RLY Elite Team Feature: Holly Z.

At Runners Love Yoga, we want more runners to do yoga, but we also want more yogis to find running! Holly, a longtime yogi, ran her first half marathon this fall. Holly is a member of our RLY Elite Team as well as the Communications Manager for Project Yoga Richmond, which aims to bring yoga to the entire Richmond, Virginia community through outreach programs and pay-what-you-can classes.

She is a University of Virginia alumna--and she took my short course on the Global Short Story back in 2013! Wahoowa! Holly is also a creative and talented potter--you can often spot her making new pieces on her Instagram @hollyzajur. So much of the fun of both running and yoga is the sense of community you get from both--we're excited to feature Holly here as the first of our "meet the running yogis"!

Name: Holly Zajur

IG handle: @hollyzajur

Hometown/Current City: Richmond, VA

Favorite hobbies or things to do besides yoga and running: Ceramics, writing, coloring, and climbing trees!

What got you hooked on yoga? Any pivotal moments or experiences in particular?

Stepping onto my mat for the first time made me feel like I was dipping my toes into something that I could become fully submerged in. I remember that at the end of my very first class I was so entranced that when I came out of savasana, I was siting up facing the back wall, instead of the instructor! I unrolled my yoga mat for the first time in high school and in that time of teenage angst, yoga allowed me to connect with my true self, while recognizing that we are all a part of something else. It continues to teach me to this day.

Holly in bakasana (crow pose), one of her go-to yoga poses.

Holly in bakasana (crow pose), one of her go-to yoga poses.

Do you have any go-to poses?

Bakasana always reminds me how to lift myself up and smile!

When and/or where do you like to practice yoga best?

I love an early morning practice. Just me, my mat, and the smell of coffee brewing. In that time, I am most able to show up for myself and slowly come alive.

A close second is in the sunshine under a tree after a run, those practices are always a little more playful and fun!

What is your favorite race distance and why? Alternatively: do you have a favorite race that you always do?

Honestly, I am pretty new to racing! I ran my first ever half marathon this fall, which I loved, but the running world is still pretty new to me!

Where is your favorite place to run and why?

My favorite place to run is Shelby Bottoms Park in East Nashville, TN because it was where I learned to love running. I moved to Nashville on a total whim, and towards the end, I knew it was time to go, but I did not know where or how to make my next move. I was feeling stuck, and all I could do was run. Running allowed me to take control and to explore, but it also provided a way for me to recognize my capacity to do anything. I always hated running before, so the fact that I was now doing it for fun and for long amounts of time really made me believe in myself.

What’s your favorite running workout?

Yikes, I think I need to find one!

Tell us about your most memorable long run.

My first half marathon was this fall right after the 2016 election and towards the end of training I was feeling discouraged both physically and emotionally, but running through the streets of Richmond, Va that crisp fall morning, I felt hope. Running and yoga are seen as an “individual” practices, but to me, that could not be further from true. From signs to live music, and SAG stops, the entire city was working towards a common goal, to support one another to the finish line. When you are running, at some point, a voice inside your head is going to want you to quit, but the people around you are what get you through the doubt at those long distances. Running that race demonstrated the ways your community can help you push through when you don’t believe in yourself and the beauty that happens when community comes together to support one another.

What season do you like running in best? Tell us why.

Spring. You get to your environment come to life through trees and their blooming leaves, and even in the smiles you see on the faces of people you pass on the streets. There is a sort of magic to start running outside and seeing the way everything, and everyone, slowly de-thaws and comes to life! Plus, springtime is when I first started running, so there is this special nostalgia to it.

Run and practice yoga to connect with your community like Holly, and check the RLY blog soon for additional features as we connect the running/yoga community online too!

All photos of Holly courtesy of J&D Photo (website, Facebook, Instagram).