Highlights from October

 

I have come to realize I am better at posting on my social media sites than I am at posting to my blog as of late.  For this reason I am going to start a monthly compilation of some of my favorite posts from other social media sites throughout the previous month.  I recognize that not as many of you who follow my blog see the tidbits I post elsewhere.  Please leave me feedback and enjoy!

~ The divine in me salutes the divine in you.  Namaste ~ 


Early in the month I hosted another Yoga for Runners Workshop at SoulShine Power Yoga.  We had a great showing for this workshop and I look forward to hosting more as we move into the spring months.

I love posting client photos and within a couple days I had two different pictures sent to me of Legs Up the Wall pose. On the left, we have Melissa, using the headboard of the bed in her hotel room to rest her legs against after her half marathon…this pose is a wonderful gentle inversion for improving circulation and reducing swelling that can result after a hard run.  And on the right, we have Caleb, who was flying across country and when stuck in an airport used the post to keep lose prior to his Spartan race as it stretches the hamstrings and relieves back tension.


I had so much fun at my official first all teen yoga w12074836_955858364476067_752467091084005770_norkshop.  These 7 aspiring yoginis demonstrated flexibility, strength, patience, and were open to all I introduced them too!

 

 

 

 

 


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And we were all treated to a short but remarkably beautiful fall foliage season.  Here are some images I took driving home from a client’s house in Charlotte in mid-October.  Beautiful color!

 


We also had a very sad day at the Lacourciere household as we closed our v12039412_962066340521936_3872004358151375462_negetable garden for the season. Here we paid tribute to the last of the radishes that were dug up in late October.

 

 

 


Remember yoga is everywhere and becomes a part of everything we do when we are open to all it has to offer.  Each month brings us both opportunities to practice on our mat as well as off.

Release Tension in your Hips to Help Alleviate Tension in your Back

Photo Credit: Melissa Brott Photography

Photo Credit: Melissa Brott Photography

Another great runner’s stretch: LIZARD POSE


Why use it?

Walkers and runners tend to carry tension in their backs; often due to stiffness that needs to be released in their hips. Lizard pose takes lunge pose and deepens the stretch. Looser hips relieve our back pain and lengthen stride.

How to get into it

From a lunge pose, bring both hands inside the forward foot as you inhale. Keep your palms planted on the mat with arms straight or for those with more flexibility rest your forearms on the mat. If it feels more comfortable your back knee can rest to the mat. Attempt to the hold position for 3 to 5 full breaths and then switch sides.

Key Tip

Relax your shoulders as you evenly lower your hips to the floor.

Key Yoga Poses for Walkers and Runners

Over the course of the next week I will be speaking with First Strides Vermont and Fleet Feet Sports EJVT about how these groups can incorporate yoga into their walking/running regimen.  Knowing how fast fifteen minutes can fly in front of a large group of people, I have compiled four key poses I will be presenting.  My thoughts for these presentations follow…

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Four Key Yoga Poses for Walkers and Runners

1.  CHAIR POSE

Why use it

Walkers and runners tend to have a tight outer quad muscle while at the same time a weak inner quad muscle.  Poses, like chair pose, help us to correct this imbalance by working both quads simultaneously.

Chair Pose

How to get into it

Stand tall, big toes come to touch, roll your shoulders back.  Inhale, lift your arms above your head, keeping shoulders rolled back.  Exhale, bend your knees, sit your tail back as if you were sitting down in a chair.  Attempt to the hold position for 3 to 5 full breaths; staying in the position longer as you build stamina and muscle strength.

Key Tip

Tuck your tail under, by drawing your navel to your spine.

2.  LUNGE POSE

Why use it

Walkers and runners tend to have tight hip flexors since the hips continually work to support the pelvis.  Additionally, stability demands are increased during repetitive motion.   Lunge pose allows us to stretch our hips.    

How to get into itLunge Pose

Inhale and bend forward at the hips on an exhale; place both hands on either side of your left foot, step your right foot back.  Palms or fingertips come to the mat.  Choose to rest the right knee to the floor or for an added challenge stay up on the ball of the right toes.  Attempt to the hold position for 3 to 5 full breaths and then switch sides.

Key Tip

Keep your knee aligned directly above your ankle.

3.  LIZARD POSE

Why use it

Walkers and runners tend to carry tension in their backs; often due to stiffness that needs to be released in their hips.  Lizard pose takes lunge pose and deepens the stretch.  Looser hips relieve our back pain and lengthen stride.

