The Evolution of the Running Yogi
Have you ever found yourself lost in a movement? I have no doubt you have been lost in a thought and something pulls you out of it and then you look around a little stunned to then apologise for ‘being lost in your thoughts’.
As a running yogi I am finding myself lost in movement on both the trail and the mat and it’s this realisation that has me thinking more about what and how lead me to this enlightening state.
Turning the focus to the running body (but one that is deeply connected to the yoga body).
As a runner are you familiar with the term runners high? It’s a feeling that has something to do with how the body – and brain change during exercise; it’s like being lost in your thoughts but instead you are experiencing brief moments of a deep relaxing state of euphoria that gives you a sense of extreme delight. I know right? Amazing.
Depending on where you are in your running journey it seems more experienced seasoned runners experience this sense of elation more often than those new to running; why? Because understanding the love of running takes practice (not to mention commitment and consistency) and time is needed to feel the legendary flow that runs through the body during times of physical exertion.
I have been practicing yoga consistently for a year now. Over the years I have had a very on/off relationship with yoga even at one point stopping because I thought it was having a negative effect on my body.
I have a runner’s body. Not a yoga body. I understand the flow when it comes to running and over the years of pounding the payment and treading lightly on the trails flow has intensified to a point where I have learnt to give myself up to the movement, flowing freely as I put one foot in front of the other.
When it came to the practice of yoga, initially I was unsure of how to give myself up to the postures, to truly sink my body into the poses without judgement. This mindset takes practice. I didn’t understand at the time the importance of the mind body connection. I do now.
Recently my yoga practice has been elevated, its like I am the only one in the room when I attend class; for all I know I am. I am dialling in with my body, my mind. There has been for a short time the perfect balance between the two. When this happens, all I can hear is my prana and the guide’s voice; actually, I don’t even think I hear his/her voice, I just feel the vibration of the tone.
At the end of a yoga practice, I feel like I am floating; savasana is the cumulation of the practice, it’s the cherry on top if you like. If you miss out on these few minutes of the class, you have missed the purpose of the class. This moment of peace allows the body to not only be but the mind too.
When it comes to running have you ever finished a session and jumped straight in your car? How does your body feel? If it is anything like mine, its buzzing with energy and when I go form a forward movement to a sitting position that energy is somewhat trapped; by warming down post run you allow the energy to lovingly dissipate throughout the body; you give respect to the muscles and joints by winding down slowly; your body thanks you for the time given to just move with grace and respect.
Running vs yoga
Running and yoga are both a practice; a practice to tune in with the essential truth of who you are – it is the returning of awareness to itself, or to be aware of being aware.
Running and yoga are both a process. They are an active movement to engage with not only the outer world but our inner selves through a practice of flow. It’s the connection that is not only physical but emotional, mental, and spiritual.
Running and yoga are about the action and paying attention; it about losing yourself in your thoughts all the while being conscious of your thoughts; it’s about movement, meditation, and breath work.
They are a practice where some days the flow is easier than others but it’s a practice carried out with no judgment; you are what you are on the day.
Running and yoga are one the same but with different movements.
Be the Proof
You can be both a runner and a yogi however to do both; you need to understand the fundamentals of both practices; they are more than just about movement they are about a connection with oneself; one’s higher self. Once you connect with this, well the world really is yours to experience.
I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to my yoga guides; Mel Gush (Tula Yoga Flow) Prasanna, Ellie Crozier, Christian Ruelicke, Lara Schwerdt and Belinda Grigson (founder) all of which teach at Eastside Yoga & Pilates.