As a certified health coach, personal trainer and yoga teacher, Stephanie Soricelli shares her inspiring story about how she found her passion for running and yoga. She lets you in on how yoga can actually make you a better runner.
My fitness journey began 12 years ago after losing 35 pounds during my senior year of college. I quickly learned that it would be near impossible to maintain my new happy weight unless I took up some form of exercise. Being new to fitness, I searched for something to ease myself into exercise. For years growing up I danced and knew that I was flexible, so yoga seemed simple enough and like something that I would be good at. I know myself — if I am good at it, I will continue pursuing it.
I loved yoga right away, but after about a year’s time, I longed to actually move! I needed something where I could throw on clothes and sneakers, step outside my door, and be doing it. And that is when I found running. Ever since then, I have been doing both and also added in strength training a year later. Eventually, it all became such a huge passion for me that I decided to make it my work. Two years ago, I left my job as an elementary school teacher in order to spend my days running my Health Coaching business, and to work as a Personal Trainer, and Yoga Teacher. I know that yoga has contributed and assisted my running for all of these years. Here are a few ways yoga can benefit your running practice:
What do all runners need to do? Stretch! What do some runners hate to do? Stretch! When talking with injured friends and asking them questions about their injuries, I have almost always found that it could have been prevented had they maintained a regular stretch routine. Yoga, in its most basic form, is stretching, so why not add it in to your fitness schedule? I recommend taking a yoga class once a week and stretching or moving through a yoga sequence the other days of the week after running. Personally, I run VERY often. I attribute staying injury-free to my yoga practice as both a teacher and a student, along with a combination of clean eating habits, strength training, and proper sleep.
With our crazy schedules and our never-ending to-do lists, achieving a state of flow and peace of mind can seem like a daunting task. I have long viewed running as my moving meditation. (I even have it written on my Road ID bracelet!) This is because I have been fortunate enough to recreate the experiences I have on my yoga mat when I am running. You know that runner’s high you attain every so often? I believe it is easier to achieve this feeling on a more frequent basis when we practice yoga. Yoga is so much more than postures. It is actually the gateway to meditation. When we develop a strong yoga practice, we can tap into that state by simply refocusing on our breath. Let the thoughts in and release them to the universe. Repeat, repeat, repeat. You will begin to gain so much clarity during your running miles by doing the very same thing.
What we do on the mat, we do off the mat
It has been my experience that what we do on the yoga mat, we also do off the mat. When we pause in challenging asanas (poses) for extended periods of time, we must breathe through it. With running, when we hit that hill, we know we must focus, adjust our running posture, and breathe through it. When we reach a wall in running, we must readjust our focus. The same concept appears in yoga. We are constantly breaking through boundaries and working towards an advanced form of the posture. In both yoga and running, we can break through our so-called limitations with consistent practice. There are so many translatable moments from yoga to running
As I type this, I have reached Day 470 of my running streak. I have ran at least one mile every day since Thanksgiving 2015. Now, a run streak is not for everyone and I was very skeptical when I began if it was for me. I still am not sure if a streak is a great idea, but running brings me joy each time I get out there, so I am going with it. What I do know is that reaching Day 470 of my run streak could not have been possible if I hadn’t consistently practiced (and now teach) yoga. My precious, beautiful yoga practice allows my legs to continuously recover and remain loose during my runs. It allows my mind to remain focused, especially during long runs and most of all yoga allows me to move through running barriers with much more ease than if I had not been a faithful yogi. I am forever thankful that I found yoga and of course, that I found running, too. Namaste!
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