The weather is great, days are long…it’s training season! Runs may be getting longer, bike rides more intense and effort levels all around are probably increasing if you’re preparing for an endurance event this summer.
Getting out there and going strong is fine, but be sure to check in with your body, take a listen and understand what it is telling you.
As you increase distance and intensity, it’s important to figure out how the body is responding. Most of the time the body will follow along and get you where you need to go. But sometimes it will send you little signals that you need to slow down, back up or take a little break. It might even tell you to push a little harder.
This is where yoga comes in handy.
Athletics and yoga go together, and you can use yoga to improve your athletic performance.” — Kent Katich, yoga coach for the LA Clippers and former college basketball player
In yoga practice, we pay a lot of attention to tuning into the body so we can hear what it is telling us. When we are in the pose, we listen and feel, trying to understand where we feel tight, where we feel good and how deep into the pose we should go.
Many of these body cues are subtle, and you may have felt them as a little twinge, pinch or tightness that arises. Maybe you’ve felt a joint, tendon or muscle act up a little during a workout. It was not a good pain, like the kind of muscle fatigue that makes us stronger. It was a pain sensation that tells us something is not quite right. What did you do when you felt this? Did you back off or did you work through the pain?
It’s easy to do, and you wouldn’t be the first to do it.
However, when we choose to push through pain and continue to go for it, we are heading for trouble.
Take time to nurture your body, because we all know it’s no fun to be injured and put on the sidelines for a season, or even just for a race we were looking forward to.
Next time you’re in yoga class, close your eyes in mountain pose and get a sense of how the body is truly feeling at that moment. And as you move through the practice maintain that awareness and continually check in with how the body feels in each pose.
Remember that in each moment of each day the body is different. Don’t expect to be at the same place you were a week ago or even a day ago. Allowing the body to be right where it is at that moment and not pushing it somewhere it doesn’t want to go is the first step toward taking good care of your body.
Making that mind-body connection is the key to protecting yourself from a debilitating injury or strain. Your body will reward you by performing well and staying healthy.