Hello all and I am happy to return to a "non-summer NYC schedule" aka ... we are back and up and running on a full schedule. Early morning and evening classes are once again being offered.
Speaking of running...this summer was a time to make some major life changes and improvements. I really wanted to challenge my physical and mental body on activities that are not yoga. It was finally time to get even more fit. I became a runner! Out of all activities that can benefit from yoga: running is at the top of the list. Running requires intense mental and cardiovascular strength. I run for 1 hour and then do my yoga practice afterwards to stretch my hamstrings, calves, and feet.
Running outdoors in the middle of Manhattan is an extreme physical and mental challenge. I am very aware of the clashes that running (as both an activity and a lifestyle) has with yoga, but, the two opposing activities work in a beautiful synergy when consciously and carefully used together.
Here is what I learned off the mat and in Central Park in the last few months...it is always hard to face our mat. Motivating on the yoga mat can be very difficult in a self-practice because anything can happen: a learning experience, a breakthrough, a day of falling and shaking, and sometimes the asana practice can make you feel as if you have been cracked open and exposed and are forced to deal with the mental issues at that moment. This may happen either alone or in a class packed with people. Motivating myself to get my running shoes on and to dance with the wind was shockingly less difficult to daily motivate than a heavy asana and meditation practice, but for me...I think that this was a unique experience. When you have a lot of energy and ideas and need to feel, "wrung out," running (safely) is fantastic! I can just put on my headphones and fly.
Of course my days alternate between a run/yoga day and an exclusive intense yoga day. On both of these days, I have found a new respect and understanding of anatomy and how to help "real" people...you know...the ones that don't only practice yoga all day...people who have more diverse interests. I forever will be a better teacher now that I have experienced first-hand what it is like to train as a runner while deepening my asana practice. Now I know how it feels to be tight in areas that didn't used to be and have learned (the hard way) to develop a new kind of body-awareness: a mindfulness that can only come from pounding the pavement and tuning out to my tunes.
I call for and welcome more athletes and runners this season to be my yoga students. If you are training for November's New York City Marathon...THIS IS FOR YOU!!!
Happy downward dogging, running, biking, flying, dreaming, and breathing life into our beautiful and flawed world. As one of my teachers says...
"If your yoga practice isn't making you a better person, then you are doing it wrong."
- Colleen Saidman Yee