My Body

Sage Rountree on Organic Running and Dialing Back the Yoga Intensity

Sage Rountree is the author of The Athlete's Guide to Yoga and The Athlete's Pocket Guide to Yoga. She teaches yoga and holds coaching certifications from USA Triathlon, USA Cycling, and the Road Runners Club of America.

I came up as a couch potato. I smoked and played in a band. And I was an English major, and then I got a PhD in English Literature, so I spent a lot of time sitting on my butt reading books. But I had a very big dog, a 95 pound chocolate lab, and I started running because I would chase the dog. I'd take him off the leash on the trail, and he'd go running, and I'd have to catch him. That's how I came to running, really organically. Just chasing the dog. And I wish that for everyone. A lot of people decide they’re going to get in shape, and they start from nothing, and they make it through the cycle of the event, but then they're burnt out. For me, I was running a little bit more and a little bit more. That’s how I came into endurance sports.

Somewhere along the way I snuck into a yoga class at my gym. And I hated it. It was so hard. I was just trembling and unhappy and I thought, that’s it for me and yoga. And then I thought if I was having such a strong reaction, maybe it was something I should check out again. A few years later when I was pregnant, everyone said I should do prenatal yoga. And by then I was just totally ready. You have to be ready for anything that can be so transformative, and by then I was really open to some of the connections that yoga can help you see.

Then after my daughter was born, I started running again, just to get out of the house. I started racing, and when I started training for my first marathon, it hurt, so I went back to yoga, and so I ended up growing with both endurance running and yoga at the same time. 

Something that’s changed for me over the years, I've dialed back the overt physical intensity of yoga a little bit. The people who need restorative classes are the least likely to go there. The more mellow your yoga practice can be, the more it can support you in your life. People hear "yoga for athletes," and they think it's going to be very athletic yoga. But to complement your sport, you don't need 90 minutes in a hot room where you’re totally depleted afterward. There’s only so much physical energy you can expend. So it may be 10 or 15 minutes instead of 90 minutes, but it’s working on your focus. 

Sage (via <a href="http://www.sagerountree.com/index.html">sagerountree.com</a>)



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