Wedding Week Guest Posts: Kali

July 17, 2012

While I’m [STILL] out enjoying spending time with my family (both new and old) during our wedding extravaganza, my wonderful blog friends have offered up their love and are helping me keep the blog alive! Today, Kali from Finishing Firsts offers some lessons that she’s learned on her yoga mat that she’s been able to take off the mat and into the world! I’m so happy yoga has brought these things to your life, Kali!


Lessons Off The Mat

Hey there Peace, Love and Bagels readers! I’m Kali and I blog (sometimes) over at Finishing Firsts. I’m super excited to be writing here for you today as Becca gets married and all that fun stuff I’m an ultra marathoner and part-time yogi and most recently completed my first 50-mile trail race in June.

Before my first 50 mile ultra!

I registered for the race in January on New Years Day and injured my knee two weeks later. Obviously, I made it through the injury and finished the race, but for the first month in between getting healthy and starting training, I turned to yoga to get a workout in as well as strengthening my legs and core.

Unlike some of my previous experiences with yoga, where I just kind of went through the motions and never really felt anything, starting a more serious practice really had a positive effect on every aspect of my life, from fitness to my relationship to work to running.

So I wanted to share a few lessons I learned on the mat that I’ve had great success in applying off the mat.

Be present. Being present is something I have to remind myself of all of the time! It was one of the first things I learned when I got serious about my yoga practice. It was so hard at first to learn to just be in the moment and concentrate on what I’m doing at that exact moment. But doing so and making that the intention of every one of my practices totally elevated the experience for me. And bringing that idea to almost everything I do has helped me enjoy just about 100 percent of my training runs and races and have focus on other areas of my life.

Have a beginner’s mind. Think about when you begin a new hobby or a task. You want to learn and listen and soak up as much of the experience as you can. This lesson definitely came in handy this spring as I began a new job in a new place. I learned to listen as much as I could and learn as much as I could to be successful and keep growing every day.

I’m in the middle getting an assist during a lululemon event last September


Breathe. And smile! There are so many times when a pose gets hard. Or the race gets tough or you’re in a tough situation at work or at home. Especially in yoga (and running!), you can get to that point in a hard pose where you feel uncomfortable and just want to stop and rest in child’s pose. But going back to the breath can help you through those uncomfortable times. At one of the aid stations on the second loop of my first 50, the volunteers made a comment about how much I was smiling. It was a tough, uncomfortable point in the race for me, I had been running for 38+ miles at that point. But remembering to breathe kept me smiling and enjoying what I was doing (for the most part).

These are just a few of the many things I’ve learned on the mat this year, but there’s one more important thing: always keep your eyes, ears and most importantly, your heart open to all of the great things in this world around you.

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