Last Sunday, I enjoyed visiting the Hillsborough Sportsplex Tri Club to lead a session on yoga for triathletes. At the end of the practice, one of the participants said, “I know it sounds silly, but it just struck me that I could do yoga on my own at home.”
Yes, you can! While it’s useful to study with an experienced teacher at first—and periodically thereafter, so you have a knowing eye checking your alignment—the real work of yoga happens when you follow the needs of your own body, choosing poses that help you, that challenge you, that comfort you, and holding them for however long feels appropriate at that moment.
This doesn’t mean you need to do a ninety-minute routine with space music playing, candles burning, and complete seriousness. Why not include a few sun salutations as a dynamic warm-up, then slot a few minutes of lunges after a run? You can use some of yoga’s challenging core poses to shake up your usual core routine. Breath exercises can be practiced at your desk. It doesn’t have to be a big deal to get in some yoga every day.
Your home practice is the subject of my forthcoming book, The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga, which will be available this July. The book contains more than 50 routines appropriate for an athlete’s—or anyone’s—home practice. You can find some of them on my podcast, Sage Yoga Training (I’m slowly bringing it over to my new site and fixing the link to iTunes, but you can get directions on where else to find it here).
If you want specific pointers on how to include yoga in your training, complete with adjustments appropriate to your personal needs, and you’ll be in central North Carolina on Saturday, April 18, come to my workshop Yoga for Runners (and any athletes!) at the Carrboro Yoga Company from 2 to 4 p.m. I’ll break down five sequences that correspond to episodes of my podcast, so you can feel completely confident about practicing safely and productively on your own.