Summer Preview: Yoga Teacher Trainings

Summer in a college town like Chapel Hill, NC, is glorious. Parking is abundant, and beer trucks don’t block the downtown streets. The sun is up early; evenings are sultry and lovely; and summer sublets are easy to find with two-thirds of the population out of town. So come join me for one or more of these wonderful offerings at Carrboro Yoga.

To deepen your yoga practice and learn to teach:

rp_zap092.jpgJoin our 200-hour yoga teacher training intensive. Immerse yourself in yoga’s history, structure, and philosophy as we study the major styles practiced in America today. Our three-week intensive runs July 18–August 9. Whether you plan to teach or not, you’ll gain a rich understanding of yoga and its role in your life. Last year’s program included a rising college freshman, an ex-lawyer, and everyone in between! Read more here and feel free to send me your questions (and applications). If the intensive doesn’t work, we also offer an eight-month program during the school year.

To hone your teaching skills in advanced study:

Our 500-hour advanced studies yoga teacher training helps teachers of all backgrounds refine their teaching skills. Deepen your understanding of pedagogy, philosophy, and professionalism to better serve your students and your community. This year, we are offering several of the modules in a summer intensive format, which means you can be virtually done with your coursework by summer’s end! These modules are also open to the public—and we give retroactive credit for them, so if you later apply to the advanced studies training, you’ll get credit for them:

  • The Energetic Body with my colleague Mira Shani, June 20–21
  • Sequencing Yoga Classes from Welcome to Namaste with me, June 22–27. This is also available online anytime at Sage Yoga Teacher Training.
  • Our core curriculum with Mira, June 27–July 10, with each unit also available à la carte:
    • Alignment, Part 1, June 27–28
    • Alignment, Part 2, June 29–30
    • Assists, Part 1, July 1–2
    • Assists, Part 2, July 5–6
    • Theme Integration, July 7–8
    • Language Refinement, July 9–10
  • Yoga and Positive Psychology with the wonderful Michael Johnson, July 10–12.
  • Yoga for Athletes Five-Day Teacher’s Intensive with me, July 13–17.

All of these are listed on the Continuing Education page at Carrboro Yoga.

Me, Mira, and program administrator Lies Sapp

Me, Mira, and program administrator Lies Sapp

To specialize in teaching yoga to athletes:

Every summer, a fantastic group of colleagues from around the world come enjoy a week of work together. Several then sign up for our advanced studies training, and many go on to certification in Sage Yoga for Athletes. The five-day intensive (also available online anytime at Sage Yoga Teacher Training) covers the philosophy, physiology, psychology, pedagogy, and profession of teaching yoga to athletes of all sports and levels. Read more and sign up here!

IMG_0072If you aren’t a yoga teacher, know that coaches and personal trainers also regularly enjoy the five-day intensive. If you aren’t a yoga teacher but would like to be, combine this five-day with the three-week 200-hour yoga teacher training, which starts the day after the five-day intensive ends—in a month, you’ll be on your way toward helping athletes feel and perform better!

Newly Certified: Lori Archer, Kansas City

1V4F6343This beauty is Lori Archer from Kansas City. We connected when she came to Carrboro last summer for my Yoga for Athletes Five-Day Teachers’ Intensive (also available online), and we’ve continued to work together on her certification in Sage Yoga for Athletes. I’m happy to get to see her regularly when she comes to North Carolina as part of her study in our Carolina Yoga Advanced Studies Yoga Teacher Training.

Lori’s presence and her teaching style are calm, clear, and—though this may sound like a cop-out—pleasant. In fact, thinking of a single word to describe her, I have to go with pleasant. She’s just so easy to be around, to listen to, and to follow. When she teaches, this pleasantness helps her students find a reasonable edge that will help them grow in their practice without suffering.

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Lori’s students include several players from the University of Kansas football team, and we wish them all best as they pursue careers in the NFL. If you are in Kansas or western Missouri, definitely look her up! E-mail Lori here.

