My cardinal rule in yoga for athletes is that the intensity of the athlete’s training and the intensity of the athlete’s yoga practice must be in inverse proportion. That is, the closer you get to your peak competition, the more mellow your physical practice should become. Hence power, flow, Ashtanga, or hot yoga have their place in the off-season or early base period, not later in the season; gentle and restorative classes suit the bill as athletes’ training builds to a peak.
What, then, should a yoga practice look like on the day before a marathon? Very, very mellow. Remember the rule of “nothing new on race day [or the day before].” But even if your yoga experience is limited, it’s more restful and productive to move slowly through a gentle restorative sequence than to tour a noisy city, to pace back and forth at the packed race expo, or to sit in a crowded theater.
If you’re going to be in New York City for the marathon on November 1, join me at 2 p.m. on October 31 at Om Factory for two hours of pre-marathon yoga, and see what I mean. If you’re not running the race, you’re still quite welcome. This will be a simple, doable practice suitable for anyone and everyone. Registration and a full description are available at the Om Factory site.