Yoga is about the interconnectedness of things. Mind and body. Breath and body. Muscle and movement. Effort and release. Which is what makes yoga the perfect friend for any kind of exercise or sport. Particularly running. Here is great guide that will show you what is great about Yoga for Runners.
I know what you’re thinking. As a runner, you already know the importance of stretches, and you do them diligently. And yes, while yoga does provide the runner some incredible stretching benefits, there’s a whole lot more to the story.
Flexibility: Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Yoga helps stretch tight muscles and improves flexibility. Longer, more limber muscles mean less stiffness, better range of motion, fewer chances of injury and less soreness after a tough run.
Best yoga poses for flexibility: Downward Facing Dog, Forward Fold (seated and standing), Lizard Pose, Butterfly Pose, Pigeon Pose.
Mobility: A well-designed yoga regimen will engage, lengthen and strengthen most of the muscles in your body. The result is better running form. Which means you will soon find yourself running faster, better and longer.
Best yoga poses for mobility: Spinal Twists (seated and standing), Triangle Pose, Pigeon pose.
Strength: A runner’s body is an efficient machine in matters of running. However running mostly works the body hips down, in a single plane of motion – forward and back. Yoga uses your body to train your body. Top to bottom, across different planes of movement. Yoga strengthens your core. A stronger core makes for better running posture, so your arms and legs work more efficiently to enhance your running technique.
Best yoga poses for strength: Upward Facing Dog, Bridge Pose, Tree Pose, Plank Pose, 4-Limbed Pose, Crescent Lunge
Improved breathing: Running, like yoga, is all about the breath. The better you breathe, the better your run. Yogic breathing expands the lungs, enhances lung capacity and improves oxygen circulation in the body. Runners who practice yoga find they have more energy and better endurance during run, which enhances their athletic performance.
Yoga for breathing: Backward bends such as Camel Pose, Standing supported Backward Bend, Pranayama (Yogic deep breathing, Kapal Bhati, Alternate Nostril breathing).
Mindfulness: Yoga helps you understand your physical body more intimately. Being aware, being mindful, will reveal nuances in your body and your breath that can help you upgrade your running performance and technique. The practice of yoga also positively impacts mental focus, helping you keep your mind in the game. Or on the run, so to speak.
If you’re a runner who’s never experienced the magic of yoga, try it without fear. Your body doesn’t have to be flexible to do yoga. Just your mind.
A yoga ninja who’s fanatical about fitness and food. And alliteration. And interesting words.