Keep It Simple

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

~ Confucius

Why do we insist on making something as simple as running complicated?  As I look to my own experiences to  try to understand this, I find it to be especially true when it comes to running.  Running is and should be very simple.  Short of walking, running is the next simplest thing we do as mobile creatures (ok, maybe breathing is up there too).  Anyone who has laced up his or her sneakers on a quest for a run in the name of “healthy living” has found themselves making this simple act much more difficult.

But let’s face it, you first have to log onto the internet and research all of the specialized items you need to be a successful runner, thereby complicating things in true human fashion. And sadly, you haven’t even taken your first step out of the front door. Instead you find yourself in search of the specialized running shoes (professionally fit to meet the needs of your tender feet) as well as the performance enhancing running shorts, sweat resistant running shirts, custom fit sports bras, personalized music playlists, well researched GPS apps, Fit Bits…the list goes on and on and again we haven’t even made it out of the house yet!  Why do we make this simple act so difficult?

I don’t have the answer to why we make it so difficult, we just do!  Confucius knew that we as a human race make things more difficult than we need to all the back in 479 BC! We haven’t changed and it is seemingly doubtful that we ever will.

In my current quest to find simplicity in running and healthy living, I have stumbled across a simple community yoga class.  I’ve taken a few yoga classes here and there but have never truly bought into the Namaste principle.  I like to stretch.  Stretching feels good.  Breathe and take your mind off of life for an hour.  Sign. Me. Up!  I say it is simple, but what I mean by this is that the teacher (my good friend Susan) teaches us that there are variations to every pose we practice.  It is up to us to make the adjustments we need to make the pose work for our bodies and levels of (non)expertise.  Simply find how your body best responds to the pose she is teaching.

As with many things, I discovered that yoga has a very simple connection to running.  That connection is breathing or more specifically the Ujjayi breath.  According to the yoga law, this kind of breathing is done as a balancing and calming breath which regulates blood pressure and brings increased oxygen to the lungs.  As you practice this level of breathing you begin to give yourself more oxygen and through more oxygen comes more energy.  As it goes, more energy equals longer more productive runs.

After just two classes of yoga, I am sold on the benefits that it brings to my quest for running stamina.  Simply stated, practicing yoga will help me be a better runner.  Also, practicing yoga will remind me not to complicate life with undue stress and outside influences.  Lace sneakers, Ujjayi breathing, Run. Namaste.

How do you keep your exercise routine simple?  Please share your experiences and tips in the comments section below.

Many of the cocktail recipes I share require a bit of simple syrup.  I would like to share the simplest recipe for simple syrup you can make to enjoy your cocktails.  Much like recent research that shows we should have stuck to real butter rather than the synthetic forms of margarine, you too should make this simple, simple syrup instead of opting for those phony “skinny” fake sugar substitutes.  Enjoy and Namaste!

Shelley’s Simple Syrup

Equal parts white granulated sugar to the hottest tap water you can get out of the faucet.  Mix. Voila!  Doesn’t get any more simple than that!

Also, I like to mix simple syrup in a “squirt bottle” for when I have a lot of drinks to make for family and friends.  If at the end of the night, you have any left over, simply put it into the refrigerator for morning cocktails!  Enjoy!

Of course I couldn’t end on a simple note because in true “make it more complicated” human fashion, try adding a bit of citrus zest to your simple syrup to enhance vodka based cocktails or mint for rum and bourbon based cocktails!

A staple in many great mixed drinks!
What you need for a simple, simple syrup!
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2 thoughts on “Keep It Simple

  1. Shelley,
    Your 100% right about yoga. I start taking yoga a little over a year ago and between the teaching about breathing, the strengthening poses and the deep stretching techniques it’s helped me get back into the running game. Looking to do my first 5k in a couple of weeks. Is there a way I can post a picture of me finishing the race on your site? Because if there’s know one there to see me finish the race…did I really finish?
    John in Albaqurque.

    1. John – I would love to share a photo of you crossing the finish line after your first 5K! Because you know what they say…if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see it…did it really fall!? Be sure to take that picture at the finish and I will post it!

      Good luck and thanks for following runningforvodka.com!

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