Yoga for Runners

Yoga for Runners

with Reba Gray

Springtime brings growth: plants in the garden get taller and the days grow longer. Many of us catch the excitement of spring energy by getting back to our outdoor athletic pursuits like running and cycling.

But before you take off like a hot rod, incorporate some small yoga movements into your routine and warm up your muscles with some dynamic movements. Moving in and out of a stretch increases the core temperature of your muscles and stimulates the neurological system.

After your run, take the time for some gentle static stretches. These can be held for 5 breaths or more. Static stretches prevent injury and increase flexibility. After a run when your muscles are warm is a perfect time to gently work some of these muscles.

PRE-RUN: DYNAMIC STRETCHING

1. Runner’s Lunge

Seems obvious, but, a key pose for runners. Important because we spend so much time sitting, and the hip is in constant flexion. Place hands on water bottles or yoga blocks for support. Straighten and bend the back knee a few times to get tension out of the hip flexors. Press into the ball of the back foot.

2. Two-limbed Pose

Make sure the spine stays neutral and the front ribcage does not drop toward your mat. Reach one arm forward and the opposite leg behind you. Bring lifted knee toward lifted elbow, and round your back toward the ceiling.As you inhale, reach forward again with the arm while reaching behind with your leg. Repeat 3-5 times, then switch sides.

3. Reclining Abdominal Twist

Runners’ quadriceps can get strong, so try strengthening the adductors (inner thighs) with this pose. Squeeze a yoga block between thighs, keep knees at hip height.As you exhale, legs turn to the right, inhale, come back to center, exhaling legs to the left, and center. Repeat, squeezing the block firmly.

POST-RUN: STATIC STRETCHING

4. Calf Stretch

Keep your knees bent as you fold forward. Alternatively, this pose can be done standing on the street or on a stair, let your heel hang off the curb or step’s edge.

5. Toes Pose

Take care of your feet! If there is too much sensation in this stretch, lean forward onto your hands.

6. Reclining Cow-Faced Pose

Cross the legs tightly, hug your knees in, holding below the knees, shins, or ankles. Pull the legs right to left away from each other. Feel the stretch in your outer hips and thighs. This pose helps to increase the range of motion in the hips.


rebagrayYoga for Runners with Reba Gray on April 8th.

Learn how to nurture your body in specific postures and sequences that benefit runners! Adding a little yoga to your running regimen will increase endurance, keep your joints healthy, and reduce your risk of injury. The first half of this workshop explores dynamic stretching to prepare for your run. The second half will contain yoga poses that support you after your run. We will also explore abdominal work that will improve your running posture.
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Human Connection in a Digital Age

It seems ironic that though yoga is about connection (yoga means “to yolk”), it is such a solo practice. Though we may practice in groups, yoga invites us to focus on ourselves: my sensations, my thoughts, my habits, my abilities, etc. Where is the yolking? Where is the connecting?

Our digital culture also fuels more isolated pursuits. Even our social time is spent independently staring at our digital devices replying distally to a widening array of “friends”. However, humans are social creatures by nature, and our increasing isolation is thought to be one cause of increases in anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Partner Yoga provides an opportunity to truly connect to another person through physical contact, through shared breathing, through shared goals of creating the partner poses. We learn to listen not with our ears, but with our proprioception (awareness of your body in space). Partner yoga provides an opportunity to be sensitive not to only your own flexibility and needs in a pose, but that of your partner. It gives us a chance to tend to another, to be kind to another, to develop our sensitivity to another. It gives us a chance to connect.

“Through the practice of partner Yoga, the duality of self/other begins to dissolve and we experience directly the essence of Yoga – union.”

Elysabeth Williamson

PARTNER YOGA: THE PLEASURES AND THE PRINCIPLES

One of the reasons Facebook and Instagram are more popular than old-school, in-person interactions, is that they are navigated on our own terms. We have less fear of messing up, saying the wrong thing, being unpopular, than we do with in-person interactions. Similarly, fear may keep us from pursuing Partner Yoga. The practice evokes our inner dialogues of not being enough for our partner: not skilled enough, or flexible enough, or strong enough or patient enough.

