April 3, 2013

The Balance of Yoga & Running.

As I get older, nothing satisfies me more than achieving some sort of balance in my life with everything from friends to family, to work, play, and the self-care in between.

Waking up each morning, committing to a routine (or, practice, if you will) of how to start the day with being bright and full of opportunities. It’s not always that comfortable when your body says one thing, yet your mind wants to flow with how you felt in your younger years.

This may sound rather silly and simple, but I do a little ritual first thing in the morning. I rub my feet with essential oils. It somehow tells my system that it’s okay to take the first step of the day, feeling healthy and alive and inspired. My feet are my grounding source, and they provide the direction of my movement. If they are tired and achy, I listen. The rubbing and massaging of my feet sort of lets me know it’s time to get the day started and be open to whatever comes my way. And, it feels so good.

And, that happens to be either running or yoga, or the combination of both. This self-care practice of mine has been with me for years. It’s not to say that it doesn’t change and take on different shapes and combinations, it’s just that my body truly digs the balance of these two activities. One seems to ground me. The other keeps me moving forward. It’s always a balancing act, and yes, I do my best to partake in each one every day. Both forms of movement feel spiritually-connected, and simple at best.

My yoga practice is done at home. I like to be naked. I like to feel free.

I like to challenge myself in an environment where I won’t fall into someone on the next mat while attempting a new and interesting position. It’s not perfect, by any means, but it sets the tone for the day. I combine meditation with this home practice, and it works. My windows are open, the sun is shining through, the birds are singing, and all I can hear is my own breath. This feels balancing to me. It feels right, and it roots me in to wherever I need to be for that moment.

Running, on the other hand, is a way for me to process thoughts, feel the wind, feel empowered, work out the creaks in my body, and just have a good ol’ sweat.

I don’t run as far as I used to, and I certainly don’t focus on miles anymore; instead, my running of late is all about keeping things real and in check. If I can continue to run for as long as my 50+ year old body wants to go, then by all means, I’m going to keep moving in that fashion. Plus, running inspires me to write, and gives me the impetus to have that profound conversation with my man that was put on the back burner for too long. The endorphins I receive from running opens my mind up to greater potential.

The balance of yoga and running is nothing new. People do it all the time. I just enjoy it so much, even while I’m in my baby boomer years. I feel blessed and grateful to have the ability to practice these two activities for as long as I can. I can take it on the road (no pun intended!), and all I need is a mat and some good shoes. I can’t run naked, unfortunately, but the thought does cross my mind from time to time-in my own crazy brain. I do believe it might not be the best idea, but hey, in this city that I live in, anything goes.

Spring is here! Find the balance. Keep it real.


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Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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