I had an opportunity to be interviewed for a Healthwatch segment, which aired on the 6 pm news tonight. The topic was the relationship between stress and injuries.
Sometimes, new patients ask me if their injury is "in their head". Yes, and no. On one hand, pain is in our head, in that the perception of pain is a neurochemical process and is influenced by many factors, including a history (fear of) pain and cultural responses to pain. However, they present with signs of injury, including muscle shortness, joint stiffness and spasm. These problems can be traced back to poor posture, shallow breathing, or faulty movement patterns, in other words, mechanical stresses.
Stress and athletic injuries have been studied extensively in football players. It has been found that athletes who respond negatively to stress have higher rates of injuries, often from lack of attention and decreased coordination.
I do feel that it is also fair to consider that a challenging injury might be one way that our body communicates to us. It is our own responsibility to learn how to listen to our body. Is our body trying to tell us that stress, physical or emotional, is harming us? And when we are stressed out, are we ignoring cues that we are doing things that are causing us pain, such as slouching or overtraining?
The best link between the body and the mind is the breath. By doing activities that focus on the breath, for example, yoga, Pilates, or even going on a hike without our ipod or phone, we can learn to quiet the chatter of our mind and become more attune to what our body might be saying.
Shadow of the Giants is one of my favorite 50Ks. The RD, Baz Hawley, does a fantastic job, not only with his race support, but entertainment as well. He is a hoot!
Last year would have been my third Shadow, but I opted for the 20K option, as I was coming back from an injury. This year, slow but steady, with a strong finish in an unexpected rainshower. I think I finished in about 6:50. As Baz says, "it's magic!"
Big, fun trip to the southwest! My boyfriend Mark and I did a 40 mile, two-day adventure through Zion National Park. Fastpacking is relatively new to me...very light gear, no changes of clothes (none!), and moving more quickly than you would with a big, heavy pack. People we come across on the trail often ask "where is your stuff", because the packs are about daypack sized. The trip itself became more and more dramatic as we got closer to the main valley in Zion. Amazing!
The next day we drove to the south rim of the Grand Canyon in preparation for a double crossing of the canyon in one day. We got to the canyon, packed our gear, and got a few hours of sleep. We decided to start at midnight because it was so late in the season (and hot!). Good thing, because by the time we reached Phantom Ranch on the way back, it was 97 degrees!
Last weekend I finished the second 100 hours of yoga teacher training with Rusty Wells. It was an amazing and beautiful experience, not only to see my own growth and development, but also of my fellow yogis and yoginis.
The training was much more intensive than I had imagined, with TONS of homework (I felt like I was back in grad school!), deadlines and impromptu tests. But if it were easy, it wouldn't have meant as much as it did.
I am now qualified to register as a Yoga Alliance Bhakti Flow instructor, and look forward to developing my yoga teacher "voice."
Big, big thank you to Rusty and his staff for this amazing opportunity!
When I worked at Cal with the student athletes, one of the favorite parts of the week was "back class". Some of you (student athletes, former student athletes) might have memories of doing "Jane Fonda's", "Arnold's" and planks with me in the training room.
Great news! I have started teaching this class, blended with yoga, at Bridges Rock Gym, in El Cerrito, every Tuesday at 6 pm. Drop in yoga rate is only $10, what a steal for some serious hard work and good fun.