Since I was a teenager I have been trail running and running marathons as I grew older. I have even adapted to running long distances in Singapore’s humidity, a challenging contrast to the crisp mornings in England where I could see my breath in huge clouds in the freezing cold air.
As I rapidly approach my 40th birthday I am conscious of the damage my slight obsession with running has done to my body. This is predominantly in my alignment ( a rotation in my pelvis and sore right knee).
I have not practiced Ahimsa in my running and always just denied the pain, turned my iPod up & dealt with the strains afterwards through massage or icing rather than looking deeper for the cause.
It’s not a question of giving up, just running shorter, more enjoyable distances, but can what I’m learning in my Yoga 200hr help me to improve the way I run? If I apply what I am learning to running will it be a different experience?
So on my first run of the week, something really simple. As I stand ready to go I scan my body for any sensation, listen for any message; does everything feel good, painless, what’s my energy level?
I have a set of stretches I do before running but nothing like the long stretches in Asana, so I choose to stretch for much longer before starting. To my normal routine I add in Downward facing dog for my Achilles, knees, hip flexers and Hamstrings and Upward facing dog to open up the chest and warm the arms and lower back. I use Triangle pose and Inverted Triangle pose for a good side stretch and listen again to my body.
As I run I begin to ask myself the same questions I do during yoga. Is my weight evenly distributed through my feet, are my abs engaged? I consciously tuck my tail bone under slightly and concentrate on the pattern of my breath.
I definitely feel more present in my run and find that at the point I would normally get tired, I am able to turn my attention inwards relying on the breath to propel me forward and put me into a meditative like state.
- Incorporating Yoga in my runs makes me feel like I am taking care of myself more and I think I might be a bit faster too!