Buy any of my books straight from me today, and I’ll not only personalize them for you, I’ll also foot the bill for shipping. These make a wonderful holiday gift for the yogis and athletes in your life!
On State Street in Greensboro, NC, Libby Ramsey has built a beautiful studio. Dancing Dogs Greensboro has just moved to a bigger space, and it couldn’t be any prettier, any more welcoming, or home to any better crew than those who came to my workshop yesterday. Thanks, y’all! As promised, here are our practice notes.
Warmup 1: Six Moves of the Spine, Supine, Two Legs
This can be done in bed, at the start of a long day or toward its end. You’ll see it on page 40 of Everyday Yoga.
- Stretch long, inhaling to reach and exhaling to relax
- Banana: cross R leg over L, slide shoulders L, repeat second side
- Wipe your knees side to side. Inhale to lower, exhale to lift. For more spice, lift your shins parallel to the floor.
- Bridge: inhale to lift hips, exhale to lower
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 on page 44 of Everyday Yoga. 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:
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 diagonal lunge to eagle pose (wrap your back leg over your front leg, and wind your arms if you feel steady).
Back at the parking lot after your workout, do these three poses for flexibility and balance:
- Dancer pose (quad stretch)
- Standing pigeon (optional chest stretch)
- Pyramid pose (core strength or back stretch version)
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 on page 76 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. 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.
I’m very excited to introduce Lauren Reese to you as the latest certified Sage Yoga for Athletes teacher. When you have the chance to study with her—or just to be in her sweet company—you’ll understand why. With her mother, Lauren co-owns Breathe Yoga Atlanta. I first met her in person at Wanderlust 108 in Atlanta last year; there, she told me she’d be coming to Kripalu to take the content side of Teaching Yoga to Athletes. When she arrived, she was sporting a fashionable walking boot due to a bad bout of plantar fasciitis. It didn’t slow her down! Here she is icing her foot in the Massachusetts snow. Lauren handled the Atlanta stop of the 2015 REI Yoga for Athletes tour, then came up to Carrboro for Sequencing Yoga Classes from Welcome to Namaste. While in town, she charmed her colleagues and now has quite a fan club in North Carolina.
Key to her charm is Lauren’s sense of humor, combined with a compassionate yet direct teaching and conversational style, all wrapped up in a honeyed Georgia accent. Lauren is a curious student—her questions are intelligent, insightful, and indicative of her keen intellect and desire to understand the what, when, where, and why of asana practice, pedagogy, and physiology. Her background includes years of group fitness instruction, a career as a family therapist, and an ongoing study into the function of the human body. Put together, this yields a wonderful teacher. I hope you get the chance to study with her soon!
Wouldn’t you like to learn how to:
- Train more efficiently and effectively so that you can improve your running without spending extra precious time?
- Practice optimal nutrition for performance and maintaining your ideal weight?
- Prevent and treat injuries so you can avoid frustrating layoffs that derail your progress?
- Run your personal best, regardless of the number of candles on your birthday cake?
Also, join other women who share your passion for running and discover:
- How to deal effectively with the particular challenges that women runners face in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s.
- How women’s running is effecting positive social change.
- Specific strategies that you can apply so you can keep running for many years to come.
My friends at the International Association of Women Runners (IAWR) are hosting a unique event that starts today: “Run Faster, Farther and Injury-Free for Years to Come,” a free Women’s Running Telesummit. It runs through Friday, December 4, and I’m pleased to be one of the 16 guest speakers!
Never before have so many experts been gathered together to address the unique needs of women runners over 40.
Get specific, targeted advice from:
- Kathrine Switzer
- Jeff Galloway
- Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey
- Dr. Jordan Metzl
- Alex Hutchinson
- Matt Fitzgerald
- Donna Deegan
- Tina Muir
- Jessica Sebor
- Nancy Clark
- Dr. Sarah Joyce
- Carrie Cheadle
- Alison King
- Bennett Cohen
- and yours truly, talking about Yoga for Aging Athletes, Racing Wisely, The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery, my upcoming retreat to Provence, and more!
Discussions cover training, nutrition, injury prevention, and other must-have information you need so you can run faster, further and injury-free.
Registration is free!
Click on http://bit.ly/Sageiawr for details and to register.
See you there!
