Yoga – the Great Antidote?

Yoga is the latest addition to my seemingly Phoenix-like return to exercise.

Lunges like this are a good example of how Yin yoga helps a runner
Lunges like this are a good example of how Yin yoga helps a runner

I went for a run yesterday morning – so after a shower and a change of clothing, it seemed the perfect antidote.

The “Restful Yin” class was ideal – as it involved a much-needed stretch for the muscles I’d used in Guerrillas and running.

Most people are familiar with the idea of yin/yang – with my favourites leaning towards the “Yang” side of things obviously.

But here’s a definition from someone who knows a bit more:

“The term “yin yoga” comes from the Taoist tradition. Yang relates to movement, often repetitive movement, creating heat in the body. Yin is about finding stillness and cooling the body.”  Geraldine Beirne, Yin yoga: be part of the yin crowd, The Guardian, 5 January 2015

12144670_981428748546651_67774216200882240_nIt essentially involves passive stretching – in other words, relaxing into the pose and letting the body weight do the work rather than actively pushing into it.

Breathing techniques also help as you use the breath to intensify the stretch.

Imagine then, what that’s like for someone like me!

The idea of “letting go” is very difficult for someone who’s used to the idea of having to deploy every ounce of their will-power into things like running up a hill or lifting something heavy.11986551_1004413896289678_526541314791483366_n

In other words, most of the exercises I do almost involve “mind over matter” – envisaging what I want my body to do and dragging it along there with me.

And actively welcoming the idea of muscles “softening” – anyone reading this blog knows my opinions on having a soft body!

Nevertheless, the results were fantastic – the stiffness from my more Yang-ish endeavours diminished.

I have deployed yoga as a solution a number of times in the past.12106995_974855809241541_3094067484018509579_n

With the aid of YouTube I have managed to heat a cold living room – and my even colder self – with an Ashtanga session.

And as being able to speak is an essential part of my work I have also warded off being side-lined by whatever “nasty-bug-that’s-going-around” with asanas geared at boosting immunity.yoga-poses-for-runners

My only criticism would be that – in a lot of cases on YouTube – the instructor is far more flexible than I could even hope to be.

Let’s face it, who can resist showing-off if they’re good at something?

So many of the ensuring poses are impossible for me and leave me standing gormless on the mat.

Here’s just one example of YouTube yoga for runners – it’s Ekhart Yoga – one of my most trusted (and less ostentatious) sources.

Believe you me, whether it’s a YouTube front room job or a class, yoga does work!

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