Along with the colors, tastes, fashion and flavors of the fall season – comes the burden (and excitement) of parsing through endless lists of seasonal races in the DC metropolitan area. What to choose? Vienna Pumpkin Run or Parks Run? Veterans Run or Parks Half Marathon? Marine Corps? Run Geek Run? (This is actually the name of the run.)
In anticipation of the various races this fall season (not to mention the free shirts to add to my collection), I opened DC’s running schedule and started to plan…
About five minutes into some browsing and (overly) ambitious planning, I realized that I probably wasn’t ready for what I was (and am) planning on signing up for. A friend, former Lululemon employee and recent transplant to the area brought to my attention a pretty cool opportunity aimed at helping people train for upcoming races and supporting a community of runners…
Every Monday night at 6:30 pm, Lululemon in Logan Circle hosts a running club, where you can opt in for either a 3 mile or 7 mile run (the latter more focused on speed, sounds like something for more experienced runners.) All runs are led by members of the Washington Running Club, and each run is followed by group stretching, a running Q+A, and various topical discussions as it relates to running and fitness. Let me recap: free + local + fitness-oriented + professionally led?
Disclaimer: I have yet to attend one of the Monday running groups, but am planning on beginning across the next couple of weeks. A full follow-up debrief soon after my first go.
Kick start your fall season off right! What races — local or otherwise — are you planning on running? Have you gone to Lululemon’s running clubs? What do you think?
If you starting reading this article in the hopes that it might address something related to yoga — and have made it this far — congratulations, your efforts do not come unrewarded:
- Lululemon hosts other complimentary yoga sessions? Free, did I mention – free!
- Check out yoga: Wednesdays at 6:30 in DuPont Circle / Sundays at 3:45 pm at Stroga in Adams Morgan.
This is the first post of Jana Petersen’s column on health and wellness. She will be drawing from topical articles, trends and deals to post about various activities and ways to keep healthy in the Borderstan area. You can email her at [email protected]
From Jana Petersen
Yoga mats and coffee cups have historically begged the question: is yoga the latest manifestation of “bobo” culture, or do people invest for the purported benefits? For a while, I had been pretty convinced of the former – and had even questioned whether people carrying yoga mats were actually going to yoga, or whether they were using the mats to roll (pun intended) with the trend.
While I can’t speak for everyone carrying around a yoga mat, I can confidently say that the benefits from Bikram yoga are worth the time, money and 95+ degree heated studio.
Bikram yoga (and yoga overall) had been on the peripheral extracurricular track for me; it was a welcomed break from running, but had never warranted the investment in a monthly membership (#iwishiwerepaidmore), Lululemon merchandise or the use of yoga pants for anything outside of post-binge Thanksgiving day. After some convincing from friends and boss (more to come on that one), I purchased a 10-week trial pass at Bikram Dupont. I could stand a break from running and could probably benefit from the stretches.
The 95+ degree studio didn’t feel like a big deal — until the morning of my first class. Between compulsive trips to refill my Nalgene and preemptive self-mockery, I had covered all of the worst-case scenarios (or so I thought) in my head: Fainting, losing my balance, uncontrollably sweating…
What I had not prepared myself for was the sight of my boss — the same man who had purported the benefits of Bikram yoga was now sitting on a mat in front of me, shirtless and in biker shorts. I was mortified and I could see he was eating his words; the months of “You have to try to Bikram!” had backfired, big time. I (and he) had (wrongly) assumed there would be more than one Bikram studio in Dupont.
All of this said, I’m now months into the “standing tree pose” and the benefits continue to outweigh any initial insecurities, hesitancy and humiliation. Although it’s hard to quantify and articulate exactly the benefits of Bikram — so much is dependent on how hard you push yourself and your body type — there are a few pronounced medical benefits (see below).
What is Bikram Yoga?
Bikram is the practice of 26 postures and two breathing exercises performed in a heated environment, named after Bikram Choudhury (who knew!). The heated environment helps to loosen muscles, eliminate toxins and improve circulation; the flow of postures within Bikram is aimed to systematically work every part of the body (veins, internal organs, ligaments and muscles).
Benefits of Bikram Yoga
- Yoga — especially Bikram yoga — loosens the muscles, releasing lactic acid that builds up with muscle use and can cause stiffness, tension, pain and fatigue.
- Yoga increases the range of motion in joints, resulting in sense of ease and fluidity throughout the body.
- Yoga stretches the body’s soft tissues, including ligaments and tendons.
- Yoga can help posture; the series of poses requires lower-abdominal and core strength, which increases likelihood of “sitting and standing tall.”
- Yoga de-stresses; deep breathing exercises help calm the mind and focus on the “here and now.”
Bikram and Other Types of Yoga
Bikram is the only practice of “hot yoga.” There are a slew of other kinds – but the most popular are Hatha (often called the foundation of other yoga styles, focused on posture, breathing and meditation) and Vinyasa (more focused on strength, power and tone.)
Where to Practice Bikram?
- Bikram Yoga Dupont (Connecticut Avenue and R street)
- Hours vary; see schedule here
Borderstanis, where are your favorite Bikram (and other) studios to practice?
From Jana Petersen
Theater in D.C. — what does it mean to you? An outing to the Kennedy Center or Shakespeare Theater, perhaps? Or maybe, tickets that often require months of advanced planning and a shock to your Mint.com account.
Looking for something different? Try the Keegan Theater: formerly a girls gymnasium, the Keegan is located on Church Street NW between 17th and 18th streets, nestled among private residences and a quaint church.
The theater space itself seats a little more than 100 guests — small in comparison to venues such as the Kennedy Center, but the perfect size to host musicals such as The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Aside from the impressive acting of those officially cast, what made the musical so great was the way the space facilitated informal audience participation and engagement.