I was sitting in the back of the car looking out at the fall afternoon in Prince George as we drove. I wanted to open the door and run. My Mom, my best friend, was dying of cancer. She was in the last hours of her life at the hospice in Prince George, and we had just come from seeing her.
I am not sure if I wanted to run away or run to something, no matter though, I started running. I ran and I ran. I started with the Terry Fox run for cancer. Since I had not run one step in my life I thought I might give up my running career after that, but no. The urge continued. I ran 3 half marathons and a full marathon in the 5 years that followed that grey day in PG.
A funny thing happened a week after my new running career began, a good friend and mentor told me she had started taking yoga classes and how much they had done for her fitness level. So off I went to my first yoga class.
That was the seed that sprouted in my heart. I went home and I practised every day until the next class came. That was 20 years ago now.
I believe the only reason I could run as much as I did run was because of my new found yoga practise. When we got into training for the marathon we ran 3 or 4 short runs of 45 minutes to an hour, and then we did the long run together as a group on Sundays. Those runs ranged anywhere from 2 to 4 hours depending upon what point we were in our training. I thank the beautiful group that supported me through that process, and my yoga practise. I had a routine of practising yoga in the non run days and no practise on the running days. I did not stretch before and after runs, maybe that is breaking a cardinal rule but I felt my body did not need it, something else yoga taught me; to listen.
The running supported the process of grieving for the loss of my dearest best friend, and the yoga supported my running.
I still practise yoga, but I have given up running. The yoga practise that I started with the intention of helping me physically, has blossomed into a spiritual practise that allows me to stay and embrace life.