Watch: Yoga for Athletes Teachers’ Lounge: Backbends

July 24, 2014 – 2:46 pm | Permalink | Media, Recovery, Teaching, Training and Racing, Yoga

Second in my Yoga Vibes series of ten practices filmed at my Teaching Yoga to Athletes intensive is an investigation of both passive and active backbends. These simple but powerful poses can improve posture, increase balance in the body, and prevent injury in athletes and everyone.

back

Watch the preview or the full class here.

Take the full teachers’ intensive online anytime.

Yoga Class Description

In this class, filmed at the end of Day 1 of Sage’s Teaching Yoga to Athletes intensive, we enjoy passive backbends to stretch the tight spots in the chest and hip flexors, then active backbends to strengthen the muscles in the posterior chain of the body. Throughout, Sage explains how balance between the front and back improves posture and reduces injury. Have two blocks and a bolster available. (40 mins.)

Suggested Yoga Props

two blocks and a bolster

Watch: IT Band Aid

July 22, 2014 – 10:16 am | Permalink | Media, Teaching, Training and Racing, Yoga

If you don’t know what your IT band (or iliotibial band) is, that’s great news—it’s probably not a problem area. If it is a hotspot for you, or if you have soreness at your outer hip or knee or general tightness along the outer thigh, this free video at YogaVibes has some ideas to help!

itb

Yoga Class Description

In this free online yoga video, running coach and yoga teacher Sage Rountree explains what your IT band is, why it might bother you, and how to take a two-pronged approach both to salve an achy IT band and to strengthen your hips to prevent future pain.

Racing Wisely: Choosing a Destination

July 21, 2014 – 2:45 pm | Permalink | Coaching, Race Reports, Training and Racing

Racing can be a fun impetus for travel or a major onus. In this excerpt from Racing Wisely, I explain how to consider location, location, location as you choose a race.

RW thumbChoosing the location of your race wisely can set the stage for your own personal best, and location is a very personal decision. Will you target your local race, because you do best when you sleep in your own bed? Do you like to have the support of local friends and family on the course? Or do you prefer to be anonymous? On the other hand, is there a race that calls you that will require travel? What exactly about the location is appealing? Is it the race itself, or the scenery, or having family or friends who’ll put you up, or the opportunity to visit a new or exciting area? Given the length and demands of your race, will you even have the energy to sightsee? What is your budget?

If you feel stressed about travel, that should tell you something about whether and where you should travel for your race. In chapter 4, we’ll investigate travel planning in depth—a review of that chapter before you commit to your race can help you make a more informed decision.

Think about what terrain and courses suit your strengths. Many athletes choose a race because it is historic, or because a friend has done it and enjoyed it. These reasons may factor into your decision, but they aren’t necessarily setting you up for a personal best. Instead of committing to a race based on its popularity, others’ stories about it, or anyone else’s idea of what makes it special, choose a race that suits your personal strengths. If you live in the mountains, a race at the beach will feel mind- and muscle-numbingly flat, hot, and humid. If you live in the lowlands without many challenging trails, a mountainous run over singletrack can be a lung- and ankle-busting challenge. The more personal your decision is, and the less swayed by other people’s opinions, the better your race-day experience will be.

Read more in Racing Wisely.

Read: Mindful Racing

July 17, 2014 – 4:17 pm | Permalink | Coaching, Teaching, Training and Racing, Yoga

wl108atleventbritefinal

I’m very excited to lead our meditation at Wanderlust 108 in Atlanta, GA, on September 28. Today at the Wanderlust blog, you’ll find an excerpt from Racing Wisely, with some thoughts on mindfulness and running:

RW thumb Any practice can be a mindfulness practice, and many can be mindlessness practices. It’s all about intention and attention. Why are you here? What are you doing in the situation? And what is happening right now? How much of that is true? Mindfulness means watching the drama that flickers on the screen of consciousness, and realizing that it is a narrative projected by the mind. Mindfulness shows us that this dramatic story has highs and lows, scary moments and joyful moments. Through mindful watching, we realize that we are not the story, we are the ones watching it play out, and we do not need to get involved with the story.

Read more at Wanderlust Journal.

