Run, Yoga, Run
Author: Shannon Miller LifestyleBy Jamie Walker, FitApproach.com
To the untrained eye, yoga and running are on opposite sides of the exercise spectrum.
Some people have found that Yoga sessions are also great running exercises.
Running can have a lot of impact on your knees, legs, and feet and runners often complain of having very little flexibility…or tightness. Yoga, on the other hand makes us feel loose and aims to lengthen and stretch the body through gentle, fluid movements. It has no harsh impact on our bodies (as long as it is practiced safely and correctly) and provides more balance and flexibility overall.
But these cousins are not as distant as they may seem. In fact, I’ve found that I need yoga to be a better runner and that I need running to be a better yogi. And here’s why:
- Yoga helps me to find balance and inner peace, something I desperately need for a long race or harsh terrain.
- It builds my leg muscles, balance and coordination which are a must have for making my way easily over rocky, hilly, steep, uneven terrain.
- It strengthens my core allowing my body to stay upright and deeply connected to the rest of my body. It also keeps me injury free. Using standing poses to strengthen my leg muscles helps to protect my joints which is a must for any runner.
Running has also helped my yoga practice. While it may seem counter-intuitive at first glance, let me back up a little bit and tell you why. When I first started doing yoga, I was doing more dancing than anything else. I hadn’t yet found running to be a true passion. I ran here and there as a way to stay in shape but hadn’t really discovered a love for it. I remember going to yoga classes feeling all flexy-bendy proud of myself. I didn’t need any direction. I could get my leg up there or my arm around there…no problem.
I thought I was doing Yoga, but there was a problem –
I wasn’t really doing yoga; I was just forcing my body into poses that my body wasn’t really ready for. And it wasn’t until I got serious about running that I realized what practicing yoga was really about. As I began to run more and more, I was humbled by my two very stiff and tight hips. I could no longer just put my leg up there or my arm through there. I needed to understand the fundamentals and make it about finding peace and center with my body – not about forcing myself into one position and then the next.
Do you enjoy your Yoga sessions; to increase flexibility, relieve pain, feel better? Have you also found Yoga to be beneficial to your running program? Please add a Comment to this article to share and let us know.
About the Author
Jamie Walker is the founder of Fit Approach (fitapproach.com), an online healthy community. She is an avid ultra-marathoner, yogi, and overall fitness enthusiast.