Happy Friday everyone! This has been a super long week and I am thrilled that tomorrow is Saturday. I can't wait. Phew. In the meantime, I'm joining up with the Friday Five link-up hosted by Cynthia at You Signed Up for What, Mar at Mar on the Run, and Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC for this week's Friday Five topic - Five Reason to _____________! Hmmm... Five reasons to sleep in... Five reasons to eat more chocolate.... Five reasons I really should get a pedicure.... getting off track here. So I settled on:
Five Reasons to Include Yoga in Any Training Plan
1. It is the perfect counterpoint to endurance training. High impact, repetitive activities like running and biking take a toll on your joints and muscles. A regular yoga practice stretches and strengthens the muscles that support your other activities, increasing performance.
2. Injury prevention. This is a prime example of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do. I try to do yoga on a regular basis. However, I'm 100% confident that if I was better about it I wouldn't have nearly the number or severity of running-related injuries I do. Tight muscles that are never released, imbalances in your muscles, weakness in your core - all of these lead to injury. Yoga is a reset button that prepares your body to repeat your workout the next day. Without the reset, these imbalances and tight spot build up and turn into injury.
3. Peace of mind. The meditative aspect of yoga is tremendously powerful. I find a yoga class to be one of most calming activities in my weekly routine. While there is something to be said for the endorphin-driven stress release of a hard workout, it's just not possible to always push it hard in order to de-stress. At some point your body revolts. Having a way to calm your mind while restoring your body instead further stressing it (physically) is a valuable tool to have in your arsenal.
4. Building good habits. Even if you are training for an IronMan, chances are you're only actively training 15-20 hours a week. But you breath, sit, walk, and move around in your body 24/7. Yoga teaches an awareness of your body, your posture, your breathing, and your mind that you can practice any time. Sitting at your office desk, waiting for the train, getting ready for bed - you can "practice" yoga anywhere. I've said it before - I'll say it again - It's all mental. Yoga is very helpful for the mental aspect of training.
5. Variety. Did you know there are several kinds of yoga? Power yoga offer quick transitions through poses for a tough strength workout while you build flexibility. Bikram (hot) yoga is the same sequences in a specific order in a warm, de-toxifiying room. Restorative yoga focuses on injury prevention. Yoga for relaxation. Yoga for runners (my favorite DVD). Prenatal yoga. Iyengar. Hatha. So many kinds of yoga to try, and so many to use depending on what your body needs on a given day. Moreover, while classes are ideal, there are a plethora of DVDs and free videos on various internet channels, so you can practice at home. My most common practice space is my kids' playroom. The biggest challenge there is getting them to clean it for Mommy.....