the time to break down those walls. By learning more about yourself and challenging yourself on the mat, you begin to start to see and notice changes in yourself off the mat too.
Through yoga, I’ve found my strength, my power and learned more about who I am, what I can offer the world, and how I can take action in my life.
I no longer fear handstands. Because when you set your mind to something and challenge the uncomfortable, you will eventually be able to fly. Practicing handstands gave me the courage to master the uncomfortable both on and off my mat.
Do you have the courage to master the uncomfortable in your life?