Read: Standing Core Strengtheners

RWWe all know that having a strong core improves our running and everything else we do. But it’s easy to slack off on doing your core work. For the May 2015 issue of Runner’s World, I contributed a quick, no-excuses routine you can do immediately after your workout, or as a standalone sequence in the middle of your office, the airport, the shopping mall—wherever. (And, to my delight, I realized that I made a headline on the cover—check out the red circle!)

standingcrunches_200_0You know you’re supposed to work your core. Strong ab, back, hip, and glute muscles generate power and guard against injuries. But it can be easy to skip good-for-you planks after a run, when a hot shower or yummy brunch awaits. The solution? Tack your core work onto the end of your run, before you’re distracted. This yoga-inspired routine improves posture, boosts balance, and works the entire core. No mat required.

See the full routine—and a video illustration—at runnersworld.com.

REI Yoga for Outdoor Athletes 2015 Tour Practice Notes

I had a fun first week of headlining the tour of REI stores, sponsored by my friends at prAna. The first leg of the tour hit Seattle, where I taught at the flagship store, at REI headquarters in Kent, and at stores in Redmond and Issaquah. Here are my practice notes on what we covered.

Claire at the Issaquah REI drew this sketch of Ranier for me. Remember mountain pose!

Claire at the Issaquah REI drew this sketch of Ranier for me. Remember mountain pose!

Warmup 1

This six-moves-of-the-spine routine preps your shoulders, spine, and hips for movement. It also makes a great stretch-break routine in the middle of your workday! Go through a few times, holding each pose for a breath or more, or simply moving on the half breath. You’ll find a version of this warmup in my Yoga Journal piece on yoga for winter sports.

  • Mountain pose
  • Inhale, lift arms
  • Exhale, side bend; repeat second side
  • Inhale, mountain pose
  • Exhale, circle arms behind you
  • Inhale, circle arms in front
  • Exhale, sit to chair pose
  • Inhale arms to shoulder height
  • Exhale to twist to one side—twist can be palm to opposite knee; woodchopping; or a prayer twist
  • Inhale through center
  • Exhale to twist to the other side
  • Inhale to center
  • Exhale, hands to thighs, spine rounding for standing cat
  • Inhale, lift tailbone and chin, back bending for standing cow
  • Exhale, standing cat
  • Inhale to mountain pose

Warmup 2: Parking Lot Yoga

Named for its portability, parking lot yoga requires no mat and serves as a dynamic warmup for your whole body. Complete a few rounds and you’ll be primed for running, cycling, climbing, or any other outdoor activity. There’s a free eight-minute video of the routine on my YogaVibes channel; you’ll also find it in my forthcoming guide to home practice, Everyday Yoga (preorder now!). Repeat several rounds on both sides.

  • Mountain pose
  • Inhale, lift leg to crane balance
  • Exhale, diagonal lunge
  • Inhale, crescent lunge
  • Exhale, warrior II
  • Inhale, crescent lunge
  • Exhale, diagonal lunge
  • Inhale, crane balance
  • Exhale, mountain pose

Yoga to Do During Your Activity

Yoga teaches us tools for focus (dharana) and presence (diyana). We reviewed these:

I spotted this fun tile at the Kirkland waterfront.

I spotted this fun tile at the Kirkland waterfront.

Form. Use just the effort you need to get the job done. This efficiency will improve your endurance. Remember mountain pose and find its alignment wherever possible: weight even, knees soft, pelvis level, core engaged, chest broad, neck long.

Breath. Use the right breath for what is happening in the moment. Keep your breath calm and regular to cue your nervous system that everything is under control.

Mantra. Focus your mind on repeating a few syllables—in, out works very nicely. (Read lots more on mantra in my guide to your personal best performance, Racing Wisely).

Drishti. Your body goes where your eyes are looking. Notice where your focus lands, and move in the direction you want to go.

