I Practice Yoga Because I Love to Run

I was relaxing in the dentist’s chair a few weeks ago, enjoying myself immensely. Really. I was.  I actually look forward to getting my teeth cleaned. Although truth be told, I much prefer the little tool that scrapes all the ickies off my teeth, than the water laser bippy. Not a big fan of that, at all.

Anyway, as I was “talking” with the hygienist about her experience running the Fox Cities Half Marathon last month (and me feeling slight twangs of jealousy as I didn’t run this year), she mentioned that if she could stay healthy and fit by only doing yoga, she would never run again.

Wow. Really? Dang. So there really are people out there like that?

Now most of you know my history of yoga. You can read about my big epiphany here. Or you can revisit my early days here, and here. But despite my newfound respect for yoga, if I could stay healthy and fit by doing only one thing, it would not be yoga.

It would be running. In a heart beat. Or in a New York minute. Whatever.

But I guess it doesn’t really matter. Because what I’ve learned is that I can’t stay healthy and fit by only running. What I need is something to balance out my running.

And I mean this in more than the physical sense. That part is kind of a no brainer. Unfortunately, it took me many years to figure this out. I’ve been running since 1980 “ish”. I took my first yoga class last year.  You do the math.

One of the reasons I love to run, is because running gives me time to think. Which can be a really good thing. I can get a lot accomplished on my runs. I think about future blog posts, lesson plans, students, my family, personal goals, supper plans, grocery lists, what I’m going to wear for the day and such. Some days I even solve all the problems of the world. Yep. All of them.

But on the other hand, running gives me time to think.

See where I am going with this?

Too much time spent in my own head is not necessarily a good thing. I stress. I overthink. I perseverate. I dwell.

Lately I’ve been thinking about my dad. A friend gave me a beautiful, gut wrenching Blue Mountain card explaining how stars are windows to the heavens, allowing those we love to look down upon us. So now, when I go out to run at o’dark thirty, I am overwhelmed with emotion when I see the stars twinkling brightly in the sky. So, if you see a runner at 4:30 in the morning wiping away tears while running through the streets of Neenah, well…that would be me.

Yoga, on the other hand, does not allow time for thinking. When I take yoga, 99% of my attention is focused on my breathing, executing a pose, and not falling over and making a fool of myself. I completely forget the rest of the world exists. So while I may not be solving all of the problems in the world, I’m not sobbing like an emotional wreck either. I’m just living in the moment, which keeps me balanced not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

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