Watch: Yoga for Athletes Teachers’ Lounge: Spine and Hips

July 17, 2014 – 9:04 am | Permalink | Media, Teaching, Yoga

tl1For those of you interested in the thinking behind why we do what we do in my yoga for athletes classes, here’s a new series at Yoga Vibes! Filmed during my Teaching Yoga to Athletes intensive, these classes include explanation about the theory behind my sequencing, with ample free time for you to explore the poses in your own body. The series includes 10 classes, both short and long, and will be running over the next 10 weeks. The first class is an exploration of the six moves of the spine and four lines of the hips.

If you’re really interested in the theory, please join me for an in-person version of the intensive (say, at Kripalu in January 2015) or take the entire course online anytime.

description

In this class, filmed on Day 1 of Sage’s Teaching Yoga to Athletes intensive, we explore the six moves of the spine and four lines of the hip. In a standing flow, you’ll move your spine in every direction. Then, use a lunge as a home base to explore the front, back, inner, and outer regions of the hips and thighs. Along the way, Sage explains her rationale for incorporating these poses into every sequence. Have a block available. (34 mins.)

suggested yoga props

block

Racing Wisely: Consider Others

July 7, 2014 – 2:38 pm | Permalink | Coaching, Training and Racing

Training and racing don’t happen in isolation. In this excerpt from Racing Wisely, I explain how your race choice can affect your loved ones. Consider them as you choose a race.

RW thumbThe who of your personal best extends beyond you personally. Even if you live, train, and move through the course alone, you don’t race alone. From the race director to the volunteers on the course that day to the other racers, you share your experience with others, and for the bulk of your training, you are able to work out because of the support of other people. This support crew includes the running-store staff, lifeguards who open the pool early in the morning, bike technicians. It includes your teammates or your training partners, waiting out on the street at 5:30 a.m. to meet you for a workout. It includes the people who make the music or podcasts that you enjoy as you train, or who clear the trails you run alone in silence. It includes your coworkers, who wrap up meetings on time and who brew a second pot of coffee after lunch, knowing you could use the pick-me-up. It especially includes those in close personal relationships with you: your roommates, your partner, your parents, your children. You aren’t doing this alone, and it will go much more smoothly when you have the full support of your network.

As you target your event and build a training plan geared toward a great race, be sure to consider all the people in your life whose support is important along the way. Have a frank discussion with your spouse or partner about the amount of training you’ll need to do; the amount of support you’ll need, from time on the weekends to child care, grocery shopping, cooking, and dishes; and the voluminous amount of laundry heavy training can generate. Also discuss any travel you’re planning for training and to the race itself. Think about timing relative to your work or academic calendar, and how your dedication to training will affect any colleagues working on projects with you. When we remember and honor the important relationships in our lives, we can choose races that will allow us to receive the support we need as we prepare and race.

If you are planning to train and race with a partner or a group, spend some time thinking through what this means. Traveling with your spouse or a group of girlfriends to an out-of-town race will require a different set of intentions and goals than seeking your own personal best in a race you do solo. Even at this early planning stage, it is wise to have a candid discussion with your training and racing partners about how you envision the training cycle and race day playing out. If something goes amiss—a training partner gets injured, a racing buddy is having a stellar day—are you going to split up and continue on your own? Being clear on what you want will save you from potential discord during training and at the race.

Download a customizable race planning questionnaire at racingwisely.com.

Racing Wisely: Choosing an Event

June 23, 2014 – 2:27 pm | Permalink | Coaching, Training and Racing

This excerpt from my latest book, Racing Wisely, prompts you to consider what you are going for when you commit to an event. Find a downloadable race planning questionnaire at racingwisely.com.

Before

Before Francesca’s 40-miler

Your personal best race is one where you meet your goals while maintaining a positive outlook according to your intention. The fact that this happens in a race is important. Racing puts something on the line. It raises the stakes in a way that demands we bring our personal best effort to the table. Being timed; comparing ourselves to the field of competition, or even just to the time on the clock someone else has started and stopped; having the results posted online: all this makes it more real. Compared to heading out for a training day on a Saturday morning, toeing the line of the race is far more intense and requires strong focus. Racing commits you to paying attention, which is hard to do in our daily life, which is full of distractions. In a race, you don’t stop at a convenience store for a sports drink, or pause by the side of the road to check your text messages. In a race, you are totally in the moment.

In a race, there is a concrete goal: crossing the finish line. The parameters of having a start and a finish give us a standard against which we test ourselves. By this testing, we learn where our limits are, and often that they lie far, far beyond where we believed they did.

