Yoga, Again.

Yoga. I’m at it again. Well, I’m attempting to be at it again perhaps I should say.  I went to some classes a year or so ago and have been doing my own thing.

I took home what I learned and at night while I watched some tv I’d get on the floor and roll out my muscles and then put some of those moves into practice. It felt rather nice to stretch and work my body in a different way than what my usual fare was.

But I haven’t done any organized classes since then… until now… and I’m thinking it will make a good “rest day” activity.

With all my training for the duathlon, I am definitely kicking my own tail and figured a little yoga could keep me loose for doing what I love.

Last week was my first class. Or is it? Is it my first class or a continuation of what I had already learned ?? ha

Hair and make up done with my athletic clothes?? I feel like a poser haha  Off to my first ( in awhile) yoga class…



Anyway, it all came back to me really fast. And I quickly remembered a few things about it…

Yoga is a lot more slow paced

I’m fairly high energy and thrive on it athletically. Coming into a yoga class where all the sudden it’s single moves, being held, and a focus on my breathing …. yeah… a different game from flying down the road on a bike or running for miles.

There’s a reason why yoga is all about a turning inward, an inner mental focus and stillness.

It is a physically and mentally calming activity. I will freely admit it takes some work to rein in my active thoughts and just key in on what I’m doing, how I feeling, my breathing , and nailing whatever pose we are being led in.

Yoga forces me to slow down.

But before we go on… what IS yoga… exactly?

Maybe when you hear the word the mental image comes to you of a seasoned man sitting on top of a mountain lost in meditation for days on end.

I tease, but I’m sure there are images you may get when you hear the word.

Yoga is an ancient practice that has become increasingly popular. it is a meditative practice that leads you to focus on your inner self and to quiet your mind and thoughts.

Supposedly the reason why there are no mirrors in classes is so that you can focus on what you are doing and not be worried about what you or your neighbor look like in a pose.

The goal during yoga is to challenge yourself physically but not feel overwhelmed. At this point your focus is on your breath while your mind is accepting and calm.

I know from what I do on the road, how very important my breathing is to what I do. Deep, even  paced breathing serves me well not only on the long stretches, but more importantly when I’m doing things like taking on big hills when I need my breathing strong and even and not shallow and rapid.

BUT get me in yoga pose, and I need to remind myself to breathe! ha

So the act of yoga is to quiet us, to quiet and relax our minds as well as our bodies. It’s almost humorous to me writing that line… because some of those moves are just flat out hard and not necessarily “relaxing” for me although it seems to come later after I’ve been stretched out well. Maybe it’s ’cause I’m still new at it and in time I will reach that perfect state immediately.

Are there other benefits to yoga?

Besides the obvious benefits of relaxation and mental clarity there are many benefits to actively practicing yoga.

On a physical level, yoga helps improve flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance.

About that strength thing… I remember my first class finding out how many moves really do require a great deal of strength. It was nice to have some strength to fall back on in those poses. I can see with consistent effort, yoga would build more body strength.

On an energetic level, yoga teaches you how to cope better with stress by cultivating a sense of ease in both active or passive poses.

On a psychological level, yoga helps to cultivate mindfulness by shifting your awareness to the sensations, thoughts, and emotions that accompany a given pose or exercise.

Trust me, you are aware of the sensations holding some of those poses!

Yoga is also good for circulation, improved posture, flexibility, it could help with fighting arthritis, builds muscle strength, protects your spine, and  yoga could also help you become a more conscious eater as you become more mindful of yourself. Yoga can also help you become more focused as you have to learn to focus on the present. It can also improve your balance and better balance means less falls. This is especially a problem as we get older. Practicing balance moves could prevent falling.

Also, another by product of yoga is deep sleep, some studies suggest. Of course I’ve found long rides or runs can also contribute to it as well 😉

My yoga goals

If I want to have a flexible, loose body for the things I do on the road, yoga will be good to help keep my body loose and flexible.

Going to a once a week class will solidify moves in my head and then I can continue to use it as a rest/recovery activity in the evenings.

