It was a special treat to chat with Sarajean Rudman for her East West Functional Medicine podcast. Sarajean is a bright light of a teacher, positive and curious, and taking her yoga classes is always a highlight of my visits to the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. For the podcast, we discuss yoga for athletes, which is the topic of two upcoming yoga classes I’ll be leading at Kripalu next month:
Yoga for Athletes: Strength, Flexibility, and Focus, January 4–6
You’ll find some quotes from me alongside three of my favorite stretches for the hip flexors at the Silver Sneakers blog. This is my most favorite of all, as you can do it from a bed, a sofa, or—if you’re as lucky as this woman—a cosy reading nook.
While you’re shopping online this week, I have some offers for you to consider.
A Weekend Retreat
The Stockbridge Bowl seen from Kripalu in winter
Join me at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in the Berkshires January 4–6 for the eleventh annual Yoga for Athletes weekend. It’s suitable for all ages, all sports (including none), and all levels of yoga experience (again, including none). We’ve had lots of friend groups and family configurations in the workshop over the years. It’s a great way to spend quality time together while relaxing and enjoying the retreat life (less screen time, more delicious meals you don’t have to cook for or clean up after). And we’re meeting early this year, before school goes back and in perfect time to commit to your resolutions. Sign up here!
Yoga teachers/coaches/personal trainers/physical therapists: this weekend is followed by my signature five-day teachers’ intensive, Teaching Yoga to Athletes. If you can make both, you’ll get a 10 percent discount. Sign up here!
If your loved one is in central North Carolina or has plans to visit, both Carolina Yoga Company and Hillsborough Spa and Day Retreat offer gift cards in any amount. You can generate these immediately online, making them perfect for the true procrastinators (or the forgetful).
When you order a book from me, I’m always happy to personalize and sign it. There’s still plenty of time for me to ship the book(s) to you for you to wrap and deliver to your loved ones. Start here.
Heads up, all my friends who like yoga for athletes plus good conversations: here’s a podcast for you. CLUTCH, hosted by Joe Pace from Icewater Yoga. Joe was a collegiate pitcher and is a great conversationalist. I spoke to him about athletes’ ability to find comfort with discomfort and their/our need to find comfort with comfort instead.
One of the most common yoga injuries is a tear to the high hamstring tendon. It feels like a pain in your bottom, just under your sitting bone. Ironically, this injury often feels like something that “better” hamstring stretching will dissolve away. Nothing could be further from the truth! It’s often a consequence of overstretching, perhaps from a flow-style yoga practice with an emphasis on forward folds.
Not only is the high hamstring attachment a frequent site of yoga injuries, it’s also a common achy area in runners and other running athletes. Quick pace changes can add stress to the area, preventing it from healing.
If this is sounding familiar to you, I have wonderful news. My colleague Jenni Tarma has just released an e-book, Stronger with Yoga: Hamstring Injury Rehab, to help you rehab this area so you can run pain-free, practice without the niggling ache, and generally feel stronger! It’s the first book in her Stronger with Yoga series. I’ve had the pleasure of reading the whole book, which is clearly written, accessible to non-yogis, and full of advice for dealing with every single stage of the injury, from taking the right amount of downtime to beginning a smart progression to realign and strengthen the injured area. (Bonus: my daughter Vivian contributed a few anatomical illustrations!)
Consider the Carolina Yoga Company 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training, which Jenni co-teaches alongside me, Lies Sapp, and several excellent guest teachers. She leads many eye-opening asana practices to help practitioners and aspiring teachers understand anatomy and movement in easy, immediately applicable ways.
One of my favorite offerings at Carolina Yoga is our daytime hybrid yoga teacher training, which meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., January through March, in odd-numbered years. We call this the “hybrid,” as it’s a cross of our three-week intensive format (offered in even-numbered summers) and the eight-month, one-weekend-a-month format we offer every year.
While “hybrid” is currently our in-house term, we started off calling it “the mom schedule,” as it coordinates nicely with school schedules. But we find that we get folks from all walks of life in this program: retirees, service workers (we could call it “the bartender schedule”!), and students with a hiatus between jobs.
You can read all about the program here. And hit me up with any questions you have—I love talking about our offerings and am always happy to connect prospective students with former and current students, for a reference.
I had a great chat with Jason Fitzgerald of the Strength Running podcast (and strengthrunning.com) about yoga for runners: the ins, the outs, the dos, and the don’ts. Jason came to yoga as an experienced runner via one of the more vigorous entry points, Bikram yoga. We discussed what kinds of yoga are appropriate for runners and when, as well as how to make smart choices both about the classes you choose and in class itself.
I wrote a post for the Kripalu blog outlining my approach to yoga for athletes. It’s summed up in the title: it’s not athletic yoga! Instead, it’s yoga to complement what we do in training.
To put it succinctly, yoga for athletes is not necessarily athletic yoga. It certainly can be: At various points in the training cycle, yoga is a wonderful way to build strength and even provide some cardiovascular benefit. But most athletes are getting their workouts in their workouts. Adding a strenuous yoga practice to an already-tired body is a recipe for overstressing the athlete. Athletes, teachers, and coaches must be clear on the intention for including yoga as a part of training, so that it complements the other work an athlete is doing instead of undermining it.
This is the guiding principle behind my teachers’ intensive on working with athletes. I next teach it at Kripalu in January, in conjunction with a weekend for athletes and everyone. (Read about it here. Join for both and you get a discount!) I also offer it in North Carolina in July, and online anytime at sageyogateachertraining.com. I hope to see you in one of these!
I really fell in love with granola at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, and I still eat it every morning every day I’m there, and most days at home. Yoga Journal asked for my recipe, which appeared in their September issue. It’s online now—check it out.
My love of granola started nine years ago when I began teaching at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. During my stay, they served delicious granola in the morning, and I missed it once I returned home. After some experimenting, I created this recipe filled with oats, nuts, and seeds. It tastes amazing with fresh yogurt and seasonal fruit. I make a giant batch every other month—it stores well and is a nice gift, too. In the summer I eat it with fresh strawberries, blueberries, or peaches. In the winter I add dried cherries; my daughter likes to add chocolate chips. Enjoy it for breakfast, or throw some in a bag for a satisfying snack to fuel all your athletic endeavors.