Presence. We practiced being open to whatever happens moment to moment by playing with stepping to tree pose from warrior II (rock the weight into your back leg until you get some hang time) and from crescent lunge to eagle pose (wrap your back leg over your front leg, and wind your arms if you feel steady).

Yoga to Do After Your Activity

This minimal core routine strengthens the abs and back, while stretching the chest, glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings. It appears in Everyday Yoga and in the Core and More episode of the Sage Yoga Training podcast.

  • Boat pose: hold a V sit for several breaths. Sweeter: hold the backs of your thighs and keep your feet low; spicier; extend your legs and arms.
  • Cross your legs and fold forward to stretch your back and hips.
  • Lift your knees, rest your feet on the floor and lean back into your hands as you lift and stretch your chest. Spicier: press into your feet and lift your hips for reverse table.
  • Boat pose with twist: inhale to center, exhale to twist to one side. Repeat several rounds.
  • Cross your legs with the opposite ankle in front and fold forward.
  • Listing boat pose: roll the weight onto one side. Spicier: inhale and sink the boat; exhale and pull back up. Switch sides.

Yoga to Do in Bed

Our finishing sequence works around the hips while twisting the spine and stretching the chest. Hold each of these poses to your heart’s content—fifteen to twenty-five breaths is a starting point. Named Reclining Twists, you’ll find this sequence in Everyday Yoga, in The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga, in the Reclining Twists episode of Sage Yoga Training, and in this short practice at YogaVibes (use code sagefreemonth to extend your free trial to a full month!).

  • Start on your back, knees bent. Cross your left ankle over your right knee, swing your right foot toward your left hip, and drop your knees to the right.
  • Lift your legs, take your right foot near your right hip, and drop your knees to the left.
  • Lift your legs, cinch your knees together, step your right foot toward your tail, bump your hips to the left, and drop your knees to the right. Switch sides from the start.
Don't forget to take several minutes of rest in savasana at the end of your practice.

Don’t forget to take several minutes of rest in savasana at the end of your practice.

More Tour Dates

The tour continues—please join me and my colleagues throughout March! Thanks for practicing with me.

Classes with Sage Rountree

Midwest/New York City Area

Classes with Steve Krojniewski

A certified Sage Yoga for Athletes teacher, Steve has assisted me in my teachers’ intensive, helped me cover last year’s tour, and works with Notre Dame athletes to achieve their personal best. He’s sure to give you lots of great tips! Visit his website.

Classes with Ingrid Yang

Ingrid is a wonderful yogi, a JD, a medical student, a beautiful Instagrammer, and author of Hatha Yoga AsanasVisit her website.

Classes with Rob Loud

Me and Rob at the Everyday Yoga photo shoot

Me and Rob at the Everyday Yoga photo shoot

Rob’s work has illustrated my writing for Yoga Journal, and he’s one of the models in my forthcoming Everyday Yoga (preorder now!). Visit his website.

Classes with Thierry Chiapello

Thierry is soon to finish the Carolina Yoga Teacher Training. He’s passionate about yoga for athletes and, as a former marine, understands the mindset athletes bring to yoga—and the ways yoga can help athletes prevent injury and recover from training.

Classes with Kim Helgans

Kim has a certification in Sage Yoga for Athletes, has been a longtime protégée of mine, and works with major collegiate programs. Visit her website.

Class with Lauren Reese

Lauren was a sweet addition to my Teaching Yoga to Athletes program at Kripalu in January. She’s co-owner of Breathe Yoga in Atlanta, Georgia.

Class with Alexandra DeSiato

Me and Alexandra, whom I lovingly call my understudy

Me and Alexandra, whom I lovingly call my understudy

Alexandra is my senior assistant—and, as a backpacker, a voracious REI customer. Visit her website.

Class with Kortni Campbell

Kortni is a graduate of the Carolina Yoga Teacher Training and both a great teacher and a strong but light-hearted athlete.

