Two of my favorite ways to exercise or relieve stress are yoga and running. Yes, they may seem like polar opposites but both forms of exercise provide incredible mental fortitude and physical release. Some people claim that they hate running. And as a child, I never loved it either. Usually, it felt like punishment - especially in the hot, humid Houston weather. If our coach was upset with us, she would make us run a mile or two! So I didn't enjoy it because it had a negative connotation! It wasn't until college and law school that truly I fell in love with running. It was a great way to stay in shape and clear my head and get some fresh air.
My father learned and practiced yoga growing up in India. It was his way to start they day - yoga and prayer. Unfortunately, I didn't pick up on his good habits early in life. I was introduced to yoga in law school and I was shocked to learn how poor my balance was even though I was in great shape. Two of my best friends and I decided to run the Dallas White Rock Lake Mararthon during law school! It was so much fun training together but we were worried about getting injured. So we took yoga classes to prevent injury (our instructor was a speed runner), and I really enjoyed improving my balance, core strength and agility. I was surprised at how hard some of the poses were and how much concentration was involved. Yoga was a great way to literally still my mind and learn to focus. And it still is a great way to meditate. I've always struggled with poor posture and I carry my tension in my neck and shoulders. So yoga is a great way for me to continue to improve my posture, loosen my neck and strengthen my spine!
Although yoga and running are my passions, I don't expect my kids or husband to love the same forms of exercise that I do. I do believe that if we introduce our children to something we enjoy then it's a great way to bond with them. Usually, I hear stories of people make pancakes or cookies with their kids. Which is great and fun! But there are many other ACTIVE ways to interact with our kids and family. Playing soccer, baseball, biking, running, swimming or yoga are better avenues to create great memories for you and them!
Teaching them to steady their mind, improve their focus or clear their head through sport, dance, music or yoga is much more beneficial for them. They will learn to cope with stress better, be happier and not pick up bad habits like smoking, drinking or overeating to calm their nerves.
Here are some excellent websites on yoga and running: