For many of us, yoga is how we care for and nurture our spirit; it is how we find peace, calm, and clarity amidst the winds of change and uncertainty swirling all around us. Asana – the physical limb of yoga we are most familiar with – is also a profound way of caring for our physical bodies, particularly for those of us who live active lifestyles. Yoga for runners was made specifically with these active people in mind.
The Pros and Cons of Running
It’s no wonder we love it so much – running is one of the most effective and accessible forms of exercise. Beyond its simplicity, it is an incredible way to increase cardiovascular endurance, improve heart health, and get fresh blood flowing throughout the body. Additionally, running does a great job of strengthening the legs; however, without devoting equal attention to strengthening other parts of the body, it can also be the source of serious imbalances such as chronic pain, posture problems, and reduced mobility.
If you’re a runner, you are likely deeply familiar with how it can test and put pressure on the body. Runners seem to have a reputation for always being injured, and for good reason. They are notoriously inflexible, leaving themselves susceptible to painful muscle strains, pulls, and even tears. Without incorporating the correct cross-training into your exercise routine, running can sometimes do more harm than good.
However, with the right preparation and post-run yoga sequence, these pesky injuries need not persist. This is why yoga for runners is so essential. Through yoga, we have the ability to bring the body back to balance. We are able to both restore the body and prepare it. Yoga strengthens the crucial muscles we need to run, while also strengthening the surrounding muscles we need for critical support. Practicing yoga in addition to a running routine can increase both strength and flexibility in the glutes, hips, hamstrings, and core which reduces the risk of future injury quite substantially.
Yoga For Runners
Yoga for runners also has the potential to make running easier and more enjoyable. Beyond the physical benefits, yoga increases mindfulness and our ability to find and appreciate the beauty around us. Where running increases our ability to tolerate discomfort, the practice of yoga teaches us how to extend our inner awareness to the outside world. In this way, yoga and running complement each other. By increasing our level of present moment awareness and allowing us to experience things exactly as they are.
If you’re a competitive runner, you might be interested to know that yoga has also been proven to improve mental clarity and boost focus. Running competitively requires both intention and high levels of awareness. A runner has to be aware of how fast they are going, as well as how they feel physically and mentally. Through the practice of yoga, we learn how to cultivate our awareness through intentional breath and movement. We are able to clear our minds of the obstacles we perceive and give our undivided attention to whatever it is we want to accomplish. We can be fully present with the here and now.
With something as simple as a quick post-run yoga routine, you can do what it takes to keep your body primed and ready for all of the activities you want to fit into your life. A sequence of yoga for runners doesn’t have to be long or complicated either.
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