So the question I ask myself all the time is when I have been running too much and when to take it down a notch. I spend about 2 hours a day working out whether it’s running, dancing, yoga, walking, martial arts or beating a heavy bag. It’s all good until I start to feel run down or I feel like my muscles are shrinking. I am all about muscles. I have nothing against other women’s beautiful slim bodies or even curvy bodies because it’s all about what you’re comfortable with and how you feel.
So because I do love to run, at certain points, It does feel like I am getting too small. I like to be a little bit bigger not that I have the perfect washboard abs or anything like that but consistent high intensity activity does wear a body down even when it makes it feel really good. So when do you change it up?
For the most part, I change things up when I break down. When a five mile run burns 300 calories instead of 450 because it means I have adapted and I need to change and it also means that (and this I don’t quite understand) I am losing muscles. As for my muscle structure. People ask me if I work out all the time. Yes, I actually do but people would be surprised to know that most of my muscle comes from yoga.
With that said. I battle between the two activities I love the most. Both give me a mental boost that is like a drug to me but one really does better when it comes to utilizing all my parts: mind, body, spirit. That would be yoga but it doesn’t burn as many calories as running does so when trying to trim the fat, I go for a run to keep my fat content in check and my heart operating well and I love to be outside with the wind hitting my face, the sights (not that it’s very exciting) waving to people who pass by and just enjoying the sun on my skin.
With yoga, I can really get into relieving the tension I build up and letting go of stressors. As I said before in a previous blog post, that Yoga for me is more about meditation and when I need to let go, I go to Yoga to do just that. Stress can build in the mind and that goes into your body and overall, it really kills your spirit so being in touch with where I am holding onto stress is how I yoga. You can only imagine how good it feels to let it go. It’s like having a baby. Okay, that may be a little hyperbole but it’s something like that. I don’t know that many understand this.
I was teaching a yoga class and what happens most often is that people quit. It’s too hard or maybe I am not a good teacher because trying to convey to people that you really have to feel yourself and where that tension is and work slow and intently on finding it, is a concept that is really hard to get across. Sometimes it is easy when it comes to things like legs. Most people can feel it right away on their first stretch but when you get into minor adjustments to target those areas that you don’t even know exist, that’s when they drop out. They wake up feeling sore or it’s too intense to begin with. So they don’t give it a long enough chance.
After 16 years of practice your bound to up the practice a little bit…or a lot and with that is where you start developing a lot of muscle because you’ve worked on yourself so long that targeting exact muscles to make a move happen becomes second nature and before you know it you’re ripped like someone who lifts weights and thin like a dancer and your balance is great and all the while you are taking it in and letting it go. That’s the nature of the yoga in my personal practice.
I start with meditation. Where am I in my head? I let myself feel what I am feeling and then I move on to where I bury the tension and let the flow take over. You can practically trace a line where everything is connected and you follow your own flow. Every little muscle, every thought that pops into my head, the feeling of finding that sweet spot that feels so good to let go of and then after so long, you realize you let all the thoughts go, the negative, the happy, the sad, the anxiety and you are completely in the moment, totally present with yourself and all the things that bring you down or get you worked up, fall away and you’re relaxed and content, strong and balanced.
So while I started out wondering when to run and when to yoga. I think I know my answer. To yoga because in my life, I need the balance more than I need to lose any weight and that’s what makes me happy.