Our willingness to engage in something, even in the presence of fear, represents our courage. And, courageous action enhances our resilience. Of course, every pose doesn’t come off perfectly on its first attempt, or second, or perhaps ever. But, being in the practice enhances our sense of capability. We learn that we can navigate challenges peacefully. We learn to express our needs and listen to the needs of our partners kindly.

And with that sense of ability, our fear diminishes and we start to find the joy of being embodied, the joy of moving with another friend in a type of meditative dance. We develop a sense of accomplishment. And, most importantly for our sanity and happiness, we experience true human connection.

I am happy to offer another Partner Yoga and Thai Massage Workshop with my husband, Steven. Come join us for an afternoon of connecting. Bring a friend or loved one. Give yourselves the gift of some unplugged time together.

[Original Post on The Opener Blog]


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Partner Yoga and Thai Massage with Domonick Wegesin

No experience is required. Domonick will provide clear, easy-to-follow directions to create a safe environment for your exploration. Bring a partner with whom you feel comfortable being in close contact.

Saturday, November 11th at  1:30 – 4:00 pm at  Namaste Grand Lake

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Take Back the Morning

If you’re reading this post, most likely you’ve taken a gander at the first page of google results that pop up when you search “Best Tips for a Morning Routine”. It’s become a trend to promote the importance of routine, especially when it comes to setting the tone for the day. The problem is sometimes we just don’t have enough control over our schedules.

Work, kids, illness, or guests can keep us up late and result in a rushed morning. Getting to bed on time is the first step, but once your schedule becomes unstable, it’s hard to to get the routine train back on track. Starting small is the first step. In honor of Margi Young’s upcoming Morning Immersion series we wanted to offer some sweet ways to guide yourself back into a simple morning ritual.

Don’t jump out of bed.

Although it may be counter intuitive to stay in bed it’s the best way to gently wake yourself up. Arianna Huffington, who recently came out with the new book The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At a Time, recommends not even waking up with alarm! The reason she gives is that alarms can be violent and jarring, starting your morning with anxiety. Waking up without an alarm may not be an option for you – but giving yourself  a few moments to just gently wake up can change your whole mood.

To maximize the first 5 minutes awake try propping yourself up with pillows, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing for 20 counts. Think about your intention for the day and possibly a few things you are grateful for. Then hop out of bed.

Keep Movement Simple.

If exercise has been elusive or you prefer to sweat it out in the evening then keep your movement routine simple. Once you’ve hopped out of bed, role out your mat (or keep it out from the night before!), do a few cat-cows and work out those sleepy kinks. If you are feeling good, try 3 to 5 sun salutations. Don’t guilt yourself for not doing enough. Small wins are where it’s at. Once you stick to 5-10 minutes of movement you will naturally start to grow the practice of doing more.

Drink Water (Preferably with Lemon)

Slice up some lemon slices the night before and keep them in the fridge. As soon as you are done with your morning yoga grab some lemon wedges and a glass of water. Your body is working hard to cleanse itself at night and we all wake up a little dehydrated. Life is sustained by water and you will feel better the more hydrated you stay. Drinking some fresh H2o first thing in the morning can help with grogginess, digestion, and mood.

This entire routine should take no more than 15-20 minutes. Keeping it simple and working on being compassionate with yourself will help alleviate any tension and anxiety. Before you know it you will be looking forward to having your sweet morning ritual.


Still struggling to feel back on track? Try to incentivize with some social support.

