February 11, 2007

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga

Long before I finished the marathon, I promised myself a month of heavy-yoga and light-running to recuperate. I'm a week out and I haven't logged a mile. My legs feel recovered, more or less, but I'm enjoying the down time. Everything I read agreed: unless you are an elite runner used to running over 100 miles per week (yeah right!), then, you can't run for 3 days after a marathon, no matter how much you want to. Turns out, I didn't really want to, so that wasn't much of a problem. Also, after 3 days, the recovery theories are all over the place. Some say you could do a 10K in a month, others, a marathon in a month, others say no hard miles for 26 days (no speed training, no hills, and definitely no racing). I figured I'd err on the side of caution and substitute in some additional yoga, since my strength and stretching took a bit of a hit during the marathon training.

On Friday, for the first time since the marathon, I felt like I wanted to workout. Not much, mind you. But a little. So, I did 20 minutes of the easier flows from Shiva Rea's Yoga Shakti and I was done. I left for work relaxed and calm.

Saturday, I did the basic flow from the same DVD and I finished in an almost overpowering meditative state. Physically, the workout was not that demanding, but mentally, I had not experienced that level of release from stress in at least several months. I was amazed that such a powerful calm could arise from breathing through such a simple and non-physically demanding series of movements, if done in the right frame of mind. Too bad I rarely attain that frame of mind.

Because I typically need a physically demanding workout to get me to the point where meditation does me any good, I figured I should spend some more time investigating Ashtanga Yoga. I bought David Swenson's The Primary Series DVD. I have his book and have tried to do the primary series from it several times, but it is too annoying to look down to the book every other minute for guidance.

Once, I took an Ashtanga Primary Series class in a studio, and while I found the large room of rhythmic movement and breathing to be a great workout, and quite difficult, I did not find that I liked the class environment. So, I figured a DVD of the primary series from the acknowledged expert in the US on this type of practice would be the way to go.

This explains how, this morning, E2 and I worked our way through as much of the primary series DVD as we could handle. HOLY CRAP. David Swenson's take on the primary series looks very different that what I saw when I took the class. All sorts of vinyasas ending in handstands(!). All sorts of other crap there's not room to do in my living room including rolling around like a bug. All sorts of stuff that makes our travel sticky mats completely inadequate for practice. And, let's not forget that he's something of an alien and hyper flexible in weird ways, and he did the whole DVD in a purple tank top and tight white spandex shorts, which inspired E2 to bust out with, "But, I don't want to see your PeePee!" every time we'd get just a little too much in view.

Apparently, the introduction to this DVD describes the modifications you can make while following along, but E2 and I fast-forwarded through that last night, so we had no idea. All of a sudden, running more and doing less yoga this month sounds more appealing.

I guess I'm more like those people who immediately start planning their next marathon and want to get back in their shoes too soon than I thought.

But no, I'll stay on my original plan. I will put in some quality time with this DVD. If nothing else, I'd like to get to the point where I know a modified version of the primary series by heart so I can lead myself through it without the DVD. Also, I'm already starting to get sore, so I know it was as great of a workout as it felt like it was.

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