Tuesday, December 1, 2009


The off season always brings triathletes to yoga. We believe we need to fins something to shut off the mind, give us something to relax, stretch a bit and unwind. If that's what you need....

You will not like my yoga class.

If what you are looking for is something to turn off your brain, not sit still, sweat more than you ever have in your entire life, develop your core strength more effectively than a TRX will, move for 75 minutes, be challenged in ways you never thoughts possible while listening to Eel, Jack Johnson, Michael Franti, Green Day, Krishna Das and sometimes I even threaten Michael Jackson......

Then you might be a good candidate for Power Vinyasa Yoga.

There are a million different styles of yoga. If you like to be still there is a style for that. If you like rigidity, there is a style for that. Baptiste Power Vinyasa is what I call the freestyle yoga. Your poses and mine.... they will look different. We've got different bodies. It's open to interpretation, it's open to really jacking up the intensity and at the same time bringing it waaay down. It's what you need. It's not keeping up with an instructor..... in fact as an instructor......

I don't do the class with you. I roam around the room and lead you through it verbally.

WTF? I don't show you the moves?

No. That's what our basics class is for. Besides...... what I do or don't do on my mat has zero to do with you. I am probably your most inflexible yoga teacher, but what does that matter? Don't come to your mat looking to copy my routine, look to develop your own.

There aren't even mirrors in our studio.

WTF? How the hell will I know if I am doing the poses right?

You feel it. Do you look in the mirror every single time you swim bike and run? No. You feel. That's exactly what you learn to do on your mat. As I roam the room I even make sure you are in the right place.

In our studio you don't turn off the brain by sitting still and sitting quiet. You turn off the brain by moving and sweating and breathing and listening to music. By doing that you disconnect, you get into the space of your body and out of that dangerous space between your ears.

Even if just for a little while.

I love to read what triathletes write about yoga, especially during this time of the year. Here are some of my favorites:

1. I watched the teacher bend into a pretzel, so intimidating!

It shouldn't mater what your teacher does. Leave the competition outside kiddo.

2. Yoga teachers are holier than thou.... or think they are.

Actually....... if someone can elicit that response within you..... then likely that teacher strikes something inside of yourself that you aren't comfortable with. To that I say..... get over yourself.

3. I don't get the poses

Take a basics class. Learn them. You learned your bike didn't you?

4. I don't like to sit still and meditate

Whew. Me neither. Come to my class then. You will beg me to let you sit still. I should mention you will sweat your ass off so not only should you bring towel, but a change of clothes for a ride home and another for during class.

5. I don't like yoga music.

Again Whew. Me neither. Come to my class then. We will get along well.

Remember........ when we are open in our minds then there are opportunities. You know the feeling of riding your bike, where it is just you and the road, no thoughts pass between your ears, you are moving on feeling, riding the high, feeling so damn connected?

That happens every single time I step onto that mat. It's through moving that people like us attain that feeling of connection. Not through sitting still. It's our personality type. That's all.

Just like in swimming, biking and running, yoga takes some time. Give it 5 classes. Trust me, something will happen. Use this off season time to give it a shot. As it comes time to delve back into the season you will know what you need to know to develop your own routine.

At Breathe we've got another Yoga and Nutrition For Athletes coming up, three consecutive Tuesday's in January. Stop by our site for more details.

Also, here is a great site for those who prefer to practice at home. In a few weeks we will post the video for the 20 minute routine that I have developed for athletes. The one missing component is, you need a good dose of 90 degree heat. Grab the space heater. Turn off the phone. Put on some music. Turn off your head.

I am okay with it if you "just can't get into yoga." That's too darn bad I will think..... because it's been such a literal lifesaver, helped me cope with so many things........ but i encourage you to give it a try.

Jump off the mental hamster wheel. Get ready for heat, and get ready to work hard.


Damie said...

I love yoga- I think I should go tomorrow...it sounds just like what I need!

Andrea said...

Hi Mary,

I was wondering how many times a week you recommend that a triathlete practice yoga (both in-season and off-season). I just started myself (I am currently injured and though it would be a good idea to try it) and am enjoying it so far but was wondering how often I should aim to do it in order to get the most benefits.

Mary Eggers said...

Hi Andrea! Great question! In the off season I'd reccommend 2-3 times a week, and in the on season I'd reccommend 1-2 times a week for a class / session that lasts 60-90 minutes. If you do a shorter practice of about 30 min, I'd reccommend the same!