Get your summer off to a great start by committing to your practice during this 4 day “mini retreat” at Rockridge. Each morning will have a physical theme, a philosophical theme, and will end with breath work and a short meditation. You will be given homework to practice during the day so that your practice on the mat becomes more integrated into your life off the mat.

margi-200Morning Immersion with Margi Young

Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu

Date: Jun 06, 2016 – Jun 09, 2016

From: 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM Location: Rockridge

 

 

 

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Manduka Yogi of the Month: Amanda Freeze

Each month we partner with Manduka to honor one member of our Namaste community. In May, we selected Amanda Freeze, a newer student at our studio, for her enthusiasm and delight in the practice of yoga. It was unanimous! Everyone loves to see Amanda growing into her practice. We asked her a couple of questions to honor this member of our community as she received her complimentary Manduka Ekolite mat (Thanks, Manduka!).

Occupation

Manager of a small bakery

Fun Fact About You?

I lived on a boat for a few years when I moved to California.

When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you?

Planning parties with friends or exploring beaches.

Favorite East Bay business?

Berkeley Bowl, Boot & Shoe Service & Namaste.

How did you find yoga? What inspired you to start a practice?

A great friend encouraged me to start yoga to improve my health and helped me find the right class and accompanied me to that class.

How has your yoga practice shaped who you are?

It reminds me to treat myself with loving kindness.  Whether that be by being gentle with myself or pushing myself to do more.

Favorite Asana?

Pigeon!

Why do you love Namaste?

Everyone has been kind, friendly and helpful.  I especially enjoy Poh’s approach of encouraging people to be mindful of their bodies’ needs.

What do we take from this? Thank goodness for good friends who will go the distance with you! Thank goodness for yoga and its little reminders of how to treat ourselves!

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How to Empower Your Students

by Abby Tucker

A lot of my students and peers have been asking:

What IS Progressive Teaching and why does it make you a better teacher, empower your students and build a strong community of committed and consistent students?

The answer is really pretty simple.

Progressive teaching connects one class to another while reinforcing what’s been learned and expanding it into more.   Along the way, students become fully engaged in the process of learning, deepening, growing in their practices while developing bonds with each other.  Progressive teaching is sequencing not just over the course of a class, but over the course of a week, a month, a year, 5 years.

Progressive teaching weaves a thread of connection from class-to-class in a way that students can’t wait to find out what’s happening next.

You may have heard of or even become a devoted listener of the surprise runaway success podcast Serial.  Over the course of 12 weeks, journalist Sarah Koenig methodically and charismatically follows a single story.  Each week is built on the next and there’s really no way to just drop-in.  Listeners filled the social media-sphere with conversations, thought about it, tried to solve the mystery at home, and couldn’t wait until the next episode came out a long week later often gathering together with friends to do so.

Compare that, to say, a sitcom on TV. You can sit down, turn it on having never seen it before, watch it, laughing and thoroughly enjoying it, but an hour later, you’ve forgotten it and only occasionally remember to tune in next week.

Though it’s not exactly the same, by teaching yoga in a methodic and serial story format, your students are more likely to return week to week and to see their practice progress empowering them and exciting them to learn and practice more.

Students who are new to your class immediately sense that something is happening in these classes and your students become a magnet attracting more.

Please join us June 13 – 17 for The Art of Progressive Teaching. This 25-hour continuing education program for yoga teachers is designed to give you the tools to truly embody the role of teacher. Learn about the program here.

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Maternal Lineage Meditation

Maternal Lineage Meditation

This body-mind meditation is part restorative yoga posture/part guided meditation, a whole body offering to your lineage of maternal ancestors, and an embodied acknowledgement of the earth beneath you that holds you up.  This meditation was inspired from the wise words of my doula in a moment of birthing my son where I felt I had no reserves left to go on.  She came close to me, placed her hand over mine, looked me in the eyes and said:

“I need you to dig down deep and feel all the women who have done this before you.  I need you to feel their strength rooting you down and holding you up.”

Those words nourished my soul with the last drops of energy I needed to move forward in my labor.  And I often think of all the mothers before me, who have shared in this path of motherhood, when I am holding my son on one hip, tired at the end of the day.

