RUNNING MANTRAS: BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND
by Isabel Allen, Yoga Instructor
Are you ready for this one? Running and yoga are one in the same. Sure, physically they are opposites side of the spectrum. But let’s reach beyond the skin here and talk about the mental benefits of a consistent practice in running or in yoga.
Let’s be honest. The mind is a raging beast. We can either choose to control it and focus on the task at hand or we can give into its ability to tear us away from the present moment and throw us into a spiral of thoughts unrelated and untrue.
When running, focus is imperative. Without focus, we risk tripping, falling, and possibly injury. Furthermore, ceasing to zero in on the present moment creates diminishing returns on the run itself. We loose our ability to activate mind-muscle connection. Our breath deviates from its natural rhythm. The mind begins to tell stories of doubt and lack of self-belief.
Worse yet, it’s super easy to lose focus. Many of us go on runs to clear the mind but end up rehashing moments that have already happened: a lackluster work presentation; an awkward conversation with that cute guy at the coffee shop; or that unnecessary argument with your spouse as you left the house this morning. And even though most of us wait all day for our run, we spend the entire time planning what’s next. How am I going to shower, eat a snack, call my sister, check in on my best friend’s break up, and still get to the movie on time? Stress creeps in and our run is no longer the release we so need it to be.
When our attention and energy are divided, we no longer receive all of the mental benefits of exercise. That state of calm we are all constantly looking to achieve is lost.
There is good news! I’ve got your back. This is where the yoga comes in. One of my favorite techniques for creating singular focus in any situation is to pick a mantra. I can hear you already, “Wait, wait, wait, what the hell is a mantra?” I promise, it sounds more foreign that it is.
A mantra is a word or phrase that is repeated often to expresses someone’s beliefs. It is one of the important methods you can use to shift your focus and steadying it on a constant positive reinforcement. We all know the feeling when our minds try to trick us into thinking we are too tired to keep going, too bored to actually enjoy what we are doing, or too guilty, because our time should be spent doing something more productive. A mantra turns that voice down (hopefully off) and dials the positive vibes up to 11.
Choose a mantra that works for you! Below is a short list of ideas to help inspire you. But remember when creating your mantra, it must speaks to you!
I am strong. I am fluid. I am fast. I am committed. I am growing.
Swift like a deer. Just keep swimming. I eat hills for breakfast.
Or maybe even a song lyric: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
Whatever you choose, set it on repeat. When you start to lose focus and your mind starts spiraling, take a breath in, a breath out, and begin again. Remind yourself of your mantra and keep on truckin’.
Isabel Allen is a rockstar instructor and an integral member of our Community Relations team at YoYoYogi.
Isabel believes in Power Vinyasa Yoga, because it pulls everything together. It forces you to be intensely present, work hard, and feel things. When things get hard, there is room for growth, expansion and opportunity. Individuals have the choice of how hard and how far to push themselves. That is where the true beauty lies. In yoga and in life, you get out of it exactly what you put into it. Isabel chooses to practice with a sense of joy and gratitude. In turn, this the fuel to the fire of her practice.
YoYoYogi is a locally-owned, family-run studio in the heart of the Pearl District. Since opening the doors in 2010, this studio has become Portland’s chosen place for mind-bendin’, body-stretchin’, peace-providin’ yoga. Just last year, YoYoYogi was recognized as one of the top 10 studios in the nation!
Yoga only for the bendy, skinny, pretzel variety? Ha! Not at YoYoYogi. This studio calls loudly for the young and old, thick and thin, big dudes and tiny Grandmas everywhere! It’s a place where all can gather to practice, play, learn, grow, laugh, and share.
At YoYoYogi, many of the best teachers in Portland come together under one beautiful, historic roof to bring you their unique and always awesome brand of yoga. Hot or Not. Power to Restorative. Beginner to Advanced. With 20 teachers, 50+ classes, wide variety of yoga, there is something for everyone!