Less than 2 weeks since I finished the San Diego Marathon- from the cheering section, that is. My friend came down from SF to run it - well, race it, actually. He thought the nice weather and supposedly flat course (which he later cursed in his race report) would be ideal for a lofty PR. He and his coach worked out a heart rate strategy, he had his food down so precisely that he declined the sushi lunch I made the day before, he got GOO in favor of the supplied Cliff ("nothing new on race day"), and did pretty much everything he could to prepare. Except yoga, that is. When he disappointedly finished about a minute over his PR instead of the 49 under he was shooting for, it was clear that he had lost his mental game more than anything. And that was the first time that I - one of his best friends who also happens to teach yoga -started to preach the need for a regular yoga practice in his training regimen. (Well, he knew I was right so it wasn't that hard a sell.) Maybe because I had just been reading some back issues of Yoga Journal with his race in mind. There were a few articles written by and for runners touting the advantages of yoga as part of their training. A lot of coaches and professional athletes from other sports also wrote about using yoga as a way to train their minds to remain calm and focused - while training and, especially, competing. As a yoga teacher myself, I always knew about the mental discipline yoga fosters, but coming from the corporate world rather than the track, I had never thought to apply that to endurance sports. (To me, 6 miles is a nice, long run.) Then again, I never before had a friend blow up half way through a marathon because he'd lost his mental game. Of course, yoga also works on flexibility and elongating your muscles, not to mention expanding your breath, better oxygenating your whole body (reducing muscle fatigue), but seriously folks, for quieting the mind and developing concentraion, there's nothing like it! So, here I am, preaching again, perhaps to a tougher audience. But really, why not check it out? You can try one of my classes for free if you like. I teach downtown San Diego (time and place at (619)387-7300x8247). But if that doesn't work for you, find someplace that does. Just try it! Happy trails...
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