I used “The Path to Finding Focus through Music” as an opportunity to introduce some of the eight limbs of yoga. And it was a great chance to explore Google Play Music, which sponsored the post. Their radio stations are organized by mood and activity, which means you can create an atmosphere for anything you’re doing. My favorite thus far is Sweet Soul Revival.
Whether you’re working in an open office or practicing yoga in a crowded gym, the sonic barrier of music can create a container that allows for deep focus while reading, writing, or practicing. It can also help us explore some of the more esoteric of the eight limbs of yoga, and see how they apply on the mat, in the body, and in the mind.
I had a nice chat with Kate and Laura at the Sticky Mat Society—listen to it here:
You’ll hear about my background in yoga; developing a niche; how to know when you’re ready to do something; and the first steps toward developing a book project. You can also hear the episode and find resources at the Sticky Mat Society page. Enjoy!
I’m so excited to share this with you: along with my family and wonderful hosts Liz Priestley and Claire de la Varre, I’d like to invite you to vacation in southern France with me next summer! We’ll enjoy yoga en plein air each day, explore Provence’s history, culture, and footpaths, and eat and drink very, very well. Liz and Claire have taken care of everything: they will pick you up at the airport, co-lead our excursions, and make sure you have the vacation of your life without having to stress about the details. And if you find you’d rather rest than hike: fine! You can lounge poolside and do exactly what you need to feel balanced, inspired, and restored.
I’d really, really love to have you along.
Yoga teacher, athlete, and author Sage Rountree joins Provence Perfectly to co-host 8 days of yoga, hiking, and sightseeing in Provence
Saturday, June 11–Monday, June 20, 2016
9 nights, 8 full days of sightseeing, yoga, and relaxation: $4,490
Imagine deepening your yoga practice with Sage while finding rejuvenation and transformation between the azure blue of the Mediterranean and the soaring French Alps. Provence Perfectly offers you a land of such beauty that writers and painters have flocked here for hundreds of years. Provence is a landscape of ancient history and timeless traditions, the perfect place to hike into rolling vineyards, fields of lavender and groves of olive trees. See wonderfully preserved Roman architecture, centuries-old monasteries, palaces, and castles. Stroll along the winding cobblestone lanes of the famous perched villages, hike the famous Ochre Quarry Trail, explore the local galleries, museums and artists’ workshops, and pick out the perfect Provençal souvenirs to take home. The markets are brimming with the tastes and smells of the famous local cuisine and offer an astounding choice of fruits, vegetables, olives, cheeses, bread, honey . . . the list is endless.
Relax knowing that Liz Priestley, Claire de la Varre, and Sage have done all the planning for you. Each day offers a perfect mix of activities, all of them optional depending on your energy and mood: morning yoga by the pool, lunch in a perched village, a hike through Roman ruins. While all activities are included in the cost of the tour, you may choose to opt out of any activity at any time and relax at the house. Our yoga practices will contain a balance of effort and ease, and you’ll be able to ask questions along the way, so you can return home with the tools to keep your practice and your training regimen, if you have one, consistent and fun. We will exercise well, eat well, and drink well! You will end the week feeling renewed and balanced, with a host of new friends and a deep appreciation for terroir—the sense of place that comes through in every activity, from enjoying local wine to taking savasana in the sunshine to hiking over the varied terrain of southern France. This sense of place will be a memory to cherish for the rest of your life.
We recommend flying into Marseille airport where we will pick you up. If you prefer to fly into Paris and spend a few days there at the beginning or end of your trip, the TGV (fast train) runs between Paris and Marseille in about 3 hours. From the train station it is an easy transfer to Marseille airport, where we will meet you.
The vacation package includes accommodation for 7 nights in a 200-year old farmhouse, plus 2 nights in a hotel in La Ciotat on the Mediterranean coast. Airport pick-up/drop-off, all breakfasts, all lunches, dinner on the first and last nights in the farmhouse, and dinner on the first night in La Ciotat are all included. Our guided day trips include lunch in a restaurant or café and activities. You will need spending money for items such as souvenirs, postcards, ice cream, snacks, and any activities you choose to do that are not part of the tour itinerary. For five evenings you are free to do as you choose—you may shop and cook at home, or eat out in Eygalières, walking distance (just over a mile) from the house. On one of those evenings we will be in the perched village of Roussillon and will have dinner there.
