On mile 6 and a half of 8 last Saturday my knee started to hurt. At first it was just a little ping, then it grew into an ache that struck every time I lifted my leg. Then it got sharper and my gait got awkward and my hips started to hurt. I decided it was just the cold weather and ran through the last mile and a half with a limp and a little too much optimism.
The rest of the day it was incredibly stiff. I used the cart as a walker around Whole Foods to take the pressure off. I tried to lift the baby from my back and not my knees (bad idea). I couldn’t point to what I did. Was it Barre the night before? Picking up the baby over and over and over (she’s HEAVY)? Or when I almost fell down the stairs at work?
Sunday morning it felt remarkably better, or maybe I was projecting that it was fine (that darn cold weather), so I did an easy 45 minute ride–two episodes of Parks and Rec–on my spin bike and a lot of stretching. But by the end of the day it was back to painful. And I had to accept that I might have injured my knee.
My schedule, and life in general these days, is very precarious and the thought of not running is more painful than running in pain. But I’ve been doing this a long time and I know it’s best to listen to your body when it’s telling you to stop. I themed this week the three R’s. Restoration, Rejuvenation and Relaxation, and regardless of whether my knee is actually injured or it really was just the cold (still holding out for that), I think my sanity is screaming for a little Rest. (Ok, 4 R’s).
My workouts this week have been centered around getting back into yoga, relaxation and letting go of the need to workout like a maniac all the time. The first yoga class I ever took was in college, a Friday elective at 6 am, and I missed enough classes that I had to go into town for a make-up session. My official first, non-college yoga class was Bikram.
Bikram is the original hot yoga. If you haven’t taken a class, it’s exactly 26 separate poses held for a set amount of time under aggressive lighting in 100 degree heat. (At least that’s been my consistent experience in Massachusetts, San Diego and Charleston). That first Bikram class was nothing short of Bikram boot camp. The teacher stood over me shouting that I had to go deeper. I didn’t know where deeper was but they had strawberries after class, I lost about 5 pounds of water weight and I felt incredible (prior to being incredibly sore). I was hooked.
A few years later I found out there weren’t just two types of yoga, Bikram and Boring, but Hatha, Ashtanga, Power Yoga and Vinyasa. Vinyasa is much more aligned with how I like to workout. It’s often held in a hot studio (Core Power is probably the most known studio that offers Vinyasa) and focuses on building heat, strength and cardio through breathing and continuous movement. I rarely did cross training before yoga, but once I added it into my workout schedule, I saw an immense improvement in my running, especially my stamina, breathing and form.
I’ve been a member of two yoga studios, Core Power and Sol Yoga (which is basically boutique Core Power), but it’s been a couple years since I’ve been consistent with going. Hot yoga while pregnant isn’t allowed, and after an incredibly annoying experience getting shamed by a teacher during prenatal yoga, I fell out of the studio mentality and started doing yoga at home. Bye Felicia.
This video on Amazon Prime is made by Core Power and Gaiam, and, although the people in the video are excruciatingly awkward, it’s a great workout and is different from the other at-home yoga workouts I’ve tried. It really balances cardio, strength and stretching, and I feel like I just attended a traditional Core Power class without having to be around sweat dripping yogis. The first section, Ready to Sweat, is the typical first 20 minutes of any hot, Vinyasa flow with sun salutations and warrior poses. The second 20 minute series is Strong Body, Strong Mind, which focuses on restorative, strengthening, and opening poses like eagle and cobra. The final part is a hand weights section called Yoga Sculpt, which incorporates abs and arms into traditional poses.
As much as I love my at home option, you can only do the same class so many times. In keeping with my theme, my coworker/running buddy and I went to a studio in Mt. Pleasant instead of running at lunch. I’ve forgotten how effective it is when you have a teacher to correct your form and other students to follow (unless you follow the wrong student and you both end up facing the wrong wall on the wrong leg).
Satsang Yoga Studio is tucked away in the same shopping center as my Friday Barre class (which I’m just now realizing, can I go with a bum knee??). My husband and I always joked about the name Satsang, it sounds funny, but I had never tried it until last week. The yoga style is very different from what I’m used it, there’s much more of a mind focus than a body focus. The teacher began by reading about ten minutes of quotes, which, having a very limited amount of time, just made me anxious to start the poses. Then we did some chanting and singing which still wasn’t resonating with me. But, once we finally got to the yoga part of yoga, the flow was exactly what I needed this week. We did a lot of tension easing twists and strong warrior poses. And despite having to leave the class early to get back to work, I felt incredibly more relaxed the last four hours.
Sometimes I forget that I don’t need to go, go, go and push all the time. I have a mindset that I need to power from one thing to the next and I think it’s because I know that if I stop, I’ll just crash. It’s been literally months of this, since the baby was born, and the cold weather affecting my knee might be a good thing to force myself to relax and go more with the flow (literally).
PS- I love the new workout shirt I’m wearing. I got it at Gap on super, super sale this weekend. The loose cut is great for easy workouts and I love the colors woven into the gray. It’s a great “studio street” style–because that’s popular now.
And if you’re thinking about trying yoga or want to switch up your routine, check out this website for local yoga listings.
Hope you’re having a relaxing week!