I need time to slow down in a physical way. Yoga reminds me that my high energy needs to be tempered sometimes and that’s ok.

I want to stay bendable! My instructor had us in this pose that was almost a half split and she encouraged us that with a little practice it would come to us. I did the splits ages ago but you know, I grew up and stopped doing stuff like that.

Back bends, head stands, the splits… activities we seem to put away as we get older. She said she never stopped doing them.

It was a reminder to me, and to all of us really, if we want to keep using our body and have it be strong and flexible, we need to always be using it.

Age isn’t an excuse to not use our bodies.

Stretching, bending, pushing ourselves a bit more shouldn’t be limited to a time in our lives, but it should be something we do ALL our lives to be strong and productive so we aren’t limited  in the physical bodies we live in.

Use it or lose it.  I don’t want to lose it.

It’s why we get weak, we don’t use our bodies to lift, bend, stretch and move.  It’s why we stop being able to run because we act like it’s an activity for just the playground. It’s why we allow ourselves to sit on the sidelines as we get older because we haven’t used our bodies in the way they are meant to be used.

And a few of my favorite poses I realllllyy like….

Childs pose. This is my go to move to just stretch my back, shoulders and spine. This is a “rest” move during yoga. It feels amazing.


front fold
Front fold. I love this for stretching out my legs and believe it or not, hanging upside down can feel really good.


yoga poses - Tree Pose position (vrksasana)
Tree pose. Excellent for balance practice. This is fairly easy for me but I attribute it to all those single dead lifts I do 😉


I saved my favorite for last. I love all of these poses. They do require a great deal of strength and maybe I enjoy doing them because they feel strong and powerful.



Tell me. Are you a yoga lover? Have you tried it before? Or actively practice it now? What benefits have you seen with it ?





Athlete Meets Yoga

With my beautiful, fearless yoga instructor, Tracye


As I sit in a coffee shop, sipping my morning coffee and writing this blog on yoga, it seems a far cry from the workout I just put in this morning….

a strong hour on the rowing machine, sweat flying everywhere, breathing hard, heart beating fast with edgy rock music blaring in my ears.

Nothing but pure, strong, energy. I love it. I thrive on the hard work required during a workout I’m throwing myself into.

It’s why I love running and cycling too… just the constant strong, fast movement  and the heady rush that comes with it.

Therefore…. the idea of yoga… seemed so…tame to me.

Quiet. Still. Slow. Chill music. Peaceful mind emptied of thoughts.

The polar opposite of everything I feed on.

YET…. I have read articles galore about how good yoga is for a runners body, overall for the athlete in general. I had often pondered trying a class. I have a lovely friend who has taught for years and encouraged me to come… then the other day… the planets were all in alignment haha 😉

I read a post where she was doing an afternoon class for 5.00. Seriously?  Timing and price were perfect… how could I not finally go try?

Ok I will admit to teasing her about not killing me.. torturing me in some awful moves. The reality probably was closer to… I didn’t wanna look goofy 😛

So I showed up to my first class ready to be bent, contorted, and peacefully molded.

I’ll tell you what I learned….

Ok first, she was awesome. And patient. And carefully showed the class modifications from easy to hardest moves.

Athletically, I’m used to using my strength to power through what I do whether it’s lifting weights, running or being on my bike. In yoga I quickly felt and understood that it would be my strength under focused control.

There were moves that I felt instantly grateful for my strength training as I had to rely on holding moves out ( hello deep lunges, with my arms outstretched over me and to the side) my muscles responded and did what was asked of was still hard.

Balance moves? “The tree” you are posed on one foot with the other tucked to the inside of your thigh… planted.. like a tree… and hopefully…just standing strong and still like that. Hello…. thank you single leg deadlifts that I’ve been pounding out that has helped me develop really good balance.

There were a lot of flexibility exercises that it turns out.. hey…for all I do.. I’m pretty darn flexible. Bending, twisting, holding poses.  Some weren’t easy but that made it even more challenging to me.

And speaking of that… challenging… I also learned… it appears I’m just as competitive with myself in yoga as anything else I do. I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing haha

When she showed us all the moves from easiest to hardest… my mind immediately went to the top level. If it was suggested you could “try to do it” … I immediately went for it.

OMG… it’s a sickness… isn’t it? That competitive streak in me…

the icing on the cake of that? It showed me what I’m capable of that I didn’t know I could even do. When she had us tucked into a bridge position, she moved her hands over her shoulders and behind her head… and seamlessly moved into a backbend.

She indicated we could do that… I laughed… like that “there’s no way” kinda laugh….but as I started pushing myself that direction… and… oh my.. it was working… I felt somewhat like a sea whale attempting the move and dropped down… hoping I wouldn’t look like I was helplessly floundering on the floor…

at her encouragement that I had it… I went right into it again.. doing better the second time. I practiced last night… it’s starting to feel easier.

A back bend.   At 51.

I’ve never done one in my entire life.

I was pretty excited over that stunt haha 😛

I also just learned a lot of great stretching moves which feel amazing. I find myself just stopping to do some of them during my day.

Of course, it is an activity where you focus on quieting your mind, breathing ( ha… I must remember to focus on breathing!) and just learn to relax in what I’m doing.

I admit… this will take a little time for me….turning my mind down is hard….

But… I like challenges… so I’m trying a class next week… we’ll see how that goes…


Tell me… do you or have you done yoga? Do you find it beneficial? What do you like about it?  If you’re an athlete, do you find it has helped you?




Me? Do Yoga?


Did I breathe that word out loud ?

For years it conjured up in my head visions of people in white gossamer clothing getting in touch with their inner selves and eating tofu.

OK, admittedly, I am a bit more educated on it.

It’s supposed to help with flexibility, strength, better posture, help you with your breathing and over all reduce stress and make you feel more calm. Who wouldn’t be down for that ?

I’m sure there are a lot of other benefits too.

Here’s where it’s been kinda in my face for awhile….. it’s supposed to be really good for runners. I’ve read articles about the benefits of yoga as a recovery or strengthening process.

Alright so I’ll admit why I’ve steered clear…. don’t judge me now….

it’s just so… tame… and quiet….and not…  intensely active like I’m used to….

It’s different than flying down the road on a bike… or running a zillion miles… or knocking the heck out of a punching bag.

I secretly wonder if I could handle such a wide shift of physical activities….. being more….still…. yikes.

Ok but then, as I runner, how can I ignore these promises of incorporating some yoga into all my other activities :

It can make you a better runner, improve form and balance, it can also decrease your susceptibilities to over use injuries. It can also improve mental focus which is so important before and during a race when mental staying power is as important as physical strength.

Now….how can I not look at that a little closer ??  Our local running store offers a runners yoga class once a week… and if I can ever get my schedule to bend that way I might check out.

As much as running can build a strong body, those muscles get tight in all kinds of places. Flexibility and fluid motion is  so important in running. Things that are tight don’t allow for optimal performance.

I found some moves that were targeted at runners and even told you what muscles they opened or loosened. I figured… why not? What runner doesn’t want to be more strong and flexible ? So I’ve tried some.

Hahaha….. oh my gosh. You know that term hurts so good? I immediately found places in my hips that were tight… and let me know it. My back…legs… all kinds of tight spots.

On top of holding the pose… you have to remember to breathe… I realized… I kinda sucked at that part 😛

Then you get in this pose…and your “reps” ( which Is how I’m used to operating)  are more like the amount of breathes you take holding that pose.

This is when I pondered :  where is the woman who ran  marathons who’s whining about this pose and attempting to breathe at the same time ?  Here’s what I know thus far…….. I’m breathing hard from pain, not cardio exertion haha

I decided this could be a butt kicking adventure in a different kind of way. I think I’m definitely going to try and add some into my training with the intent it will benefit my body for running. It always comes back to that for me.

So my readers…. who does yoga? Do you like it? What benefits have you seen ? If you’re a runner, have you seen benefits from it ?