After I finished my first marathon, I wanted to take a break from running. Not exactly taking a break as in no running at all, but I want to take off from training. I want to run, because I like to do it and it’s part of my habit – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays are for running. So, in the meantime, I’ve been wanting to focus more on yoga, if not swimming. Since I have access to swimming pool, I find that I can always do it anytime I want and learn it myself. In fact, even during training, I would incorporate swimming as part of my cross train, especially after a long run.
Doing a triathlon interests me a lot, but I don’t have a bicycle. So I’m not too sure if I want to go ahead and start training for that, though it must be a lot of fun!
After I got the news that I was accepted to run the New York Marathon this year, I decided I should take the time off to do other non-cardio sports. I want to enjoy the time off before I start training again. So, I chose yoga.
Though yoga has been around for quite some times then, even when I was still in the US when it made full-force entry to the country then, I never tried yoga until I came back to Indonesia. The only reason was that because I was more into pilates when I was in the US. When I went home to Indonesia for good in early 2005, pilates was not so well-known then. It was not that easy to find a place that offers pilates practice, and even if there is, it’s so damn expensive. So I shifted to yoga, which was more popular among the Indonesian (read: Jakarta) crowd. My colleagues at work arranged a yoga class once a week after work, and I joined in. Since I’m used to do pilates, which somehow has basic similarity with yoga poses, I eased in to the yoga practice. I started to enjoy it and after a year, started to do some hard poses too, though not too successfull in some.
After I moved to Singapore, I did have an attempt of doing yoga, through Youtube and community classes – both for prenatal and postnatal. Somehow, it didn’t fit in. The classes that I took was too basic that it was too boring for me. I was used to do power or cardio yoga. I guess I’ve always interested in cardio workouts. So I only do yoga whenever I can and only doing it at home.
During my training for marathon, MamaRunnersSG had a yoga class and invited a teacher, which just so happen that she lives nearby. I found that yoga helps me stretch well. I was intrigued. I should start doing yoga again, I thought, after all the training is done.
So it was just a perfect time that I should focus more on yoga during my “time off”. After browsing around, I decided that I should have a private session. At least it would help me to learn it the right way with better quality.
Two months ago, I started the private sessions at home. Twice a week in the morning before work and once on Saturday in the class (usually I joined the free community classes by Lululemon). In between those days, I still run. Short easy run or interval run on weekdays, and easy long run on Sunday (not more than 10km). It’s a perfect arrangement! Still maintaining my run, while also working on my upper body and core through yoga. Yoga also helps me on how to breathe properly, open up my hips and strenghtening my quads and hamstring, among other things.. which definitely compliments my running.
In the beginning, I had a hard time stretching as my feet are too tight. So I focus on stretches for the legs and strength for the upper body, utilizing my core and learning to control my body through different poses.
Fast forward in two months, I am surprised that despite of my limitation (due to the short muscles I’ve built on my legs through running), I can do split (though not all the way down, but the fact that I can still stretch my legs, it was an accomplishment!), better control and alignment of my body. I know how to engage my core muscles better and make use of it.
And on top of it.. my actual goal that I had deep in my heart when I started this private yoga, I can do headstand with both feet up, unsupported!! Even better, I can do a tripod pose too.
I still have 2 more months before I will start training for NY marathon again, I want to make sure I make use of yoga better. It does help me relax, more focus, and the run releases all the extra energy. I sometimes practice yoga in the morning, followed by a run in the evening. Or running then stretches with yoga. It’s complimenting and right now, I can’t go through a day without doing at least one of them!