So I’ll just come out and say it: I’ve started training for a 25k trail race. (For those of who don’t think metric, that’s 15.5 miles or so.) I wanted to use this space to share my weekly training with you, but I first wanted to start by sharing a bit about myself in terms of my athletic background, my inspiration, and my training plan
I ran competitively for 10 years, and when I stopped racing, I pretty much thought that I was going to be done forever. To say that I was a headcase would be an understatement. I’m generally a less anxiety-ridden person (extra emphasis on generally and less). I’ve also been able to put racing and training into perspective. When i get into something, I get really into it to the point of total consumption. For 10+ years I only ran. Then I decided that I was inflexible so I started yoga, though running was still the most important part of my day. Then I decided that I was weak, so I almost exclusively did some type of weight training for 4ish years. I would still periodically come back to running, because one thing that I couldn’t deny was that I loved the feeling. Over the last few years, I’ve done a mix of running, yoga, and weight training with the addition of hiking, but even then, I would be consumed by 1 of them for a few months. Temperance is not a strong suit of mine.
More recently, I have been so inspired by so many of my patients. I hear about their training; I’m a part of their training and recovery; I get invested in their training and racing. First, it got me to transition some of my hiking to some running, and I quickly fell in love with trail running. So gradually, I’ve been doing a bit more of it. Well really, I’m kind of a weekend warrior. I choose to work long hours during the week, which leads to the majority of my running/hiking to the weekends. Regardless, I’ve been really enjoying these past 2 or 3 months. I’ve been enjoying telling my patients about it, and they’re all quick to ask what race I’m training for. Well nothing really. But over the past 3-4 weeks, with each passing inquiry, route planning, run, and discussion of my run, I’ve been getting more and more excited about trail running. It’s all because of my patients. The people that I’m helping are helping me.
My training plan
So since I’ve been feeling more inspired, I’ve been thinking about transitioning my running into something with more structure. I started thinking about it being more like training. I think training implies that there’s a plan. I currently have no plan; my schedule looks like 2 massive mileage days on the weekends (about 23-27 miles over 2 days, hence the weekend warrior status), 2-3 days of yoga, walking to/from work, and inconsistently lifting weights.
So I decided to create some structure and simultaneously practice some temperance. I regularly help my patients to balance their endurance activities with mobility and strength work. I should really be no exception, so I want my training to be balanced between running, yoga, and weight training. So here is the general idea:
3 days a week of running/hiking
4 days a week of yoga
2 days a week of weight training.
I will detail my training each week. I realize that what I have planned is a general template, and that it will need to be adapted. I only wrote 4 weeks right now for that very reason. I will get a baseline in this first month. At the end of each week, I’ll be writing a post about my training including what I did, how it went, how I felt, and if anything needs to be adjusted. I hope you follow along, and I welcome any comments, suggestions, and questions!
Mindfulness has become a hot topic. In life, and in fitness, people are being told to be more mindful, or present, in each and every moment. But what is it? How do you achieve it? Mindfulness without specific directions is a meaningless word.
I recently attended the PrePose Method launch. This new system, developed by the brilliant minds of Dr. Chloe Costigan and veteran yoga teacher Carrie Morgan, directly addressed the absence of mindfulness in human movement. In their systematic approach to mindfulness, skillful movements are deconstructed down to their simplest biomechanical pieces, and then transitioned into PrePoses, or corrective exercises, before ultimately layering the pieces back into the full movement. Breaking down skillful movements into biomechanical pieces creates a common language to build more complicated movement from. The PrePoses use that language to bridge the gap between the biomechanical pieces, and more skillful movements. The inaugural PrePose class focused on bringing mindfulness to yoga poses, but it also showed how the method could be directly applied to any skillful movement. At Mobility-Doc we’re already using the PrePose method to teach weightlifters how to achieve a better overhead position with a barbell.
PrePose taught me that mindfulness can be achieved when you have a system that helps you to constantly check back in on the most important parts. That without a common language coaches and healthcare professionals run the risk of their cues getting lost in translation. True movement efficiency is subconscious. But before you can achieve that you must first be made consciously aware of the movement. You can’t be mindful without knowing what you should be mindful about.
What is PrePose yoga?
It a method based on biomechanics to improve your yoga practice. It was developed by Chloe Costigan, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and Carrie Morgan, a ERYT-500 yoga teacher with 12 years of teaching experience. The goal is to improve your understanding of the biomechanics to be applied to a variety of poses in your practice. It will help you to identify and address asymmetries or limitations in both flexibility and strength.
Why did we develop the PrePose method?
Your body does its best attempt at whatever it sees or hears, and you try to replicate that. But there was a gap between the instruction and the practitioner’s interpretation. We want to develop a common language for understanding movement. So then you can learn how to adapt any pose to fit your body instead of trying to fit your body into a pose.
How is this different than a typical yoga class?
So to be clear, we love that there are so many amazing studios and teachers in this area. We want you to continue with that. This is a supplement to your existing practice. It’s taking the gray out of the physical practice of yoga by applying physical therapy principles.
You will be in a guided yoga class that teaches you how to fit the poses to your body in a three step format: 1. biomechanical exercises, 2. The PrePoses, or modifications to poses, and 3. The poses. The biomechanics (step 1) teach you a common language of how to move each joint and activate each muscle. The PrePoses (step 2) bridge the biomechanics for the poses by applying the biomechanics to a modified pose. Step 3 puts all of the pieces together.
Who is this for?
Well. Everyone in a way.
It’s for beginners who want to ensure that they’re learning the proper technique.
It is for the experienced yogi who wants to gain a deeper understanding of the biomechanics of each pose and learn exactly what is going on with their joint and muscles from the vantage point of a physical therapist.
For those with a history of pain whether in yoga or a different activity, it will help to identify flexibility and strength limitations on a more specific level.
What will a class look like?
It will be based on a central theme. There will be an upper body and lower body section, each having the 3 step process of 1. Biomechanics, 2. PrePoses, and 3. Yoga poses.
There will be a demonstration to provide a clear visual of the biomechanics, PrePoses, and poses. That way you know exactly what you’re supposed to do. That will be followed by you doing those on your mat while receiving instruction.
Don't miss out on our yoga retreat in Grenada, Spain!
Only a handful of spaces are remaining for this summer.
I figured I wouldn’t beat around the bush. If you know me (Chloe), you know yoga is very near and dear to me.
I want to highlight a few reasons about why you should care about yoga.
And then I’ll also give you some more details about the yoga retreat I’m hosting with Carrie Morgan, ERYT-500 in Granada, Spain from June 10-17th!
So here goes. Why you should care about yoga:
1. It can help prevent injury. Regardless of what you do, when you move intelligently in your body you can prevent injury. It gives you the opportunity to assess your body: is the right side as stable as my left side? Is my decreased right trunk rotation impairing by ability to extend through my hip and use my glute? Then when you correct these areas, you'll be able to move better whether that's longer, faster, stronger.
2. It's a physical and mental act. It’s as simple and as complicated as this: if you are more mindful (you know that buzz word everyone is saying now) in the way you move, you can begin to see parallels across activities and different aspects of your life. Moving your body with intention allows you to move intelligently and with purpose. Oh and you may get that added benefit of getting out of your head going over your never ending to do list and upcoming plans etc.
3. It's comprehensive. It mixes flexibility/mobility and stability/strength. It utilizes your upper body and lower body. You use your body as the tool. You only need a mat and some comfortable clothes (and really the mat is optional and sometimes the clothing really isn’t so comfortable or practical and you promptly switch that). You can find so many ways to challenge your body with different types of yoga and poses.
4. It exists along a spectrum. In terms of physical fitness, you can read an article one day saying that one type of exercise is the best and the very next day (or same day, really) saying that it's terrible for you. How about if we just appreciate that exercise exists along a spectrum? If we are considering the physical aspect of yoga, we can say that you can practice yoga along a spectrum. Everyone has to start somewhere. It can be more challenging to less challenging. You can focus primarily on flexibility. You can focus on strength and muscular endurance. Or you can do both. It affords a lot of flexibility (see what I did there?)
The take home is that there is a place for your yoga practice in your already busy life. It can and will take on many shapes. And in a world of so many expectations and “should’s”, this is willing to meet you where you're at, regardless of your goal (or even the lack of goal).
You can explore these benefits on a yoga retreat with myself and Carrie Morgan in Granada, Spain from June 10-17th, 2018. I wanted to answer a few FAQs.
I’m sure you’ve asked yourself a few questions like:
Who is it for?
This retreat is designed for experienced and new yogis alike, because really, the thing we care about is movement. Anyone can benefit from moving better. Yoga is the platform we’re using to expose you to better movement and identifying your strengths and weakness regarding flexibility and strength.
What will from the yoga portion of the retreat?
You'll have 2 yoga-based classes per day. You'll start with a theme based flow designed by Carrie Morgan, who is one of the most experienced yoga watchers in the Lehigh Valley. This theme will be focused on a specific muscle or body region: think hamstrings, hip flexors, spine, shoulders. Then, Carrie and I will help you to learn more about your own abilities in terms of flexibility and strength. I will use my experience in treating yogis and practicing regularly to help you to identify areas to work on. We’ll help you to understand what is supposed to be going on in a pose. I will help you understand areas for improvement of your flexibility and strength. I’ll tell you what to do about it with very specific corrective exercises. You'll be able to discuss these areas with Carrie and myself.
What will my day look like?
Well for one, you'll wake up in beautiful Granada. You'll practice yoga; you’ll move, you’ll learn. Then, you'll explore. We planned 4 excursions for you that cover a variety of activity from visiting the Alhambra palace to flamenco dancing to city exploring to relaxing on a beach. You’ll have all 3 meals provided for you as well. They’re all locally sourced, seasonal meals that can accommodate to your specific dietary restrictions. You’ll be able to relax on the beautiful and scenic Lucia Yoga Retreat Center proper and enjoy your air-conditioned room accommodations. You'll find it's the perfect mix of activity, exploration, relaxation, learning, and, oh yeah, yoga!
So why choose this retreat?
For the experienced yogi: It's the perfect way to take your practice to another level. You have a physical therapist who regularly treats yogis and one of the most experienced yoga teachers in the Lehigh valley helping you to learn more about your practice and to move better. You can think of it as a yoga intensive mixed with a fabulous vacation. Oh and bring along your friend or spouse; you'll love exploring with them. They'll thank you
For the new yogi: This is your opportunity to take advantage of all of the benefits of yoga that I previously detailed above. You’ll see how it can enhance all of your movement, and you’ll find the mix of flexibility/mobility and strength/stability work that suites you best right now. You’ll be able to figure out how this can enhance your typical exercise and activity routine. You’ll have the opportunity to do this while taking time out from your busy life to give this the time it deserves.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Carrie or myself. Our emails are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Visit The Yoga Loft for more info!
The Mobility-Doc Blog
Drs. Chloe Costigan and John Giacalone are both physical medicine specialists, former competitive athletes, and strength and conditioning coaches.