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How can yoga help you attain your exercise goals?

#english #exercise #yoga Feb 08, 2022
I ran my first half marathon in Sedona and it was amazing!
It was a hilly road between 3,000-4,000 feet. I have to admit I had only trained at sea level in mostly flat roads. So both the altitude and the steep roads were a bit intimidating but also a welcomed challenge! If you want to see the video of the course, I made one that you can watch 👇🏼 below.
One of the things that I value the most is challenging myself to grow beyond what I think I can do.I bet you know what I am talking about. I'm sure you have also felt a kind of magic once you overcome your own limits and tap into something greater than yourself. 🔆
However, many times we close ourselves to trying new things. We "convince ourselves" that we CANNOT do certain things.
"I do not have time".
"I am not disciplined"
"I am too old"...
I get it... sometimes it is physically impossible to do certain things. But other times, it is OUR mind that sets limits to our behaviors and actions.
How did being a yoga practitioner, yoga teacher and yoga therapist help me accomplish my goal to run a half marathon?
And more importantly,
How can you leverage your yoga practice to do the kind of exercise that you want consistently and with more joy?
The most obvious benefit is that yoga prepares your body physically. I suggest a yoga practice of 30-45 min a day, 5 times a week. Regular and short practices will give you lots of benefits that will translate into better athletic performance.
Yoga practice is called "a practice" because we, on the mat, can practice "Being in the Now", observing ourselves, our body, our thoughts, our sensations, emotions, and judgements about ourselves, others and the world. It is an opportunity for self-discovery and in the acceptance of who we are, there is a moment of crossing the doorway into a new world where there is the existence of something that fills us with understanding, peace, more acceptance and other forms of transcendence. Yoga helps you face those scary parts of yourself that you might be rejecting. In facing who we are, that is when we feel more freedom.  In that self-acceptance we can start to break our own limiting thoughts and work towards that exercise goal that we have been wanting to attain.
How does it translate to my personal experience? While in the race, I noticed that I was not the fastest runner as lots of people were going past me. Knowing my tendencies to compare myself to others, I decided to come back to my center, which yoga has taught me, and reach a place of self-acceptance while striving to do my very best. It made the experience so enjoyable!
Another important aspect of yoga is lifting your gaze. When practicing yoga, I encourage my students to lift their gaze towards the point between the eyebrows. This is highest center in the brain. This is the height of concentration. Have you ever tried looking at people, walking or thinking with your gaze lifted? Please do so often! You will find something quite interesting. (More on that for another day!) When exercising, lift your gaze.
When I was training for the half marathon, I fixed my gaze at the sky at about 45 degrees while maintaining good awareness of my body in space. Time flew and a sense of joy and timelessness came through me many times.
Yoga teaches you how to keep your spine and body alignment in integrity and how to breathe. As you can imagine, this is a skill that we can easily transfer to any sport, including walking, biking, and running. Breathing in alignment fully with your diaphragm gives you more oxygen and takes you to a place of flow...
Whether you are new to yoga or a more seasoned practitioner, I assure you that yoga is transforming you in ways that you probably do not realize yet. Keep practicing!   
And if you are curious about how to deepen your yoga practice, please reach out to me. I give private and group instruction in-person and via zoom.
Be sure to check the video below. It is a 7 min video depicting 6 miles of the road that I ran that day. If you want to see my favorite view fast forward to min 3.30.
Let's discover together what lies behind our limitations. Let's dare to set free and find the magic that lies untapped. And let's do it with radiant health!

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