This testing also makes us vulnerable. We’re open to failure just as much as we’re open to success. But without such a step, we can’t experience the fullness of what it means to be human. We have to be open to losing control. When we mitigate our capacity for risk, we also mitigate our capacity for joy. Without taking chances—running only 20 miles before your first marathon, for example, or going fast over rocky, rooty singletrack trail—you’ll never have the opportunity to enjoy the stupendous feeling of surpassing your perceived limits. This is why we race: the many ways in which we can fail make achieving our goals feel that much sweeter. Without the chance of losing, of being embarrassed, of finding that our best is not, in fact, good enough, the myriad minor victories that happen in the course of any hard effort would be bland. As Truman Capote said, “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”

Your personal best race, then, is one where you have committed fully, despite the possibility of failure. Knowing what might go wrong, you’ve managed all the contingencies you can. This frees up energy for pushing when you need to, and for coping with the things you can’t control—for fighting against the possibility of failure. Choose a race that inspires you to throw your whole self into the challenge, a race where the reward is worth the risk.

After Francesca's 40-miler

After Francesca’s 40-miler

Visualize exactly how you want to feel as you cross the line. Imagine what it will take for you to cross feeling satisfied. From there, you can start to discern your specific intentions and goals, which we’ll discuss in chapter 3.

As you think though the variables, you’ll develop a better picture of what kind of race environment will suit you. It could be a large race with cheering spectators and a sense of history; it could be a small event in the woods with very little support. Ultimately, you need to decide on what matters most to you. When you make race choices based on your own desires, not on what others in the sport consider important, you are best positioned to develop skills that apply in all areas of your life and to learn about your own abilities and limits.

My best friend Francesca, approaching her fortieth birthday, wanted to run 40 miles for the first time. She chose to create her own event instead of signing up for a race. She chose a day, mapped a course, invited friends to join her, and did it on her own. Francesca may have learned more about her own strengths by staging her own event than by buying in to someone else’s vision. Because she was clear on what she wanted, all the rest was easy.

Find a downloadable race planning questionnaire at racingwisely.com.

Now Available: Classroom Management and Safety

June 18, 2014 – 4:14 pm | Permalink | Teaching, Yoga

We always have a lot of fun in the teacher trainings and intensives I lead. But I can’t remember having as much fun or belly laughs in a workshop as we had in Classroom Management and Safety. What is often a weighty, serious, and scary topic is less frightening when you break it down with colleagues and skits.

Now you can join the fun by following the online version of the course. From heart attacks to fart attacks (seriously), setting up the classroom to handling uncomfortable conversations with students, we cover a broad, inclusive range of issues. You’ll finish the course feeling more able to deal with whatever happens in your class, whether it has two students, twenty, or two hundred. Feel free to contact me with any questions—and I look forward to hearing your voice in the course comments.

Now available!300-110

The very first step of the first limb of yoga is ahimsa, nonharming. With this goal in mind, we seek to keep our students safe in class. Once their safety is ensured, our choices in how we set up and manage the classroom directly affect the quality of the students’ experience and the feel of the class. In this online course with Sage Rountree and Lies Sapp—plus special guest, first-aid teacher Kathy DiBlasio—we investigate all the choices that contribute to the safety and quality of your class.

content

Studio owners Lies Sapp and Sage Rountree lead this investigation of how to skillfully manage your classroom. From handling emergencies to calming chatty students, choosing music to using proper guidelines to touch, liability to audibility, we cover all elements of the teacher’s role and choices. After taking this course, you’ll feel capable, confident, and equipped to handle whatever comes your way.

We cover:

  • classroom setup, lighting, temperature
  • setting the tone with a proper introduction and overview
  • handling medical emergencies, from serious to minor
  • basic first aid for issues yoga teachers may encounter
  • the obligations and liabilities of being a yoga teacher
  • speaking to students outside of class about sensitive issues from odor to proper teacher-student boundaries
  • managing student behavior in class to ensure a pleasant experience for everyone
  • working with studio owners and fellow teachers to build a strong container for your class

And yes, we address graceful ways to allow for various body issues that inevitably occur in class, from farts to erections.

materials

Classroom Management and Safety table of contents

Classroom Management and Safety table of contents

When you sign up for the course, you’ll receive instant, lifetime access to more than eight hours of video:

  • nine lectures and discussions
  • three varied yoga practices to help you consider how particulars affect student experience
  • hundreds of ideas for clear communication with your students

Work at your own pace and at a time that’s convenient for you, and use your lifetime access to review the materials (and comments) at your leisure.

questions?