Sage Rountree is an internationally recognized authority on yoga for athletes, a trail lover, and like all of us at Provence Perfectly, a fan of leisurely multi-course meals, with great wine, in beautiful surroundings. Author of several books, including The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga, Racing Wisely, and Everyday Yoga, she contributes to Runner’s World and Yoga Journal. Sage lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where she co-owns the Carolina Yoga Company, with locations in Carrboro, Durham, and Hillsborough, and directs its yoga teacher trainings. Sage’s goal is to help people find the right balance between work and rest for peak performance and enjoyment in sports and in life. During our trip, we’ll explore the importance of rest, rejuvenation, and appreciating every delicious moment.
While Sage is an expert-level triathlon and running coach and happy to discuss your training with you, our focus for the week is casual hikes, accessible yoga practice, and fun exploration of the landscape, history, art, food, and wine of sunny Provence. For a taste of Sage’s teaching style, visit www.yogavibes.com/sagerountree. To explore her writing and read more about her philosophy, visit www.sagerountree.com.
Also joining us is Sage’s husband, Wes Rountree, a wine connoisseur and co-owner of Cave Taureau Wines and Rue Cler, a Parisian-style bistro, both in Durham, NC. Wes will help us explore the wines of the Châteauneuf du Pape and Côtes du Luberon appelations.
Day One: Saturday, June 11—Arrival
Welcome to Provence! The closest airport is Marseille Airport, where Claire and Liz will meet you. We will have a sign saying, “Provence Perfectly.” After we drive you to our villa in Eygalières, you may choose to settle in and rest by the pool or walk and explore the lovely village. Tonight we will have a welcome dinner at the villa and maybe even some yoga.
Day Two: Sunday, June 12
Yoga with Sage
Drive to Avignon to see the Pope’s Palace and have lunch. The in the afternoon we will head west across the Rhone and hike around the stunning Pont du Gard, a remarkably well preserved Roman Aqueduct. In the evening you will be free to eat in one of the restaurants in Eygalières, or cook and eat at the villa.
Day Three: Monday, June 13
Yoga with Sage
Depart for lunch and exploration in Gordes. Hike from Gordes to the Abbey of Senanques, one of the most famous sites in Provence. Then we drive over to Roussillon, the Ochre Village, and hike through the amazing orange landscape surrounding this artist’s haven. We will stay in Roussillon for the evening, so you are free to eat dinner at your choice of restaurant.
Day Four: Tuesday, June 14
Yoga with Sage
Depart for lunch and exploration in Arles. You will see the Roman Arena and Les Ayscamps, the fascinating Roman cemetery painted by Van Gogh. In the evening you will be free to eat in one of the restaurants in Eygalières, or cook and eat at the villa.
Day Five: Wednesday, June 15
Yoga with Sage
Depart after breakfast for the wonderful St. Remy market, where you can stock up on your souvenirs. After the market we will eat lunch in a restaurant in St. Remy. In the afternoon we will visit Van Gogh’s hospital at St. Paul de Mausole, hike through the Roman Ruins at Glanum and perhaps a stop and taste at a winery such as St Remy’s Chateau Romanin. In the evening you will be free to eat in one of the restaurants in Eygalières, or cook and eat at the villa.
Day Six: Thursday, June 16
Yoga with Sage
After breakfast we depart for Les Baux, a fortified and very steep medieval village high atop the Alpilles. We will have lunch overlooking the valley, then walk down below the village for the world-famous sound and light show inside the cool and comfortable former bauxite quarry. In the evening you will be free to eat in one of the restaurants in Eygalières, or cook and eat at the villa.
Day Seven: Friday, June 17
Yoga with Sage
Depart after breakfast for the bustling Eygalières Market. Depart for lunch in Vaison la Romaine, a very charming medieval village built on an early Roman settlement north of Avignon. We will spend the afternoon exploring the Roman ruins and climbing the steep narrow alleyways up to the top of the medieval village. In the evening you will be free to eat in one of the restaurants in Eygalières, or cook and eat at the villa.
Day Eight: Saturday, June 18
We say au revoir to our villa and depart after breakfast for the Mediterranean coast. We will have lunch in the beautiful town of Cassis looking out over the fishing port and tge blue sea. In the afternoon we will take a fascinating boat ride to the Calanques (fjords). After the boat ride, we will venture up the Route des Cretes to see the gorgeous and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean from atop the highest cliffs in Europe. We will check into our hotel in La Ciotat, and then have dinner in the wonderful and unique Calanque de Figuerolles.
