Yoga is one of the serious loves of my life. I would be lost without it. Yoga helps in everyday life, let alone running. It can be a very spiritual journey for some, it is for me. But it doesn’t have to be, it’s not a requirement and many people avoid yoga because of religious implications. My husband does yoga and in no way is it a spiritual experience for him. For him it’s simply a way to move better and to relax his body. What can yoga do for you the runner? Or just you the human? Read on…
Rest Days – Yin Yoga
Also known as restorative yoga, is fabulous on rest days. You only have to do Downward Dog Pose once, to know good it feels on tired, tight calves. Dynamic stretching helps prevent injury during your runs and aids in shortening recovery time from injuries you do receive. Everything from Butterfly pose, Forward Fold and Dragonfly pose to Savasana (or Corpse pose) are designed to relax & restore
Strength Training – Power Yoga
Also known as vinyasa can build strength, particularly in the core. This in turn gives you better balance. This is important for a runner because essentially we are moving from balance on one foot to the next, albeit for short times. Strong balance will give your run a more constant and controlled feeling. The yoga poses Tree, Extended Side Angle and Eagle all work on balance.
For Flexibility – Hatha Yoga
Mobility is a source of many injuries and even prevents some from running. This is especially true as we age. Your joints and muscles become stiffer more easily from sitting (desk jobs) or being a couch potato and with age this increases and happens quicker. Joints become more rigged with age and from repeated foot strikes to the pavement. Yoga helps release the joints and hip flexors and the tension in them, all while lengthening your muscles. This all allows from better mobility and flexibility. There are many gentle yoga poses designed for better flexibility such as Warrior, Reclining Hero, Bridge and Rock The Baby.
For Better Breath Control
Yoga requires concentration and attention to breathing, which will significantly benefit runners. This will also help you to better concentrate during a race and improve your performance because of it. Breathing, as we all know, is an essential element for running, as your ability to take in directly affects how fast you can actually go and how long you can maintain a pace. Learning breath control and any even small meditative mantras help that mind to body connection making you feel more in tune with your body. Learning proper breathing techniques is heart healthy because it slows your heart rate and keeps it at an even beat.
As humans we assume that our mind and body are always working in sync, but that’s not always true. Any endeavor you do will give you moments of dread. A feeling of “I’m done”. When working on many of the poses in yoga, you’ll find it’s mind over matter. Focusing on flowing from each pose to the next, teaches more of this awareness of body vs space.
SparkPeople has a great resource for runners who want to start adding yoga into their training plan!
In the photo’s above I’m wearing:
May The 4th (Mystery Release)