Read the Frequently Asked Questions, or contact Sage.

sign up

Price: $149.00

Use the code SAGEBLOG to sign up before July 1, 2014, and you’ll save $50—all this content and confidence is yours for only $99.

Satisfaction guaranteed. If you aren’t completely happy with what you learn, you’ll receive a full refund.

 

Sprint Triathlon Plan with Coupon

June 17, 2014 – 2:27 pm | Permalink | Coaching, Media, Training and Racing, Yoga

IMG_3456If you have a race coming up in the summer, do you have a plan to match? Systematic training—and systematic rest—will get you a lot closer to peak performance than inchoate workouts where you race the swimmers in the next lane, show off to your cycling friends, or run just how you feel.

Coming up, I’ll have a lot more to say about how to prepare for your first sprint triathlon—or your fastest. (Sign up at Yoga Journal for a twelve-week online program that will deliver inspiration right to your inbox.) Meanwhile, you can get started on a comprehensive approach to training, using yoga to complement your swimming, cycling, and running, by using my plans available on TrainingPeaks. The Olympic-distance and half-iron plans are designed for performance, and there’s a new sprint triathlon one targeting beginners available today. Use the code READY before July 1 and you’ll save $20 on the twelve-week sprint plan!

Racing Wisely: Choosing a Fall Goal Race

June 9, 2014 – 2:20 pm | Permalink | Coaching, Training and Racing

It’s the time of year to commit to a fall goal race. As you consider your options, here’s some advice from my latest book, Racing Wisely.

RW thumbRacing at your personal best is different from setting a personal record (PR), although the two can certainly happen simultaneously. When you race at your best, you finish satisfied that you did the utmost you could on that day, on that course, on the training you banked. You will not always be able to run your personal record, especially as you age. But when you race wisely, every race can be a personal victory. In a personal best race, you predetermine the major challenges that you can control, take steps to mitigate them, and execute your plan with grace and efficiency. More importantly, you maintain a positive attitude toward the things you can’t control, using them as an opportunity for resilience, endurance, and happiness in the face of shifting circumstances.

In this way, racing wisely and achieving your personal best means being practical, applying your energy where it’s most needed to reach the goals you want, and philosophical, adjusting your attitude about the things you can’t control by remembering your intention. Learning to race wisely means developing tools for meeting every situation with the appropriate energy, and this extends far beyond racing. It applies to dealing with traffic, with medical diagnoses, with job offers, with any demand on your energy. It applies to dealing with all aspects of your life.

As you set out to learn about yourself through racing, it’s important to reflect on what you already know about yourself. Self-reflection helps you choose the right race for your personal strengths, which is critical for your success. Are you an introvert who wants or needs to maintain internal focus during the race? Are you an extrovert who feeds off the support of the crowd? Do you thrive on the repetition of a flat beach course or on the changing scenery and shifting challenge of mountainous terrain?

As you consider what race to sign up for, or which of several races to target as your major goal—the A-priority race, the one where you’re racing for your personal best—you’ll need to think through what, who, where, when, and why. Then the how becomes clear. Ask yourself these questions.

Race Planning Questionnaire

What

  • What do you want to feel when you cross the finish line?
  • What will be a satisfying performance?
  • What kind of race environment suits you best?
  • What is the right race distance and race size to achieve your desired outcome?

Who

  • Who in your life is affected by your training and racing? Will they support you in the way you need?
  • Whom will you train with? Do you plan to race with them?

Where

  • Where can you viably travel to race?
  • What kind of terrain and courses suit your strengths?

When

  • When do you have free time to train? To travel to race?
  • When are your major work deadlines?
  • When may your family and relationships experience transitions during your training cycle?
  • When will seasonal weather changes impact your training? How does the training weather compare to anticipated race-day weather?

Why

  • Why do you want to run this race?
  • Why is now the very best time for it?

How

  • Given these broad-stroke answers, how can you best train wisely?

Find a downloadable, customizable version of this race planning questionnaire at racingwisely.com. In upcoming posts, we’ll investigate these questions in depth.