I have two of the greatest, most open minded and free spirited roommates. They are yoga fanatics and advocates, who place high value on flexibility and balance. They are very athletic and are both great climbers. All of us ran in college my athletic career just lasted a bit longer than theirs. They quit the team their sophomore year and I continued, but that is a story for a different day.
I have been coming back from a running injury that put me out of commission for two months. It will sound small, but I had tendentious in my right ankle. I think the deal breaker was when I ran on it until I could barely walk, and my ankle then got swallow to double the normal size. It was unbelievably painful and running on it, sounds like a stupid idea and it was, I know. I like many runners was under the impression that it would just go away. Also I claim to be blinded by love, the love of running. It brings happiness and joy to my life.
I don’t regret being hurt although I hate how much fitness I have lost. I had never been this injured before; I had never had a stress fracture (knock on wood) or broke a bone in my life (knock on wood). Being injured and having that much down time kind of brought me to some realizations. If I had to pick I would say I have learned two major things. Lesson one that my body cannot (and shouldn’t have to) handle everything that is thrown at it and two don’t take advantage of your gifts. Running, climbing and any physical activity is a gift, it is not a privilege and we should treat it that way. I will never push my body like that again, an injury is an injury and when your body needs down time take it now rather than later. A side lesson that I learned is that even if you get hurt you aren’t going to start at square one. Yes, you will have to take some steps backward, but your body retains muscle memory and you’ll come back from it.
My runs currently last about 30 minutes and I have yet to do a work out, so I am still building into it. I have been lifting with focus on my balance and ankle strengthening. This is to rid my body of the tiny bit of tightness that remains since I am still not 100%.
Last week my roomies challenged me. They both think that I should be doing yoga more than I am now. Not only to help cure my current injury, but also to increase my flexibility and reduce stress. I decided to take it a step further. Since I haven’t competed in a while I said, “Well it takes 30 days to make a habit, so I will do at least 20 minutes of yoga a day for 30days”.
Thus far I have got 11 days under my belt and counting. This has not been easy, I am a track coach at NMU so last weekend we got back from the meet at 2:00am. When I finally reached home I realized I still needed to do my “yoga challenge”. I dribbled into downward dog, held a wobbly warrior one and almost feel asleep in savasana, but I did it. After my 20 minutes I crashed with a dreamlike feeling of accomplishment. I was also proud of myself because sometimes after I get home from meets I eat more. I am not sure why, because I am not practically hungry and it is also bad because I go to bed right after. This time instead I did my yoga and afterward nothing sounded better than bed.
I know it has only been 11 days, but I have noticed some improvements. I have an increased flexibility in my shoulders. I have very tight shoulders as runners tend to have, but each time I do yoga I feel better and better. I also feel like my balance has improved in my lifting exercise routines. I am also a boulder lover and I feel and increase in hip flexibility and I am more fluid with my movements when I climb.
The idea that yoga is a lifestyle may have more truth than we think. It is not just doing poses, but also taking care of your body. Eating right, resting when you need rest and taking care of the little things. Don’t knock it till you have tried it. There may be no proof that stretching prevents injury, but there is no arguing with how you feel after a good yoga session. Just try it. Join me in my 30 day challenge and let me know how you feel after the 30 days are up. I can guarantee you won’t look back.