Tuesday, 14 February 2012

For the love of yoga

Tomorrow is the two-week anniversary since my last run, and the day I plan to hit the pavement once again.  My heel is almost back to normal, so, my body will at least be intact enough to go.  However, with such a long break I am nervous at the thought of what I can or cannot accomplish.  While ingesting several spoonfuls of Nutella, I did briefly contemplate running tonight, but after a few moments deep in thought I took another spoonful and decided to make it an even two weeks.  Instead, I think I will do some yoga.

I have discovered that yoga has many benefits aside from the zen-factor.  First of all, it does not require me to run through the streets dressed up as the abominable snowwoman in the dead of winter.  (It appears as though I may be a fairweather runner.)  Secondly, a good yoga session can be completed virtually sweat-free, which is excellent if you happen to do yoga in the middle of the day. I have also discovered that yoga can be hugely beneficial to those suffering with IBS.  It has taught me valuable lessons about remaining calm, learning to relax my body and to breathe properly.  This can be especially helpful when in a panic situation; concentrating on your breathing can enable you to reach a safe zone before the shit hits the fan.

Yoga is also a great complement to running given all of the wonderful hip-opening postures that exist.  I do yoga 2-3 times a week, unfortunately, I have yet to enjoy any moment of those postures, specifically, pigeon pose.  I find pigeon pose to be the most excruciating posture imaginable and although I am told to form an intention at the beginning of the class, or to dedicate my practice to someone I love and admire, I mostly dedicate my practice to praying that our instructor will choose to completely forget about pigeon pose...  I am still praying... The name alone does not evoke images of calmness or serenity, instead, I see flying rats, disease and filth.  During pigeon pose I endeavour to direct my breathing to the areas that hurt so that the energy will relax those muscles.  I also clench my teeth, hyperventilate, swear (silently) and pray for the end.  And then we have to do the other side.  Yoga is nothing if not equal.

But, in all honesty, I do love yoga and have enjoyed many benefits to practicing regularly.  I notice that I am more flexible, it helps my back and neck and it provides me with a calm interlude throughout the week.  For the past four years I have been attending a weekly lunch hour yoga practice, and I must admit that I look forward to each and every Yoga Wednesday.  When you are required to sit at a desk all day, yoga comes as a welcome break, leaving you both mentally and physically re-energized.

With that, I will strike a runners' pose as a tribute to tomorrow's torture.

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