September is National Yoga Month!

I can’t believe it’s already September!  And in case you  didn’t know, September is National Yoga Month!  It is actually recognized by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion as an official health observance.  The purpose of  Yoga Month is to raise awareness about healthy living, yoga multiple health benefits and taking responsibility for your own health.

Salutation Pose

To celebrate, on September 10th @ 9am (in your local time zone) Lululemon is hosting this amazing yoga event called Salutation Nation, where every one of its stores in North America is offering a complimentary outdoor yoga class.  Join your community to move, breathe, connect with other like-minded people in their communities and take  your asana practice outside!  People of all different backgrounds, ages, and athletic abilities will spend one hour together with friends, teachers, neighbors, and perfect strangers connecting, being present, and most importantly having fun! If you are in Boston simply join me down at the Parkman Bandstand at the Boston Common,  ready with your yoga mat and water.  Lynne Begier of Back Bay Yoga and owner of Sweat and Soul Yoga will be teaching a Hip Hop Yoga class.  She will be assisted by several other local yoga ambassadors. Bur before that, Kevan Gale, director of Stil Studio and lululemon Legacy Place ambassador, will lead us in a 15 minute meditation. Kevan is a PranaVayu yoga instructor, and has trained with David Magone!  This yoga experience is open to ALL levels!

To bring awareness about  Salutation Nation 2011, last Thursday I joined my team lululemon athletica Natick & BCalm Power Yoga and practice yoga in the great outdoors on the corner of Route 9 /30 at entrance to the Mass Pike! It was a lot of fun and we definitely stopped the traffic! Doing yoga outside is so refreshing!

Extended Side Angle Pose

You all know I love running.  It is an amazing workout that can be done almost anywhere; and it’s an amazing way to keep your legs strong and lean. But it does have its drawbacks. Running can create tight hamstrings and hip muscles.  The pain most runners feel is not from the running in and of itself, but from imbalances that running causes. That is where yoga comes in handy!  If you bring your body into balance through the practice of yoga, you can run for years to come.  Yoga for runners is a helpful way to stretch and loosen up those tight muscles and ligaments, that take a pounding on the pavement.  Is that pounding that creates imbalances throughout the body that can result in pain, injury, and really generally stiffness. Incorporating yoga into your workout is a simple way to help prevent against injury, while adding flexibility.

Although, all yoga postures can be beneficial to runners, these are especially helpful for runners:

  • Downward dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana): This classic yoga asana (posture) will stretch tight hamstrings, which are very important for runners, as well as elongate the back.  This pose is a gentle way for runners to open their hamstrings for quickness and speed. The pose also helps to stretch toes, calves and arches, and feet. Simply start on all fours and slowly lift your hips towards the ceiling as you straighten your legs.  Allow your heels to keep reaching down towards your mat as you ground yourself down with all four corners of your hands. Hold for at least five deep breaths.

Downward Dog

  • Bound-angle pose (Baddha Konasana): This hip opener is a great solution to tight and sore hip flexors, abductors and adductor muscles. Start by sitting down on your mat, bringing the soles of your feet together and with your feet as close to your body as possible. Lift and lengthen your spine as you inhale and exhale deep through your nose. Allow your groin muscles to soften and release as you hold this posture for a minimum of five breaths.

Bound-Angle Pose

  • Pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana): Another hip opener that also stretches out the lumbar spine. With this pose you lubricate the key joints that running stress most, leaving you free and clear to run hard without fear of injury. Start in downward dog and bend the right knee and bring it forward. Take the right knee just outside the right hand while releasing the top of the left leg to the floor. Then square your hips to the floor and bring your torso down towards your leg so that you’re doing a forward fold over your right leg. Hold this posture for a minimum of five breaths.

Pigeon Pose

Yoga is for everybody. But for runners and other performance athletes it offers an added bonus. For more great poses for runners check out Sage Rountree’s book, An Athlete’s Guide to Yoga.


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