Running up, over and through the cogs

Running into Yoga

Yoga-SilhouetteIt seems so silly now to think how defiant I once was against even trying something like yoga to supplement my running habit.  To think how I secretly questioned Scott Jurek, my running idol, and his unabashed dedication to the practice seems so immature.  My prior disbelief that I could actually benefit from yoga seems, now, to go against all practical sense.

And such disbelief only existed because I thought… *GASP*… that I would look foolish.

WRONG.

Floundering in the land of what-ifs is foolish.

And so it wasn’t until I found myself injured, unable to do what I love to do, that I finally listened to all those who had advised me.  In my circle, there was no shortage of yoga proponents.  Every single one of those individuals touting the practice was sincere in his or her belief that it would help me.  How could I ignore such considerations any longer?

I found a local yoga studio, signed up for their beginner’s course and seven weeks later I’m here pondering how I ever lived without it.  As a runner, there are myriad benefits to practicing yoga (flexibility, controlled breath work, increased synovial fluid production to name a few), but what I appreciate the most are the calming, meditative principles applied through movement.  This is essentially what happens to me during a really good long run: I connect movement to the breath and allow my mind to experience the now.

Like running, yoga is a door to the present.

I’m just as susceptible as most to the infinite technocratic noises of the world, but I also know there is a way out.  I know I am happiest when I exist among the calm of the present tense.  Running gets me there.  A baseball game on a lazy, summer afternoon gets me there.

Now I know yoga gets me there too.  And even when the practice is over, I still feel like a glowing, hundred foot giant of awesome.

* * *

Injury update:

I am still out of commission, but staying active and positive.  I’ve seen a sports medicine doctor now who is sure my condition is ITBS and nothing else.  So I can only continue to do what I’m doing: stretching, icing, foam rolling, strengthening, yoga, boxing, watching Bulls basketball (despite this giving me headaches from time to time) and re-reading all my favorite Carl Sagan books.

I will not be able to run the Houston Marathon in 2013, but that’s okay.  I am at peace with that.  There will be plenty of marathons to run once I’m back to full strength.  My focus now is on getting better in time to train well for Boston.  I start physical therapy this week and aim to invoke my inner Derrick Rose as I focus on strengthening my hip flexors as well as my mind.

One thing is certain: this unscheduled time off from the sport I love so much has been as humbling as it has been healing.  The majority of my other constant niggles, aches and pains have gone away with the time off and I am confident that the forced disassociation has strengthened my mind.  When I do come back, I am going to be more hungry, more ravenous and more determined than I have ever been.

Special thanks to Lisa Kinlinger, who has provided me with excellent ART treatments as well as a final, swift kick out the door and into a yoga studio.

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11 responses

  1. Kirsten

    Completely agree, Jeff. At first I too poo-poo’d yoga – seriously, how hard could standing in place and raising your hands to the ceiling be? Then I actually tried it. After 5 minutes, I found myself dripping sweat, muscles trembling — me, the ultra runner?? – and I was a believer. While “Leaning Tower of Pisa” would describe my efforts better than “The Warrior,” I have become a yoga regular now, and my body has learned to ask for it when I need a good stretch and de-tox. Namaste!

    December 10, 2012 at 11:55

  2. Glad to see you’re accepting the fact that you’re injured. It can be such a difficult thing to do. I do yoga when ever I get the chance. I also found yoga when injured, suffering from extensor tendonitis, and I couldn’t run for a few weeks.

    Good luck with the rest of your recovery! I can’t wait to read about how Boston goes for you!

    December 11, 2012 at 12:38

    • Thanks, David! Glad you’ve experienced the benefits of yoga too and I also can’t wait to give you that Boston report 😉

      December 13, 2012 at 19:38

  3. I’m hearing more positive things about yoga all of the time. More reasons to foget what we think we know about something untill we try it ourselves. Glad it’s helping with your re-hab, and have a happy holiday!
    -Mike

    December 20, 2012 at 20:11

  4. Hi Jeff,
    I don’t do joga but I do pilates. I started it about 2 or 3 years ago and I love it! Happy New Year to you! Oh and thanks for being my top commenter for 2012 in my blog. Cheers and here is to a healthy 2013. -Emma

    December 31, 2012 at 13:11

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