Lizard PoseHow to get into it

From a lunge pose, bring both hands inside the forward foot as you inhale.  Keep your palms planted on the mat with arms straight or for those with more flexibility rest your forearms on the mat.  If it feels more comfortable your back knee can rest to the mat.  Attempt to the hold position for 3 to 5 full breaths and then switch sides.

Key Tip

Relax your shoulders as you evenly lower your hips to the floor.

4.  DOWNDOG POSE

Why use it

Walkers and runners tend to be busy people and enjoy spending their free time doing what they love.  They need efficient poses that help them stretch several muscles at one time.  Downdog pose stretches the Achilles, calves, hamstrings, back, shoulders and arms, while providing us an opportunity to find breath.

Downward-facing Dog PoseHow to get into it

On an inhale place your hands and knees on the floor.  Fingers spread wide on the floor, shoulder-width apart.  As you exhale, lift your knees off the floor; send your hips towards the ceiling.  Press your palms down and back, stretch through your shoulders, draw your navel into your spine, stretch through your heels.  Attempt to the hold position for 3 to 5 full breaths; staying in the position longer as you build stamina and muscle strength.

Key Tip

For tight hamstrings, bend at your knees and press your torso towards your thighs.

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Happy Walking and Running!

~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~

Breath

What is the link between Yoga and Running?  A question I asked myself several times as I introduced a new class to my schedule and began to understand how the two complement each other.  I believe the answer is breath.

As you breathe in yoga, mindfulness and focus are brought to your mat.  In each pose you take, in each sequence you work through, breath is at the forefront.  You learn to consistently use breath to lengthen, deepen and let go of tension.  You recognize that when you hold your breath your body becomes stiff and strain can result.

Consider your breath as you run.  When you become overworked or stressed, you may tend to hold your breath or take rapid, shallow Yoga For Runners: Strength and Breathbreaths.  Yet, when the run is over you often let out a deep sigh of relief, allowing your muscles to relax and signaling your brain that all is well.  As you continue to breathe your heart rate decreases and oxygen is transported to your organs and muscles, bringing you back in balance.

What if instead, you incorporated focused breathing into your run?  How might it change?  As you breathe, pacing, distance and improved performance come to you.  Proper breathing transports oxygen to muscles and organs consistently, thereby supporting your physical exertion.  Finding a stable breathing pattern will help to boost your endurance, providing increased performance as you run longer distances.  Furthermore, focusing on your breath as you run aids in setting a steady pace; this helps to evade overexertion that can lead to injury.

As races are upon us consider adding a little yoga to your running regimen.  Try practicing a few of your favorite poses after a run or possibly check out a couple yoga classes at a local studio. I am confident you will feel stronger and find breath you didn’t know you needed.

~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~

 

What is the Definition of a Valuable Workshop to You?

When speaking to one of my favorite yoginis the other day, she casually mentioned that with as many yoga workshops as she has been too, she would only consider a handful of them to be beneficial to her. I listened and then the conversation simply moved on. Yet, later that same day this one comment returned to me and I have been unable to let it go since. With an impending workshop of my own, coming up in March, I have begun to question how I can ensure it will be of value to my participants.

I admit this is not my first workshop, as I have led countless programs throughout my career. Of course, there is one glaring difference – these workshops were focused around my previous “life” bringing technology to elementary and middle schools. Yet, I am truly excited about this latest project as it couples two of my favorite topics over the last few years – yoga and running. From my previous experiences, my best workshops were those I was passionate about and truly took the time to fully understand.

While I have always had a deep love for yoga, running has been more of a love-hate relationship for me. I have had several major injuries (car accident/skiing accident) that at times I properly cared for through yoga, pt, and so forth, yet I have had many other injuries (almost all running related) that resulted from losing my practice and not focusing on proper alignment and stretching. Since I broke my femur when I was seventeen, yoga stands out as my most valuable method of finding both mental and physical strength as I have worked through any of my injuries. Therefore, the idea behind my Yoga for Runners workshop is to teach proper alignment within poses and how to stretch to restore fatigued muscles; all in an effort to avoid injury before it strikes.

That’s why I am putting this out to anyone who would like to comment. Maybe you have attended an effective workshop before; and if so, what about it did you really enjoy? Maybe you have attended a workshop of little use to you; and if so, what about it turned out to be impractical to you? Maybe you have led or attended a Yoga for Runners workshop? What was most valuable to you? What would you have liked to change or seen added? Or maybe, you have your own ideas that you would like to share of your ideal Yoga for Runners workshop. I am open and ready to learn from your experiences and ideas…

~The divine in me salutes the divine in you, Namaste~