Monday, October 20, 2014

What Yogis Could Learn from Runners


What Yogis Could Learn from Runners 

I am both a yogi and a runner.

In fact, I have been running since 8th grade (which works out to about 36 years). I have run cross-country, track, triathlons, marathons, half marathons, 5ks, and the famous Boiler Maker in Utica, NY. I have run in cities all over the United States, in the winter, summer, fall, and spring. I am a life-long runner.

My yoga practice began in a more serious manner in 2001 and is much younger than my running. When I started doing yoga, I learned about non-judgment. I also saw non-judgment practiced and modeled among my teachers, by the yogis that I met in my travels to trainings, and in the studios I attended.

Lately, something has shifted in yoga. Online, in conversations, on blogs, all over--there seems to be a growing need to judge other yogis.

I truly love that there are variations of yoga and my yogi friends across a variety of practices. I have done Hatha, Vinyasa, Bikram, Power Yoga, Ashtanga, Acro, TIMBo, and many more types of yoga. I have taken classes with Ana Forrest, Baron Baptiste, Seane Corn, and studied at the Himalayan Institute and Kripalu. Each variation has its own beauty, wisdom, and focus. I have experienced this as openness. The more ways I learn to practice- well, it is like learning more ways to love.

I wish we could let the judgment go. I am not sure how it serves us.

All these decades that I have been running, fellow runners ask about your running history and your goals. You might say, “I am training for a full triathlon” or “I do 5ks” or “I do half marathons” or “I jog with friends and do walk/run a lot” or something else like that. Nearly universally, the other runners honor the efforts of their sister or brother runner. We are glad you get out there, take care of your body, and share the love of the run.

As I was running this morning, I was reflecting on how as a yogi I am always telling runners how much they could learn from yoga, how yoga can help them, and all that. It was then that I thought about this judgment-thing that has manifest among some yogis. I realized that perhaps we, the yogis, could learn something from runners. 

Like runners, we could honor our fellow yogis for their spiritual journey; however like or not like ours it is, no matter how many limbs are integrated, and how Western or Eastern, or reflective or active. 

Like runners, we could just honor the practice, the importance of the individual, self-directed journey, and be in non-judgment.

So, here it goes. This is a shout out to my running friends and to my fellow yogis- all types of runners and all kinds of yogis:

I love you and I honor your practice.

Runners, I know what it takes to lace up the running shoes and get your feet on the road.

Yogis, I know what it takes to get your body on your mat.

I honor your effort.

I honor your self-love.

From a place of openhearted acceptance and non-judgment, I say- however you shine- keep shining!

See you on the roads, trails, or yoga mat soon. I look forward to sharing a knowing nod, a smile, and a sense of camaraderie as we honor each other for our efforts to be on our journey. 

Catherine Cook-Cottone
The Yoga Bag


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