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One activity that I love just as much as yoga is running.  This “love” has not always been in my life though.  As an adolescent, I was an athlete, but I did not enjoy “exercise” exactly.  I liked practices; I liked competition; I liked the social aspect of sports; and, I liked being active and healthy.  But,  to just step on a treadmill or hit the trail seemed like torture to me.  In fact, we had to do land training at the beginning of a competitive swim season in high school, and I can remember literally needing to vomit after the first run.  I hated it.

As I got older, I realized that without organized sports I would have to “exercise” to keep in shape.  I tried a variety of aerobics classes and trainers, but nothing seemed easier and faster than running.  So, my running experience started by getting out there and running as fast as I could just to burn as many calories as I could in the shortest amount of time.  The whole time telling myself how much I hated it.

As I “grew up”, my priorities changed, my perception of the world changed, and my ideas about my body and my health also changed.  I realized my mental health was as important as my physical health, and my physical health had more to do with a healthy body image than being my size 2 jeans.  Just a side note – kids probably had much to do with this since they forced the size 2 jeans out the window!

I had started yoga about 10 years ago, but it was not until the last few years that my yoga practice moved out of the competitive arena.  Yes, I said competitive.  It sounds counter-intuitive that yoga could be competitive, but, it can be for many people.  Not only do many people start out comparing themselves to other more advanced yogis, but they (me included) continuously are in comparison with what they think they “ought to be”.  It was not until I embarked on a deeper yoga practice with my teacher training that I was able to find the beautiful, non-competitive, self-expressive form of yoga I practice today.

As my yoga became less competitive, my negative thoughts towards my body and practice seemed to disappear, and in the end my total attitude towards life began to change.  I realized that I was more than enough in all circumstances.  There was no need to be anything else or do any more.  I realized that I was going to get to where I was going when I was supposed to get there, no matter how hard I pushed or tried make it happen.  I realized being “here now” was so much better than living in the past or the future.  I also took great satisfaction when I tried something new in yoga.  Yoga made it easy for me to be proud of new accomplishments, but willing to let go self-defeating statements to myself if I was not able to do every single pose in a particular class.  It was the “path without a goal” that yoga taught me.

So, it was with these realizations that I embarked into the world of running again.  With the push of a few friends wanting to do a race, I started training and to my surprise this time it was not like running my head into a wall.  I slowed down.  I listened to my body and did what I could on that particular day.  I enjoyed being outside in nature with my thoughts.  Before I knew it, I was running 6 miles at a time and by the end of that year I completed my first half marathon. 

Now, I am not saying that starting a running program is always this easy for everyone.  But, I do believe that embarking on any new exercise program, activity, or adventure takes a yogi’s mind.  Ever present; non-competitive, but ready to shine in accomplishment; willing to always give it shot, but even more willing to let go. 

Now whether I am doing yoga or running or just maneuvering life’s path, I just put one foot in front of the other a enjoy the scenery.  There is a famous quote that says, “Yoga doesn’t make life easier, but, with yoga, you get easier with life.”  And, I think that is what yoga did for my running.  Yoga made me easier with running.

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If you are interested in running and/or yoga, I am starting a Yoga and Running Group in Concord, NC on May 3rd.  It will be Tuesday evenings at 7:30 pm for 5 weeks.  Check out www.balancewellnesscenter.com for more information and to sign up.

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So I am so sad to say that it has been over a month since I last posted.  I created this blog, among other reasons, as a means of self-expression.  What does it say that I haven’t posted?  Hmmm…

Probably nothing more than the fact that I am a busy mom of two who is just trying to keep it all together.  But, it could also say something about my personal practice. 

What makes a personal, home yoga practice?  Dedication and determination for one.  It takes inner strength and will to get up each day, roll out your mat (literally and metaphorically), and practice yoga.  It also takes the discipline of putting your needs ahead of other things.  There are always responsibilities – jobs, family, friends, events…  But, somewhere, in the midst of all that, we have to find a place for time to spent with our own being.  We have to save time to nurture the one person that is always there, the one soul that when expressed makes a mark on the world, the friend that will always laugh at your joke.

So this is where my “non-posting” reflects on my yoga practice.  I haven’t taken time for myself lately.  I haven’t nurtured my creative side.  I think many times we see taking time out for ourselves as being selfish.  But, in realty it enhances our dharma – our true path.  To really walk our true path, we have to nurture all the things that make us unique – those God-given abilities.  When we live up to our true potential, we are then giving fully to those around us in the world.  Who can say that is selfish?

So, I can say that while I have been busting a move on the yoga mat quite a few times a week, I have not been “practicing”.  I have not been living that 8 limb path of yoga all the time.  But, this is the first step…creative expression and intent to move towards my true potential.  And that feels good.

May all beings be filled with loving kindness.

May all beings be well.

May all beings be peaceful and at ease.

May all beings be happy and free from suffering.

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Upcoming Events

Current Class Schedule
Wilmington, NC

Tuesday
10:30 AM Vinyasa at Gold's Gym-Porter's Neck

Wednesday
8:15 AM Run to Yoga at Wilmington Athletic Club

6 PM Yoga for Athletes at Wilmington Performance Lab

Thursday
6:45 PM Vinyasa at Gold's Gym-Racine

Get details under Workshop and Class Descriptions

WEEKEND WORKSHOP -
INVERSIONS: TURN YOUR WORLD UPSIDE DOWN
MARCH 9TH
WILMINGTON PERFORMANCE LAB

MARCH 16TH - MINT HILL YOGA
VINYASA FLOW 9 AM - 11 AM
YOGA FOR ATHLETES 1 PM - 3 PM

MARCH 17TH - MINT HILL YOGA
THE ART OF ASSISTS AND ADJUSTMENTS
A TEACHER TRAINING
9 AM - 3 PM

APRIL 7TH - MAY 12TH
A 5K THE OM WAY:
YOGA AND RUNNING WORKSHOPS
SUNDAYS FROM 3:45 - 5 PM
GOLD'S GYM RACINE
WILMINGTON, NC

Jessica Hagler King

"Ideal teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross, then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create bridges of their own." -- Nikos Kazantzakis
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt