Friday, January 8, 2010

It's Hip to do Yoga

Earlier this week (Wednesday to be exact), I embraced the cross-training option of the “rest/cross-train” workout in my training program with a little trip to the gym followed by some yoga.  I unfurled the mat onto our hardwood floor near the dining room table, pulled the laptop close, and got down to business (insert downward facing dog joke here).

Actually, a quick digression on downward dog: if your dog catches you doing this pose, it is the universal pose in dog language for, “It’s time to play!”  Mattie sees this and ruins any chance of yoga-time being a peaceful experience.  Many are the times that my face been licked, my stomach has been jumped upon, and stuffed toys hurled my way.  But as I said, I digress.

I started adding yoga in to my running/fitness routine about a year ago.  A friend came to visit and started talking about how he’d been doing it, how relaxing (yet intense) it could be, and how it’s helped his athletic performance.  I’ll admit, I gave him a few skeptical looks in the beginning.  “Yoga?...Really?”   The first time I did any yoga was in college.  Rachel got me to sign up for a class on campus…I was the only guy there.  And when you tell your friends that you’re doing yoga, they gave you the same narrow-eyed, head-cock, knowing smirk, which I probably gave my friend.  But until you do it, you just don’t know how great it can be for your body and how challenging (and humbling) it can be.

I think running adds an extra element of “in tune-ness” with our body, and yoga simply amplifies that.

So like I said, I returned to it about a year ago.  I wanted to add some flexibility to my tight running muscles.  I still reminisce about the hockey days when a full split was an afterthought and getting my head to touch my knee was a given.  I’ve been to a couple classes here and there, but what my friend turned me on to is the Yogamazing podcast.

Open iTunes, subscribe to it…it will change you.  Each week, Chaz Rough does a 20-27 minute podcast in his yoga studio.  Like the workouts on our training programs, each class has a purpose.

Naturally, my first inclination was to download the Yoga for Runners podcast; however, it goes all the way down to specific body parts that affect our running: Yoga for Tight Hamstrings, Yoga Hip Openers, Yoga for the Butt, Yoga for the Abs, etc.

In the past couple months, I’ve suffered from tight hips, which I’m fairly confident have contributed to my IT-band issues.  But since I’ve ramped up the yoga, things are finally starting to loosen up and feel normal again.  I work it in three-times a week, one session on each of my rest/cross-train days, and once more on an easy run day.  You can download them on your iPod and take them with you on the road, too.

After a long run, you’ll crave it.  Plus, I’ve incorporated some of the poses into my warm up and cool down stretches.

As I flowed into some twisted contortion Wednesday night, I let out a near deafening groan when my hips released.  Rachel poked her head around the corner from the kitchen, “Everything all right in there?”
“I guess it’s working?”
“Sooo good.”

Who knew cross-training could feel so good?

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