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Running vs. Yoga

While I am doing yoga, I am in a whole different world.

I am out of my mind.  Literally.

While I am running, I am also in a whole different world, but I am totally IN my mind and all I want to do is escape it.

In the yoga practice, I explore the interior space of my body with my mind.  It sounds something like this:

Breathe, Kath.  In. Out. Okay, There’s a dead space right there …under my left ribs.  Let’s see if I can pull a line of energy into that space.  (Stretch).  Oooh. Wow.  That’s tight.  Can I breathe into that tightness? Relax into it?  Dive into it?  Ahhh.. right…theere… Ummm.  And now, what’s that?  What just released in my hip?? Hmmmm…  Can I feel that? Can I move in such a way as to let that reveal itself?

When I run, either on the treadmill like I did today, or outside like I did yesterday, I am either obsessed with numbers, time or body malfunctions: How many minutes was that?  How much longer until I get to the walking part? When will this be over? How come my hamstrings are tightening up?  Was is something I ate? Am I hydrated enough? How much longer?  Can I just get through this next rash of commercials?  Can I make it up this next little rise?

In other words, I am constantly planning my escape.  I am always calculating the time left.  I am hoping this is because I am a newbie runner.  I am hoping I will eventually find something to engage me, some way IN to running.

But right now, all the doors are locked tight.

Locked as tight as my hammies.

Author:

I’m a small town yoga teacher who says motherfucker a lot. I hate anything woo. I’m into neuroscience. And facts. I’ll lead the chanting of “om” sometimes, but it makes me feel awkward. I want to access flow states. As far as yoga helps me do that, I’m into it. Dopamine is my fave neurotransmitter. Don’t tell anyone I told you this.

8 thoughts on “Running vs. Yoga

  1. Great post. I must admit that I have the opposite reaction to running, more in line with your experience when doing yoga. I can totally lose myself and forget that I am running at all. I am not always able to do this, but most of the time, I use my running time to decompress. I look forward to following your blog.
    Happy running,
    Rundad

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  2. I liked your comparison between the two. Sounds to me like you might like to experience the elusive ‘runners high’… When this happens one gets a sense of deeper breathing, of relaxation of the mind and a mile or 2 can pass you by, almost without knowledge. You will enjoy this state as it will be a partial merging of these two states you are currently experiencing…

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  3. Kath,
    I do a little bit of running on my treadmill mixed with more walking, but I know exactly what you mean about marking the time. I follow the little dot around the “track” until it reaches my intended destination point, not particularly enjoying the experience. But, I’ve discovered that if I lock on to my drishti, (the light switch on the wall directly in my line of vision), and focus on my breath, then the running really isn’t so miserable. That little bit of yoga practice has actually turned something that I don’t really like to do into something I can actually do more of. So, thank you, my yoga teacher.

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  4. I get the same blissful state in running, and when I have really allowed myself to experience yoga. I come away from both with that peaceful state of mind that is difficult to describe, but wonderful to experience. Yet when I swim, I am like Kathleen, constantly planning my escape. I know swimmers who swear by it – they find that same state in the pool – but I am held captive there – by either a lap count, by a clock count (“I’ll swim for 30 minutes”), or just the tedium of going back and forth in a small confined space. Everyone must find their own path!

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