I ran a monster trail race last weekend. The race is legendary for its difficulty. It was “only” a 25k, but it took me longer to complete than a typical road marathon. The day after the race, my husband Bill and I left our home (at 2:30 a.m.) to catch a flight to Colorado to visit our grandson. Oh, yes…our son and daughter-in-law were there too.
Between recovering from the race, babysitting, and the lack of air in Colorado at 6800 feet, I did not do a lot of running this week (my running log for the week shows a whopping seven miles!) In fact, I have not done much of anything other than turn stones over to look for bugs, throw rocks in the river, and help build Lego towers. I know that Bill is in all the pictures. Our grandson was his little shadow for the week. I just tagged along with the two of them, and that was fine with me.
I can’t remember having such a low mileage week in, well, ever. If I am not sick, I am running. The weekend before the 25k, we did a road 10k, that I originally planned to race. I just didn’t have the legs for it, though, because the week before that, we did a tough trail half. I think the rest week was good for me.
I am ready to start building up for a summer marathon, and my legs are feeling creaky. Some yoga would be good for me. Yoga has been a supplement to my running for 15 years. I started with Bikram yoga (hot yoga for those of you non-yogis). Bikram is a physically demanding style of yoga done in a studio at 100+ degrees. I liked Bikram, but because my focus was running, it was more of a workout than I wanted. I have been doing power yoga rather than Bikram for the last few years.
Now, I have to explain – I am a runner doing yoga. I am not flexible. My hamstrings, hips and calves are very tight from running. I once took a yoga class advertised as “Yoga for Runners”. The instructor thought to help us stretch our tight leg muscles. She instructed us to sit, as she did, on our mats spread-eagle and lean forward with a straight back until our nose touched the ground. All of the runners who are reading this now are laughing hysterically at that mental picture. The best we runners could do was to sit up straight at a 90 degree angle. Our forward “lean” consisted of hunching our shoulders toward our knees in a desperate attempt to mimic the instructor’s posture. Even after six weeks of class, none of us could come anywhere close to a forward fold.
My favorite yoga pose is the pigeon (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, for the purists). When our instructor calls this pose, I say a silent “Yes!!!“, and I anticipate the pleasure/pain of relaxing into the pose, which is held for over a minute on each side. It helps loosens tight hips, which I undoubtedly need.
Marcy is my favorite instructor. She is a serious athlete and lots of fun, too. She regularly holds a Detox/Retox Yoga evening for her regulars, where we do yoga for an hour (detox), then go drink some wine (retox). I like her teaching method, because she walks around the class and makes minor adjustments to her students’ poses. This way, your body can remember what the pose is supposed to feel like. I also enjoy the pithy quotes that she dispenses while we are sweating and straining in the most difficult positions.
One time, when we were holding pigeon pose for an extra long time, and the pleasure/pain equation had definitely shifted toward pain, Marcy asked us “What can you let go of?” Good question. What can I let go of?
She was asking us to relax muscles that we may have reflexively tightened, so that we could sink more deeply into the pose, but it’s a good question for other areas of our lives too.
Can I let go of anger? Indignation? Guilt? Can I let go of resentment? All of these emotions are damaging to my well-being, and yet I experience them more often that I like to admit. When we replay a past hurt over and over in our mind, it doesn’t change the outcome, it just wears deeper grooves for our negative feelings to settle into. The way to move forward is to acknowledge the pain, then let it go. I know this. Why does it sometimes take me so long to do it?
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20923360
Eckhart Tolle is a German-born spiritual teacher and author. The Power of Now, probably his most well-known work, receives mixed reviews from theologians (and from me). Amidst some New Age-y philosophy and banal platitudes are some nuggets of deep insight. Tolle believes that our problems give us our sense of identity. They define who we are. We can’t move beyond them because it scares us to do so.
To think that my identity depends on my “issues” is rather depressing, but the explanation makes sense. Why else would we cling to destructive emotions?
I just re-read a parable in Luke, in which Christ encouraged a rich man to let it go. The rich man asked Jesus how to get into heaven. Jesus first mentioned five of the Ten Commandments, to which the rich man replied, “No problem!” He then told the rich man to sell all he owned and give the money to the poor. Unfortunately, the man’s greed was his identity. He could not let it go. The parable, however, does have a happy ending, when Christ explains to his disciples “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
What if we would substitute the word “Love” for “God” in that sentence? The bible tells us that God is Love. Could Love allow me let go of anger, indignation, guilt and resentment? Of course. Would my identity be intact if I let them go? Yes, I would still be myself, just a better, more tranquil version. When we focus on love, our grip on negative emotions is loosened, and we can let go.
I just looked up the yoga schedule for tomorrow. Marcy is teaching the 9:00 class. I think I will go. She usually takes requests before class, and I am planning to request pigeon pose. If, while we hold the pose, she asks us “What can you let go of?” I will have an answer ready.
I am linking up with Jamie Sumner for Sunday Thoughts. Visit here for faith-based posts from many other bloggers. I am linking up with Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well. If you like this post, you may want to visit to read what other bloggers have to say!
I am linking up with Debbie at Dare 2 Hear. Check out the inspirational posts on her Tune in Thursdays. I am linking up with Holley Gerth for Coffee for Your Heart. I am joining Running on Happy, Crazy Running Girl, and Coach Debbie Runs for the Coaches’ Corner linkup! I am also linking up with Nicole and Annmarie for Wild Workout Wednesday.
I am linking up with Char at Trekking Thru. Check out some moving inspirational blogs here. I am also linking up with Teaching What Is Good for their Tuesday Link-up. Visit here for inspirational posts from many other bloggers. I am linking up with Patty, Erika and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run. Love these running-related blogs!
I am linking up with Clean East Fast Feets for her Week in Review. Check it out for some more great reads (including some very yummy recipes!) I am also linking up with Darling Downs Diaries for their Good Morning Mondays. Check out the inspirational posts!