Scheduled: Yoga for Athletes in Columbus, Ohio

Ohio: join me at Go Yoga in Powell April 24–26 for a fun weekend of yoga for athletes!

Flyer_Sage Rountree_print

In this weekend workshop, appropriate for all levels of yoga and athletic experience, we’ll learn poses to increase range of motion and flexibility, especially in the hips and hamstrings. We’ll spend some time cultivating sport-specific core strength and playing with balance, and we’ll examine yoga as mental training, learning how incorporating yoga’s approach to the body and mind can make us better athletes. Discover how to include yoga in your annual training plan, choosing sequences to complement your training both in season and during the off-season. Practicing the poses and techniques you’ll learn in this workshop will increase your flexibility, core strength, stability, balance, and physical and mental endurance, while lowering your recovery time and risk of injury.

Read more and register here!

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Read: REI Blog and Meeting Sage Rountree

Yoga on the track

REI has a wonderful blog full of very useful tips for athletes of all stripes. I was happy to write a piece for them with an overview of yoga’s benefits for athletes. You’ll find lots more on yoga for athletes in my books and videos, of course, but read it here to get started.

pranaAs we approach the prAna Yoga for Outdoor Athletes tour of REI stores, there’s a little profile of me up at the prAna Life blog. You’ll find my answers to questions both silly (favorite car) and serious (what was the scariest thing I ever did?). Read it here.

My colleagues and I really look forward to connecting with you at REI stores this March!

Yoga for Outdoor Athletes Tour of REI Stores

Once again, I’ll be spearheading a tour of REI stores to present on yoga for outdoor athletes on behalf of my wonderful sponsor prAna. Last year’s events featured me and my assistant Steve Krojniewski; this year, more of my colleagues, students, and protégées will join, and we all really look forward to seeing you!

Each event is open to athletes of all sports and all levels of yoga experience. We’ll be teaching a beginner-friendly class targeting outdoor athletes and answering your questions about how yoga and training mesh. Everyone who comes will receive a sweet gift from prAna, to boot. At only $10 for both members and nonmembers, this is a great opportunity to connect with a teacher who shares your interests and to jump-start your yoga practice for 2015. Space at some of the stores is limited, so sign up now to reserve your spot. Bring a yoga mat, an open mind, and all your questions about yoga for athletes!

Classes with Sage Rountree

I’ll be in the Seattle area one week and the midwest/NYC another.

Seattle Area

Midwest/New York City Area

Classes with Steve Krojniewski

A certified Sage Yoga for Athletes teacher, Steve has assisted me in my teachers’ intensive, helped me cover last year’s tour, and works with Notre Dame athletes to achieve their personal best. He’s sure to give you lots of great tips! Visit his website.

Classes with Ingrid Yang

Ingrid is a wonderful yogi, a JD, a medical student, a beautiful Instagrammer, and author of Hatha Yoga Asanas. Visit her website.

Classes with Rob Loud

Me and Rob at the Everyday Yoga photo shoot

Me and Rob at the Everyday Yoga photo shoot

Rob’s work has illustrated my writing for Yoga Journal, and he’s one of the models in my forthcoming Everyday Yoga (preorder now!). Visit his website.

Classes with Thierry Chiapello

Thierry is soon to finish the Carolina Yoga Teacher Training. He’s passionate about yoga for athletes and, as a former marine, understands the mindset athletes bring to yoga—and the ways yoga can help athletes prevent injury and recover from training.

Classes with Kim Helgans

Kim has a certification in Sage Yoga for Athletes, has been a longtime protégée of mine, and works with major collegiate programs. Visit her website.

Class with Lauren Reese

Lauren was a sweet addition to my Teaching Yoga to Athletes program at Kripalu in January. She’s co-owner of Breathe Yoga in Atlanta, Georgia.

Class with Alexandra DeSiato

Me and Alexandra, whom I lovingly call my understudy

Me and Alexandra, whom I lovingly call my understudy

Alexandra is my senior assistant—and, as a backpacker, a voracious REI customer. Visit her website.

Class with Kortni Campbell

Kortni is a graduate of the Carolina Yoga Teacher Training and both a great teacher and a strong but light-hearted athlete.

Newly Certified: Alix Blair and Tracy Kim

Congratulations to the most recently certified students to finish my Teaching Yoga to Athletes course! Certification is a detailed process that involves in-depth study, mentorship, and work beyond the course content, as well as a written exam and submission and critique of a teaching video. By the end, both I and the student teacher are very confident in their abilities to serve athletes of all sports and levels.

Alix Blair, Fran Morfesis, and Alexandra DeSiato

Alix Blair, Fran Morfesis, and Alexandra DeSiato

Alix Blair has just moved to Berkeley, California, though we got to enjoy her company for many years here in North Carolina, as she graduated from our yoga teacher training and taught at our studios while in graduate school. (That’s Alix at the left, one day when she assisted me in teaching UNC’s football team.) Alix teaches in a joyful style that lets her love for the practice  shine through. She takes special interest in rock climbing, running, and surfing, though students at any level and athletes in any sport will really enjoy her heartfelt teaching. She’s also a filmmaker—check out her big project, Farmer Veteran, here. E-mail Alix to learn more about her offerings in the East Bay Area.

Me and Tracy Kim

Me and Tracy Kim

Tracy Kim lives in Seattle, Washington, where I got to spend some time with her in person last year (that’s her at right). Tracy has fantastic energy that suits her work with high school athletes. In her teaching video, she effortlessly taught a full gym of wrestlers at the end of their practice and commanded their complete attention. It was a thing of beauty to watch! Visit Tracy’s website at Tracy-Yoga.com.

Find all the certified Sage Yoga for Athletes teachers here, and read more about the program and my other online course at Sage Yoga Teacher Training.

 

Notes on the Core from Running Summit East 2015

My colleague Wendy Winn presenting on running form

My colleague Wendy Winn presenting on running form

It was, as ever, a treat to present at the Running Summit in Morristown, NJ, last weekend. The presentations, participants, and facility are all top-notch. (At right is Wendy presenting on running form analysis. If you are in New York City, you should definitely schedule a custom running analysis session with Wendy at NY Custom PT!) I spoke on race plans and execution (the subject of my book Racing Wisely) and led a fun session on core strength. After a day of sitting, I know it felt good! As promised, here are my notes for those of you who attended (and those who are interested).

The alternative title for the presentation was “Beyond Planks and Crunches.” We focused on ways to create and progress core-strength routines for ourselves and our athletes that target the needs of the runner. Specifically, we worked to release the front of the body—an area that grows tight as we spend most of our day sitting—and then to strengthen the back of the body. Without first stretching the front, strengthening the back is ineffective, as you’d be constantly butting up against the limitations of tightness.

To that end, we started with some yoga-derived stretches.

Six Moves, Prone, One Leg Bent

Along with “Christina’s World” and the Tall Mountain Flow listed below, this sequence will appear in Everyday Yoga (preorder your copy today!). It’s also in this short clip:

  • Rest on your belly. This stretches the chest, hip flexors, and ankles.
  • Take several breaths in sphinx pose. While you have your chest propped, you can drop your chin to your chest to stretch the back of your neck.
  • Hike one knee up, and add a side bend to look toward it.
  • Finally, twist toward it as you spin your chest to the ceiling.
  • Switch sides.
  • Finish with some cat/cow stretches: exhale and round your back like a cat; inhale and lift your tailbone and your gaze while you arch your back.

Tall Mountain Flow

Read more about this sequence in this post at my Yoga Journal blog.

  • Find mountain pose, the basis of good running form.
  • Lift your arms, then your heels, keeping good alignment.
  • To add, bend your knees either a little or a lot!

Plank and Variations

The work you did in mountain pose applies directly to plank. To make your plank harder:

  • Lower to your elbows.
  • Lift and lower one leg at a time.
  • Lift one leg and pulse it higher.
  • Lift one leg and draw circles with it in both directions.

