REI/prAna Tour Practice Notes

Berkeley REI
Berkeley REI

I’m one week in to a six-week tour of teaching Yoga for Athletes at REI stores. Last week, I visited Berkeley, Portland, and Seattle; this coming week, it’s Boulder, Denver, and Salt Lake City. The full tour schedule is here.

If you’re on the wait list for a clinic, or find yourself nearby and interested, please do drop in. I’m delighted that we have had room to accommodate walk-ins, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at REI!

Highlights thus far:

Berkeley: enjoying lunch alone at Chez Panisse Café, having dinner with my brother and his wife in Berkeley, taking a very good class at Yoga to the People, running through the Cal campus up to Strawberry Canyon.

Sarah Bowen Shea and me
Sarah Bowen Shea and me

Portland: dinner with Sarah Bowen Shea of Another Mother Runner. It’s such a treat to have a real-life friendship in addition to our online and podcast relationship. I am looking forward to spending more than 18 hours in Portland on my next trip!

REI headquarters, where I taught a lunchtime class for employees

Seattle: witnessing the residuals of the collective celebration of the Super Bowl victory—there were flags, hats, and balloons everywhere, and buildings are still lit in blue and green with 12 displayed on the side; visiting the REI headquarters, which include a café and a dog park; teaching at the flagship store, a wonderland containing both fireplaces and a climbing wall, and eating great tapas with the prAna crew at Pintxo.

But the biggest highlight has been connecting with you. I love your questions, your enthusiasm, and signing your books.

Here are notes about the sequence we enjoyed together:

Yoga to Do Before Your Run
Six Moves of the Spine, Standing
  • Mountain pose
  • Inhale arms up, side stretch. Lean the top shoulder forward and back if you like. Breathe into the ribcage.
  • Standing cat/cow. Hands to bent knees, inhale to lift tailbone, open chest, and look up. Exhale and round, dropping chin to chest.
  • Twists. From mountain, inhale arms up, exhale to twist to side. Repeat back and forth. Notice the difference between doing this from your ankles versus holding the pelvis steady and twisting from the waistline up. For extra challenge, when you twist right, lift your right leg, and when you twist left, lift your left.
Parking Lot Yoga, aka Arrow Lunge Flow as in The Runner’s Guide to Yoga, p. 166 (now in e-format:
This routine builds balance and focus, fosters communication between the hip and foot (which helps protect the knee), and gives you a dynamic warm-up for your run. Do 5 rounds on each side, alternating.
  • Mountain pose
  • Inhale, lift left leg
  • Exhale, step left foot back to arrow lunge (diagonal)
  • Inhale, lift shoulders over hips to crescent lunge (perpendicular)
  • Exhale, arrow
  • Inhale, drive through, lifting left leg and stabilizing
  • Exhale, mountain pose.

Yoga to Do During Your Run

We practiced this during the Parking Lot routine, but it also applies during your workout. Focus on these points:
  1. Your breath, and how it coordinates with your movement. Remember your homework: to pay attention to how many steps you take per breath, and which foot is landing when you start and finish both inhalation and exhalation.
  2. A mantra. Develop a full roster of mantras that work for you, and practice them in both relaxing and intense moments, so they are familiar and comfortable.
  3. Drishti. Set your gaze, then soften around that focus. Extra credit: try going through the Parking Lot routine with your eyes closed. Be sure you have enough room to wobble and fall!
With online course student Tracy in Seattle
With online course student Tracy in Seattle

Yoga to Do After Your Run

Standing Stretches (p. 176 of The Runner’s Guide to Yoga, also at and at Hold each 5–15 breaths.
  • Dancer pose (quad stretch, foot to hand)
  • Standing pigeon (figure 4, ankle over thigh)
  • Pyramid (step top foot forward, train tracks; core variation is to lift the shoulders, flexibility variation is to relax forward)

Squat (covered here: and here:, either knees forward or knees wide.

Yoga to Do Long After Your Run (aka Yoga in Bed)

  • First twist, bottom leg to opposite hip, top leg foot to floor
  • Second, swing foot to same-side long edge of mat, drop to top leg side, extend arm overhead
  • Third, step bottom leg foot to tailbone, lift hips and shift to top leg side, drop legs to bottom leg side