Kripalu, February 2010

The people who traveled to Kripalu to study with me in a weekend intensive on yoga for athletes were uniformly lovely. We had the expected array of runners, triathletes, and yoga teachers, as well as a former collegiate rower, now coaching; a seriously competitive Ultimate Frisbee player; and a woman teaching yoga to a university women’s basketball team.
The joint was jumping, with many other exciting programs happening contemporaneously. The energetic and beautiful Sadie Nardini was teaching Core Strength Vinyasa; the calm and friendly Mark Allen and Brant Secunda were presenting a workshop based on their Fit Soul, Fit Body. (Mark and I will both be presenting at USA Triathlon’s Art and Science of Coaching convention this coming weekend in Colorado Springs.) Some of the sweet people who attended my Saturday evening hip-opening class were there for Retreat and Renewal, couples yoga, and the other awareness clinics being presented. We did a gentle sequence based loosely on my class streamable at YogaVibes.
Along the way, I enjoyed two amazing treatments in the Healing Arts Center: vishesh-shirodhara, with Sadie C., and a great Positional Therapy and deep-tissue massage session with Christopher, who set my SI joint straight, much to my relief and delight. Next time you’re at Kripalu, you should seek out these two wonderful practitioners.
If you wanted to make the weekend but couldn’t, please consider coming to the five-day retreat I’m leading at Kripalu in May, or to my ZAP Fitness yoga and running spring weekend retreat, also in May. And if you’re wondering what we covered in our ten hours together (as well as in the fun 10K we ran through beautiful Lenox, Massachusetts), here are my practice notes, keyed in the most part to The Athlete’s Pocket Guide to Yoga.
Friday evening
Practice: Relax and shake off travel. This is appropriate for anytime, including after a hard workout, race, or game; on a rest day; or before a competition.
Supported reclining backbend (knees bent, straight, or cobbler pose)
Knees to chest
One-legged knee to chest (apanasana)
Hip circles
Reclining tree
Knee-down twist
Shoulder circles (“disco finger”) from knee-down twist
Child’s pose to bolster
Prone twist, belly to bolster
Corpse with bolster
Saturday pre-run
Engage the core in mountain-pose alignment; warm up the gluteus medius in dynamic tips in and out of Warrior III
Saturday morning
Practice: Strength, appropriate for base period; flexibility/restorative practice at the wall, appropriate anytime.
The breath in space
Six moves of the spine, prone (cat-cow; lateral child’s pose; threading the kneedle twist)
Rolling like a ball, including coming to squat and dropping knees to the floor/toe stretch
Tall mountain flow
Half salutes
Sun salutes with lunges
Sun salutes with standing poses
Static core (plank, side plank, reverse plank), interspersed with stretches (quad stretch, mermaid stretch)
Clock-face stretches
Box pose flow to handstand: down dog at wall, dandasana at wall, box pose (upside-down L at wall), handstand kicking up from down dog
Wall folds: legs up the wall; central, outer, and inner hamstring; half happy baby, reclining pigeon/figure 4
Legs up the wall, reclining cobbler, or corpse, possibly with bolster
Saturday afternoon
Practice: Focus, appropriate for peak period or anytime, at least 24 hours removed from competition.
The breath in time: Ratios of inhale 6 (or 4, or 8) : exhale 6, in 6 : pause 1 : out 6 : pause 1, 6:1:8:1.
Child’s pose inchworm flow: inhale to cow/exhale to child’s pose, inchworm, inchworm with cobra, inchworm with lower body backbend, inchworm with cobra/locust
Tree, dancer
Lunge series, yin style: lunge, groin stretch, twist; pigeon, pigeon with backbend
Cross-legged reclining IT band twist
Block backbends: fish (blocks to T), bridge
Sunday morning
Practice: Flexibility, breaking out of forward motion. Appropriate in base and build periods and, practiced carefully, toward start of peak for maintaining, not gaining flexibility.
Nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing)
Six moves of the spine, leg extended: cat-cow, threading the needle, gate pose
Moon salutations
Half moon at wall, foot to wall, in space
Dynamic core: rollups, rollovers; legs-down metronome twist; bridge with leg lifts
IT band flow: cow-face, seated twist (ardha matsyendrasana).
Cross-legged reclining twists, tight cross of legs, to both directions
Happy baby