I think I’ve overdone it on the beets and butternut squash.
Is it too early in the season for that? Probably. But that’s OK… I’m moving on to soup this weekend. Maybe beets and butternut can get another rotation early in 2013.
So while I’m busy being grossed out by the foods I loved last week, it’s probably a good time to talk about yoga.
I love yoga! I’ve really gotten into it in the past 3 or 4 years, and think it’s a great complement to my running (and motivation to get in some exercise after work). When I moved to Salt Lake, I found a great yoga studio within just a few days of being here, and have been going regularly ever since.
I love the feeling of being strong. But I’m also kinda lazy… and that’s where yoga comes in. Yoga can be intense, but it can also be relaxing, and you have someone guiding you through every pose. Especially with a good teacher, yoga is enjoyable for me, and I don’t mind going 2-3 times a week. That is vastly different from weight-lifting, which I find difficult to keep up. I’ve had personal trainers in the past, and while I do develop muscle quickly from weight lifting… then I’m always too tired and sore to do the things I enjoy (like yoga and running). Yoga is probably never going to make me look insanely buff, but it does give me some upper-body strength that I definitely do not come by naturally. It also strengthens and stretches my legs for running.
During my first year in Utah, my roommate Kera and I went regularly to the Power 1 & 2 class at our studio. It’s a 90-minute class, hard but not excessively so, and the teacher loves working up to inversions and arm-balances. It’s a good balance of stretching and strengthening, and I always felt awesome after class. Then this summer, something bad happened. I hurt my hip trying to get into twig pose (twig? stick? I can never remember the difference) at class and had to stop running. It was actually really painful and took weeks and weeks to heal. So I started to rethink my approach to yoga. Maybe, if I wanted to focus on running, I should stop with these crazy poses. Just focus on strength and forget headstands and deep stretching, anything that could injure me.
So I switched from my Power class to Yoga for Athletes at the same studio. Objectively, it made sense – I was focusing on quad and core strength, which I need for running. But it was hard. At first it was hard in a good way – like “hey, I’m getting better at this!” – but then it just wasn’t fun anymore. Like, standing at the top of my mat at the beginning of class, DREADING the next 75 minutes and wishing I hadn’t come. That is not what yoga is about! I was definitely getting stronger, but I was also getting tighter, and before I knew it, my old knee injury was back in full force, keeping me from running yet again. Initially I thought that more strengthening was the solution, and I kept going to class regularly. Then, realizing how little stretching and opening we were doing in class, I started rethinking my yoga practice a second time.
So now I’m back at Power 1 & 2 – thank goodness! The first night back in that class, I realized how much more fun it was than Yoga for Athletes, and how much more relaxed I was – not at all dreading what the teacher was going to do to me over the next 90 minutes. After a month back in that class, my knee is already feeling quite a bit better, and I actually went on 2 runs this weekend! Hooray!
Basically, between yoga and running, I would choose running. But I realize that I need some strength training in my life, as well as a regular excuse to stretch and breathe deeply. Right now, yoga plays a supporting role in my workouts, but I think it’s a great hobby long-term. Someday when I’m old and gray, I hope that my bones will still be strong and I’ll still be going to yoga several times a week!