About Lily Dwyer-Begg

Though she has had a committed practice since 2000, Lily’s most profound, direct, earthy, transcendent, and soul-altering experience of yoga in her lifetime was giving birth to her son Blaise in 2013. Lily has taught yoga since 2005 in Berkeley, CA; Berlin, Germany; and Baltimore, Maryland. Her work has brought her to work with hundreds of pregnant and postpartum mothers, in yoga studios internationally, with an NBA basketball team, an NCAA diving team, and to homeless women and children. Lily studied with Shiva Rea, Ana Forrest, Don and Amba Stapleton, David Moreno, yoga for scoliosis with Elise Browning Miller, Ayurveda with Kameko Shibata, Prenatal yoga with Marisa Toriggino, and Yoga for the Female Pelvic Floor with Leslie Howard.

Her approach to Prenatal Yoga is a signature balance of precise alignment based posture, slow flow, uplifting community building, and humble acknowledgement of the sacred inner strength, boundless love, and liberated consciousness within all mothers every step of their own motherhood journey no matter what shape it takes. She currently makes her home in Baltimore with her husband, Aaron and son, Blaise where she is the director of the YogaWorks Baltimore Prenatal Yoga Teacher Training.

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Style Stories: Practice On

Style Stories: Practice On

Rain or shine, make the space to get to your practice. Mine has been inspired lately by the rainy weather we have been receiving here in NorCal. I’ve been channeling all sorts of greys and greens and blues, followed closely by the pinks and yellows of the abundant gardens of the world. This rain has spring chomping at the bits.

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Delighting in the moody blues. From left to right: Gossamer Zen double-sided printed yoga mat, Free People Moonshadow legging, Free People High Neck Crop Tank in Jungle Green, SaraLua recycled glass and rudrashka mala, Manduka tie-dye Yogitoes towel mat.

saraswati-jewelry

Blaze ahead. Keep your fingers activated on the keyboard with jewelry from this sacred geometry inspired line, Saraswati. New to our boutiques, this affordable brass jewelry will brighten up any spring look. Yeah, you might need to take this one off and set on the edge of your mat while practicing…but I couldn’t resist sharing!

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Lighten Up. Channel the colors and moods of Spring. From left to right: Manduka grey recycled yoga block, Free People pink turnout Legging, New Harbinger Buddha’s Brain, Magic Carpet printed mat, Onzie waterproof bra (doubles as a bathing suit on retreat!), Wolf Child Venom Vision tank.

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Earthy Grounding. The softness of this faux suede shawl is the best reminder to soften into everything (even your warrior 2!). Plus with our NorCal weather, it’s always smart to have a light layer stowed away in your purse.

Signing off for now!

Helene Cotton, Creative Director of Namaste Yoga

 

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Manduka Yogi of the Month: Keely Burke

We’re so excited to announce our yogi of the month for March: Keely Burke.  Keely is a long time Namaste student (and all around awesome lady) that maintains a consistent practice with a full schedule. Read all about her below and send her some love in the comments!

Occupation:

I am an Expressive Arts Psychotherapist and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  That means I use the arts: drama, movement, visual art, music, poetry, etc, as part of the way I help people heal their emotional, psychological and spiritual wounds.  My healing work is with adults, couples, families and children.  You can find me at Center for Creative Growth, in North Berkeley. 

Fun Fact About You?

I’ve been studying the fiddle for the last two years learning to play Oldtime, Celtic, Country and Bluegrass music…and I got to play at the Freight and Salvage last May for Manning Music Studio’s student concert.

What inspires you?

My joyful, sweet, loving and playful 12 year old Cairn terrier, Molly, and 2 nieces Collins and Talbot, are great sources of inspiration helping me in my Metta practice very much to love myself and bring more of my loving heart to the world.

When you aren’t on the mat, where can we find you?

