Friday, February 26, 2010

shakti mayhem

I have been reading a lot lately on the symbiotic relationship between yoga and running.  I love running. I am an avid runner.  I feel so much stronger and healthier since I got back into it, and I love that I can pull off skinny jeans at least three out of every four weeks every month.  Something that I am really not good about, though, is the post-run stretching.  I know that this is really important in preventing injury, but I have to say that I have so many things going on in any given day that I can barely make time for my running, let alone a nice stretch afterward.  So, I thought that if I started to incorporate yoga into my days off and/or an evening ritual, I would get the benefits of increased flexibility and strength.  After consulting numerous yoga blogs and reading several articles, I decided to take the plunge and try my first DVD, Yoga Shakti, which claims to be good for beginners.  We will see! 

One cool thing about this journey is that I have a ten year old daughter who is very interested and excited about getting up and doing yoga with me in the mornings.  I think this is a fabulous introduction into healthy living, and this morning was a really fun and special time for us. The video started off with some deep breathing exercises, and honestly, I was a little worried that I am not "zen" enough for yoga.  It was like four minutes of deep breathing, and I started to get a little bored and wanted to move onto the next step.  Elaine was so funny, because we both looked at each other after about three minutes of this and she said, "Are we going to just do this for like 5 minutes or something?"  Too funny.

Well, the deep breathing finally ended and we moved onto the next part of the video, the "Salutation to the Sun".  I now understand why all the deep breathing was necessary, because this was tough!  I have never been the most flexible person in the world (remember the sit and reach test when you were a kid? I was always like a -1 or 0), but I was surprised by how inflexible I was.  While it was a little discouraging, it really demonstrated the fact that I definitely need to be doing yoga!

Moving on, the next section that came on was entitled "backbends".  The thought of doing a backbend scared Elaine and I at first, but as we started doing the exercises, we realized that we wouldn't actually be doing any backbends (yet), but just getting our spine and muscles prepared for them sometime down the road.  This was intensely challenging, as I don't remember the last time I leaned back far enough to see behind me. Also, about this time my one year old woke up, and did not like Mommy doing yoga, so was yelling, "No, Mommy. Stop it," at me and grabbing my neck, adding another level of difficulty to my yoga.

The last section we did (since both boys are up by this time and Mom can't do anything but tend to their needs) involved stretching our legs out.  This felt really good, since I have tight hamstrings from running. I can definitely tell that this will be helpful to me.

All in all, I absolutely loved yoga, and will most definitely do this several times a week. Since it is my first experience with yoga I am not familiar with the pose names, and so had to keep looking at the t.v. to see what Shiva Rea was doing.  I would definitely recommend just watching the video once before doing it, so you have some idea of what the poses are.  The video is great, though, and Shiva Rea does an excellent job of showing both the beginner and more advanced pose options.  I would most definitely recommend this video to anyone wanting to try yoga out for themselves.

Elaine did a fantastic job this morning, and she is excited about continuing her yoga workouts.  Since she is getting older, it is getting more and more difficult to spend quality time together.  Plus, she is not a natural athlete, and so is really uninterested in being involved with sports.  This presents an interesting (but very common) challenge when trying to teach your kids how to live healthy lifestyles.  By doing yoga together, she benefits from physical activity, and we get to spend some really great time together.  Once we are a little more familiar with our poses, I envisioning us taking a lesson from an actual teacher, so she can evaluate our forms and let us know how we are looking, maybe followed by a pedicure.  It could be a fun girl's day!

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