Day Nine: Sunday, June 19
Depart after breakfast at the hotel for a hike high above the Mediterranean (some trails may close due to fire hazards). Lunch in Cassis or La Ciotat. Dinner on your own. Prepare to say goodbye and settle in for your last night in the hotel in La Ciotat.
Day Ten: Monday, June 20—Departure
After breakfast at the hotel, Claire and Liz will take you to the Marseille airport for your flight home, or to catch the train for your next adventure.
Periodizing your yoga practice is especially important as you age—it takes us masters athletes longer to recover between hard workouts. Here’s an overview I wrote for Yoga for Aging Athletes.
If you compete in a sport, your training follows a cycle that should build in progressive stages to your peak competitions, then allow for downtime before reaching a new crest. In exercise physiology, we call this periodization: the training progression has distinct periods. As you consider how to include yoga to support you as a masters athlete, keep this training cycle in mind. The closer you are to peak competition, the more mellow your yoga practice should be. I outline this approach in detail in my book The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga, and again in The Runner’s Guide to Yoga.
Like many yoga teachers, often I find students asking me questions after class about ways to relieve a pain that’s newly emerged. In general, I shy away from answering such questions—I’m not that kind of doctor, but if you need a literary text critically analyzed, let me know—and I encourage my teacher trainees to acknowledge the limits of their expertise as well. But as an endurance sports coach, I do have a response that can help students pinpoint the root of the problem:
Discomfort and pain don’t happen in a vacuum. They emerge in the context of a fully formed, complex system. When your knee hurts, or your shin, or your foot, ask yourself, What changed? Usually it’s something in your training habits or movement patterns—you started running more, or lifting more, or sitting more, or holding a toddler more. You changed your bike fit. You bought a new couch. Your shoes got older and less supportive. Your sleep patterns have been disrupted. By narrowing down the shift that precipitated the pain, you’ll be better able to take steps to address its cause.
This is Jenni Tarma, holder of the record for Highest Word Count in Teaching Yoga to Athletes Homework. Each of her assignments as she moved through the certification process included several pages of precise, complete, well researched information. She’s both a natural teacher and a natural writer—you might remember that one of her homework assignments became a piece for Yoga Journal. She’s since done more wonderful writing for the magazine, like “5 Common Myths about Athletes’ Tight Hips.”
Jenni doesn’t just sound like a rock star: she was one, coming to running and yoga to balance her work as a musician touring the world. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches weekly classes, explores CrossFit, runs lots, and surfs from time to time.
I’m excited to have Jenni on board as my assistant for these upcoming programs at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health:
- Yoga for Athletes: Strength, Flexibility, and Focus, January 22–24, 2016 (details and registration)
- Teaching Yoga to Athletes, January 24–29, 2016 (details and registration)
Join us and benefit from her knowledge and attention! And, if you’re keeping score, Jenni, originally from Finland, will be the third consecutive Scandinavian woman whom I’ve had as an assistant for Teaching Yoga to Athletes, following in the big footsteps of Sisse from Denmark and Sara from Sweden.
If you’re in southern California, you’ll enjoy Jenni’s workshop at Santa Anita Hot Yoga this Sunday, October 25:
Hello, athletic friend! Are you, by any chance:
- Curious about how yoga might be useful for you, but also kind of scared of the acrobatics and pretzel shapes?
- Interested in improving mobility, but worried that you’re too inflexible for yoga?
- Needing a stretch, but lacking the know-how?
- Looking for ways to speed up recovery and maintain the health of your joints?If any of the above applies, this workshop is for you. We’ll look at how yoga can complement your training in ways that are relevant and applicable to your athletic goals, including boosting recovery, increasing range of motion, avoiding overuse injuries, and making your workouts safer and more effective. The format will be part movement and part lecture, with plenty of time for questions and discussion. Zero flexibility or yoga experience required, beginners very much encouraged!
Your yoga teacher, Jenni, is also a long-distance runner, a Crossfitter, occasional surfer, and Yoga Journal writer. She is a certified Yoga for Athletes instructor, and works with athletes of all varieties.