Locust and Variations

Locust pose is spinal extension work—and it’s very good at building the strength that helps you maintain good posture as you fatigue on the run.

  • Start on your belly, forehead to stacked palms.
  • Lift and lower one leg at a time. Inhale to lift, exhale to lower.
  • Lift and lower one leg and your upper body. Keep your head on your hands so you don’t hyperextend your neck.
  • Extend your arms and lift and lower opposite arms and legs.
  • Add a side bend to work your obliques: from a raised position, slide your torso to the right for several breaths, then to the left for several more.

Bridge and Variations

This is such a doozy—and so important for runners. The work in bridge strengthens the glutes and hamstrings, which power your stride.

  • Start in a shoulder bridge.
  • Lift one leg. Inhale to hold your knees parallel; exhale and kick your foot toward the ceiling.
  • Lift one leg and draw circles in both directions.
  • Lift one leg and lean it a few inches wide, then a few inches across your body.

Bird Dog and Variations

This is more spinal extension work. As opposed to locust, in which we articulate the spine into a backbend, bird dog challenges us to hold stable while the arms and legs move contralaterally. This imitates the running stride.

  • From hands and knees, inhale to extend opposite arm and leg; exhale to lower them. Switch from side to side.
  • Hold extended; pulse higher.
  • Hold extended; draw circles with your raised leg while holding your torso and pelvis quiet.
  • Hold extended; inhale to move your opposite arm and leg wide into a half X position; exhale to return to bird dog.

Side Lying Work

We challenged shoulder stability, the obliques, and the hip rotators, including gluteus medius, in this sequence.

  • Lift and lower to a side plank on the forearm and stacked knees. For more challenge, hold several breaths with your top leg raised.
  • Balance on the bottom-side hip and lift your legs and top-side arm for several breaths.
  • Jacob’s Ladder Clamshell. We played with this progressively; adapt to your own needs:
    • From your side, knees bent, inner edges of the feet touching, raise and lower your top knee.
    • Raise and lower your top foot.
    • Raise and lower both feet.
    • With the feet raised, raise and lower your top knee.
    • With the feet raised and top leg lifted, add a Spider-Man kick of the top leg before cascading back down.
    • At the bottom of each round, repeat one basic clamshell.

A Note on Twisting

We ran out of time, so we didn’t do the rotation sequence I’d planned. It was boat pose (V sit) with rotation to challenge the obliques more. Definitely add some twisting exercises when you practice at home!

“Christina’s World”

Along with dozens of other short videos and full-length classes with me, this is available to stream at YogaVibes. Use the code sagefreemonth to extend your free trial to a month! This sequence is a nice way to wind-down and target runner’s tight areas: the chest, the deep hip rotators, and the hip flexors.

  • Start on one hip, knees and ankles lightly stacked. Lower your chest toward the floor for a belly-down twist.
  • Take your legs into a pinwheel shape and fold over the front knee to stretch the glutes and piriformis. Read more at Yoga Journal.
  • With your legs still in the pinwheel shape, lift your hips to stretch the hip flexors and arch into a backbend.

Finally, here’s a link I mentioned in the Sunday morning session vis-à-vis a discussion on association and dissociation. This study shows that both are valid mental tools that can enhance performance—it depends on the athlete.

Thanks, everyone, for your cheerful attention. I hope to see you next time!

Wanderlust Snowshoe, June 5–7

snowshoeIf you’re ready to start dreaming about enjoying a late-spring weekend of yoga, hiking/trail running, meditation, and live music in lush West Virginia, click here to see the lineup and schedule for Wanderlust Snowshoe. You can pick and choose as much or as little of the offerings as suit you. I’ll be teaching a few yoga practices, leading several sessions on meditation (all very beginner-friendly), and speaking on intention and goals. Registration opens February 10, but you can begin planning today!