Hiking in the hills or redwoods, walking Molly at Point Isabel, blues dancing at La Pena, fiddling at Manning Music, with friends making local veggie filled meals, or traveling – I made it to South India last fall.

Favorite East Bay business?

Besides Namaste?!  Vics Chat Shop, with delicious Masala Dosa, just like what I ate when I was in India in October.

How has your yoga practice shaped who you are?

My yoga practice has influenced every area of my life.  I’ve been practicing for nearly 20 years now.  I started in my teens as a way to exercise.  Over the years, yoga has helped me to focus, soothe, calm and strengthen my body and subsequently heart, mind and spirit.  Being able to do this for myself has made me a better person, friend, partner, family member, healer and citizen. Yoga has taught me to stay with my inner experience, to keep breathing in challenging poses or through sometimes very difficult emotions on or off the mat.  By breathing and staying with my experience in yoga, I always again find peace, connection, bliss and union with the Divine.  Then I can act from that place, with a clear, warm, deep heart.  These gifts of my practice I can then give to my clients and all people in my life. 

Favorite Asana?

Do I have to pick just one?

I love Arda Chandra Chapasana or Half Moon Pose with bow.  I love the combination of balancing on one leg, while doing a hip and heart opener.  I feel like my body can shine out in this pose.  I can never get enough of Viparita Karani (legs up the wall), though. My body loves to sink deep into the ground and get still.

Why do you love Namaste?

I can’t possibly name all the reasons I love Namaste.  Primarily it’s the community that creates such a healing, warm and loving space.  My primary teachers: Kimber, Margi, Abby, Elana, and Alexis, help me love my body and connect to my deepest, highest self.  Through an immersion with Kimber, I got to know deeply a large group of fellow yogis that I get to gets hugs and brunch with regularly.  The managers Christine and Tosha are such sweet and kind lights welcoming me to my classes or my massage.  I’ve gotten fabulous massages, especially with Nathan.  Overall, everyone is so kind!  I don’t know Kimberly well, but under her guidance, all three studios have such a calm, kind, and professional presence that create a regular place for me to tune in.

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Moon Flow Sequence by Abby Tucker

You’re probably very familiar with “Surya Namaskar”, or “Sun Salute”, but do you know the moon flow? If not, you’ll definitely want to check out the “Chandra Namaskar” or “Moon Flow” sequence below, a beautiful way to bring a sense of grounding and rest to the body when you’ve had too much yang energy or need to cool down heat and fire in the body. Modern yogis looking for a very active practice often seek out flows like Surya Namaskar, which builds heat and allows energy to rise, taking us deeper in to our practice. Chandra Namaskar, on a the other hand, invites in the opposite power of soothing and rest which actually replenishes our energy stores. Therefore, this moon salutation really brings us in to a balanced practice and lifestyle. If you feel like you’re lacking energy pay heed to that feeling and instead of doing a vigorous practice try a more meditative practice like Chandra Namaskar. Your body and mind will thank you!

Our resident “Moon Mama” Abby Tucker brings us this delicious sequence for the full moon and new moon dates, or anytime you feel the call of la lune. We’ve mirrored the flow in the sequence below for easy following along. May your nights be bright, shiny and balanced.

MoonFlow

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Inspire Your Workday: Six Yoga Poses for Any Body

You can take a yogi out of her yoga clothes, but she takes yoga with her wherever she goes. Namaste teacher Poh Teng shares some easy office yoga postures to bring spacious presence into the body, heart and mind.  The best part is that this sequence is good for any body and and takes very little time, squeeze it in between meetings, during conference calls, or a few moments before lunch.

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Pepper the postures throughout a busy day at the office, or incorporate the entire sequence into your routine by practicing at the same time everyday.  Hold each posture for five, deep breaths. If a posture has a left side and a right side, don’t forget about the second side.

 

To learn more about Poh, visit pOhmYoga.com

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