What a sweet group of yogis there are in Shreveport, Louisiana! If you ever begin to despair for the future, please consider that in DeSoto Parish, in the northwest corner of the state, there are a group of high school football players who swear by their yoga, using it as a dynamic warmup on the field before games. (Go, R.J.!) The more young people can tune in to their bodies, breaths, and spirits, the better.
Huge thanks to Aimee and Emily, the wonderful owners of Breathe Yoga. It’s a beautiful space that serves its local community extremely well, and I am eager to watch it grow!
For my students or anyone interested, here are your practice notes.
We covered yoga to do before, during, and after your workout.
Some of these poses are depicted in this piece I wrote for Yoga Journal. You can hold the poses in this sequence for several breaths (squirming is encouraged!) or pulse with the breath cues:
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.
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:
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.
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!).
We enjoyed a sweet practice of yoga for athletic recovery.
See page 38 of Everyday Yoga.
See page 34 of Everyday Yoga.
Set your block on its lowest or second-lowest height under your pelvis. After a while symmetrical, try hugging one knee in while pressing out through the opposite heel.
Fold your blanket into a ribbon, about six inches wide. Lie on top of this so that its top edge runs just against the lower edges of your shoulder blades. Wrap the blanket around your ribs, under your arms. Stay a while.
Elevate the top end of your bolster, set your left hip along its bottom edge, and spin your belly and chest toward it. Add support between your knees if you like. Stay a good while on both sides.
Lie back on your bolster. Take your feet together, knees apart. If your blanket ribbon is handy, take its middle across the tops of your feet and tuck it under your outer calves and thighs. Stay a good while.
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.
See page 48 of Everyday Yoga. We added arm variations:
See page 52 of Everyday Yoga; we combined with Half Moon Flow (page 54). We added an arm variation: in exalted warrior, bend your top arm to hold your head
This appears in part on page 86 of Everyday Yoga.
Happy trails, Shreveport—I hope to see you again!
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