Root Down to Rise Up

after a three hour commute to and from my job today in cold rainy weather (and getting lost on the way back because i couldn’t see through the windshield because it was raining so hard!), i really felt like i needed to stretch out and open up my mind and my body in the evening. ordinarily i would be stressed out, anxious, and firmly miserable for the rest of the day – i am a person who likes to think that everything is under my control and have become far too used to that mindset. whenever i can’t get everything done in a day that i would like to, or if something does not go according to plan, i spend too much time dwelling on why it deviated from what i expected and lose the value of the present moment. when the professor i work for saw my 24 credit schedule this semester, he said “people are only capable of doing so much in a day” and i took that as a challenge.

but it occurred to me just a few weeks ago that the beautiful parts of life are slow, spontaneous, unplanned. if you know exactly how your day is going to go, where is the value or even the fun in that completely-planned-out experience? i am slowly, gradually beginning to let go of that “control everything” mindset. sitting in traffic for 3 hours gave me the chance to listen to some of my favorite music. this reminds me of a poster i saw about “Lessons Learned from a River” — go with the flow, and also of kiran gandhi’s TED talk –

i think this is why i find such solace in yoga. in today’s world, lack of sleep/any kind of rest is glorified. we are constantly encouraged to be on the move, to be doing, acquiring, using. we don’t allow ourselves to just sit with nothing but our own minds. yoga creates that space of inner and outer equanimity.

village yoga is a little studio tucked away in potomac village, and i fell in love with the space as soon as i walked through the door.

three integral “pillars” of ashtanga yoga that i have learned from kino are 1) the breath (talked about this a little bit in my last post) 2) the gaze (drishti) 3) asana – the actual pose itself. at this class, our teacher, jill, encouraged us to develop an intention for this practice – mine was to be as aware and as fully present as possible so that i could really learn. she also conducted the whole class without music, which allowed the four of us (small class!) to delve deeper into our practice. we flowed through a series of sequences, constantly keeping our awareness centered on the breath. the breath IS music, if you are careful enough to listen to it.

although my 50K training plan started today, Monday is my rest/cross-training day, so core-focused yoga was the natural choice. tomorrow, i’m off to the natural foods store to buy some ingredients to make my own detergent 🙂 also planning a trail run at great falls.

here is my full training schedule:

Training Schedule

Mondays: rest/yoga

Tuesdays: 45-60 min easy run with core work (maybe also yoga)

Wednesdays: alternating hilly runs with hill repeats 🙂

Thursdays: 75-90 min easy run with core work

Fridays: rest or x-train

Saturdays: looong run days

Sundays: 1 hr medium effort

our balancing pose in today’s yoga class was vrikshasana, tree pose. i have a lot of trouble with balancing poses because i have a hard time keeping my body and mind still. jill emphasized how yoga is unique because it focuses on holistic practice – if you contract a muscle, for example, you will relax the muscle later in the same practice. so too in yoga do you root down, first, through the bandhas and core work, to achieve a steady and stable foundation so that you can rise up in balances with the self-same serenity. this, i think, is a good metaphor for life – to approach every obstacle with the seeds of courage and conviction already planted firmly in your heart.


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