I commonly hear runners praising the addition of yoga to their practice. However, many yogis often shudder when thinking about running. Maybe this is because we often hear about the dangers of running: it will ruin your joints and compromise your yoga practice. But I always wonder, why can’t yogis embrace running, as well?
I’m here to tell you that many of the skills and physical and mental strength you have built up through yoga will highly benefit your running practice too.
4 Reasons Yogis Are Prepared to Be Runners
- You Already Have a Strong Core- Despite what some running novices may think, the sport is not all about leg strength. It’s a full-body effort, meaning that core strength is a huge factor. Additionally, upper body strength is essential to keeping your back and shoulders from tensing up as the mileage increases.
- You’re Already Tuned into Your Breath- The breath awareness we yogis practice on our mats is immeasurably valuable when it comes to endurance training. The longer you run, the more important it is for your body and mind to connect, preventing you from getting distracted or quitting. If this body-mind connection sounds like the effortless calm you feel during yoga practice, that’s because it is!
- You’re Prepared for the Meditative Side of Running- Speaking of this body-mind connection, running is essentially a meditation. When we run, we aim to immerse ourselves in the present, eliminating unnecessary movements to find ease in the midst of a strenuous physical effort. I like to think yogis have a huge step up in this department because we’re used to adjusting our bodies to balance our muscles and limbs.
- You Already Know How to Rehabilitate Tight Muscles- I saved the most obvious for last. One of the most common factors that brings runners into the yoga studio is a desire to learn to stretch, twist, and rehabilitate tight muscles. For yogis making the leap into running, or for those already combining the two practices, it may be hard to give up the excitement of vinyasa and fun arm balances in favor of slower movements, but this is exactly what your body will need. Try exploring tight nooks and take your practice down a notch as you discover the ways each practice complements the other. I recommend giving Yin yoga a try!
Importance of combining two different physical/mental practices
Yoga Gives Your Competitive Side a Rest: The beauty of yoga is that it’s not a competitive sport. Sure, you may motivate yourself daily to improve and show up on the mat, but at the end of the day no one comes in first or last. Sometimes it’s nice to rest the competitive side of your brain, but other times it’s fun to enter a 5k and see how your body has improved over the course of the last few weeks or months. Yoga and running don’t live in different universes; they’re two sides of the same coin, complementing each other and filling in the gaps.
Yoga Moves Your Body on a Different Plane: Runners continually move one direction in space, whereas one of the greatest benefits of yoga is that you get to move your body along an entirely different plane. On our mats, we twist, we turn, and we invert our bodies. As anyone who has ever stepped into a yoga studio knows, you’ll discover muscles you never knew existed. While runners are some of fittest people around, many experience strength and flexibility issues, which isn’t surprising when you consider how many times they pound the ground each mile. Another reason to incorporate both practices into your weekly routine!
So, whether you’ve been combining running and yoga for years, or you’re convinced now might be the time to give it a shot, I’d love to invite you to our first Yoga Flow + Trail Run event taking place Saturday, June 23 from 9:30-11:00am at Robinette’s - Oh and PS, don't worry about the weather, we already have a rain date scheduled!!
The movements inherent in yoga and trail running may seem tremendously different, but they share one key trait: both put you in the present moment. If you lose focus for just one moment, you could wind up face down on your mat or in the dirt. We’ll start with a 40 minute yoga flow, building the muscle strength and range of motion needed to help you dance over rocks and roots on the 2 mile trail run.