The Chicago Marathon took place this year on Sunday, 10.10.10. I saw the winning men place on television before heading off to my normal Sunday Yoga class at Nature Yoga Sanctuary. As we entered class and began to set up our mats the Marathon was on everyone's mind. With the street closures that happen due to the marathon it can make getting around Chicago on that morning a little like a game of Frogger for some. We joked about finishing the marathon in time to get to class.
My teacher Wade usually begins with thoughts before class. Today he spoke about the supportive community of people cheering these marathon runners on their journey. Wouldn't it be nice in Yoga class to have that same positive support. "Come on you can hold that pose one more breath" or applauding the completion of a difficult posture or vinyasa series.
It got me to thinking about how I approach my Yoga practice. My Sunday class is an hour and forty-five minutes long. So much like a marathon it is about pacing yourself. If you start out too strongly at the beginning of class you won't have the strength for the more vigorous series and difficult postures. You have to know yourself and the course so you don't hit the wall before mile 20. Focusing and riding the breath are true for both the Marathon and yoga. When you mentally hit those moments of doubt, fear, pain or fatigue tuning into your breath can get you over the edge and moving forward. It's about visualizing yourself crossing that finish line or getting into that difficult pose that you have been struggling with.
While I didn't complete 26.2 miles of Chicago pavement on Sunday 10.10.10. I did complete 105 minutes of vigorous yoga. I breathed, challenged, and cheered myself through the longer vinyasas and more difficult postures. And by the time I reached the finish line of Savasana I felt completely blissed out and proud of my accomplishment. The Marathon of Yoga complete.