To establish an idea of how yogis and runners combine their interests and passions, LRY is using the new year to find out from people who are out there, in the real world, doing their thing.
Thais is a recently qualified yoga teacher who blogs avidly about yoga, health and nutrition at her site, Living in the (k)Now.
Thais also runs and LRY was keen to hear more about how she manages to run and practice yoga. Taking time out of a busy schedule Thais kindly wrote a short piece about running that has many salient points for all of us to consider:
I used to run. A lot. Everyday I would wake up at 6am and squeeze in a run before getting ready for work. Usually I’d go for 4-5 miles. Sometimes 6. Then one day, I just stopped.
I’m not sure why I stopped but as my yoga practice developed I didn’t feel the desire to run anymore. Five months went by, six month went by and still my running shoes stayed in the closet. Then one cold winter day I felt the urge to run. And when you feel that urge, you don’t question it. You sprint to get your shoes and running gear on before you change your mind.
A few minutes into my run, I felt the familiar rhythm of my body and I realized how similar and yet how different yoga and running are. Some people go to yoga strictly for the workout while others get on their mats to find a release. The same goes for running, some run because they want their bodies to look a certain way, and others run because after a long day nothing is more appealing then forgetting the world for a few blissful minutes. Both practices also require a constant focus on the breath.
I found throughout that run that yoga has helped expand my lung capacity, making running easier than I remembered it. I was pleasantly surprised.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, both sports can definitely injure the body. We push ourselves too hard, we forget to listen to what our body is telling us, and we end up doing something harmful.
I’d say though, the main difference between running and yoga, at least for me, is that I seek running in my life to tune OUT. I don’t want to really be forced to think or concentrate about anything. I just want to blast music, forget the world, and keep one foot in front of the other. I try to focus on the breath and my alignment but a few miles in I just want to keep running and lose myself to the music.
In yoga, the opposite occurs and I tune IN. I listen to what each muscle in my body is telling me. Posture after posture I feel the strength, the stretch, the breath. I move slowly, gracefully, feeling my toes all the way to the crown of my head. My thoughts quieten as I seek to surrender to the divinity inside. The inner wisdom that guides my life.
And in my opinion, that’s why yoga is seen as a more spiritual practice whilst running is more of a physical endeavor. I am sure many can find spiritual quietness in running, but that’s never been the case for me. To be honest, I think this difference is totally fine by me. Losing yourself, and finding yourself are two important aspects of life. As long as you are present, which is something both practices require, then you are leading a life well spent.
For the fact that I hadn’t run in 8 months, I was able to maintain an even pace through a 3 mile course. Yoga has kept my body strong. After my run was over, I stretched my tired but happy muscles, glad I listened to my urges. I continue running a couple times a week but I keep my yoga practice my priority. After all, I find that tuning IN to the body is the best technique to finding peace in the chaos.
Thanks Thais for your heartfelt words.
Check out the following links for more wisdom from a yogini-on-the-go!
Twitter – letitgo8
Facebook – www.facebook.com/letitgo8
Blog – letitgo8.blogspot.com