It seems that many of the runners I know also incorporate yoga into their routine. I have been trying to practice yoga at least once a week for about a year now, although I tried yoga for the first time something like 8 years ago. Lately I have found myself appreciating its importance more than ever. So I thought in today’s post I would point out some of the reasons why yoga is a great supplement to running!
- You will get a good, deep stretch. I know I talked about why you may not need to stretch here, but I think yoga is different. You are holding the poses for long and really taking the time to stretch out the muscles. It is also key that you are listening to your body while in yoga to protect it.
2. You will work on your breathing. Yoga has a big focus on breathe, which will carry over to your running.
3. Relaxation and stress reduction. The instructor will help you to clear your mind and learn to focus on your practice. We all know that when we are stressed we are more likely to end up injured, so hopefully yoga can help prevent that.
4. A Break from running and life. Sometimes I feel like I am always running or working. Attending a yoga class gives me time away from those things and other life duties to focus on myself.
5. Mental training. Some parts of yoga can be quite challenging, and it can be another way to practice persevering and overcoming challenges, just like we want to do when running.
6. Get more in tune with your body.I have found that yoga has helped me to become more aware of tight muscles or other places that I need to relax. It can also help you to recognize imbalances that can then be addressed to become stronger runner.
7. A challenge. We are runners, and we like to run far and fast (usually). Yoga is another challenging activity. There is always something new to work on. I have finally (sort of) mastered crow- I held it for 10 seconds last week!
8. Sweat. Go to a hot yoga class, and you may sweat more than you do on your 10 mile run. Runners love to sweat, right?
9. Balance. Some of the poses involve balancing, which is something that as runners we should be working on.
10. Core work. In many yoga classes there is quite a bit of core work involved. Who can turn down an extra opportunity to work on the core?
What do you think? Do you practice yoga regularly?
If so, how do you feel it helps you with your running?
Michele @ paleorunningmomma says
I know I totally need to try yoga, I’ve done a couple of dvds but nothing major. I love stretching but don’t do nearly enough of it. As a kid/teen I did gymnastics and now my flexibility is just pathetic! I do a few yoga poses in my post run stretch but I would love to do a class once/week.
I used to dance and I have also lost like all of my flexibility. But as runners we actually don’t want to be too flexible. It can be really tough to incorporate yoga along with everything else!
Lily @ Lily Runs the World says
My bootcamp program offered yoga once a week and I started going last year and it made such a big difference. The change of pace was really nice, and I benefitted from the stretching, since I’m so bad at taking the time to do it on my own. It was also at sunset and the teacher put up drawstring lights around the room and turned off the main lights and had the best music… ahh I wish I could go right now.
That sounds like a great way to do yoga! It can really be an awesome experience and so beneficial.
Chrissy @Pink Polish and Running Shoes says
I’ve never tried yoga, but I do a lot of Pilates, which I know isn’t the same, but it’s kind of similar in some ways. I usually feel like I got in a good stretch after, but I don’t think it has the same mental benefits that yoga would.
Pilates is such a good workout for runners, too! I know my core and hips are on fire when I do this one pilates DVD I have. As for the mental benefits probably not, but I’ve never taken a class at a studio so I’m not really sure if they make them relaxing or anything.
I love/hate yoga—I think that I should definitely incorporate it more frequently Into my life!! It seems like there is never enough time to do “all the things” and I think that is what stops me!! I want find ago of DVD or YouTube yoga video that isn’t too long-THEN I would be more apt to do it! Thanks for the reminder!
My problem has also been finding time. But lately I have just decided that its worth it and try to make it a priority most weeks. And I buy a 10 class card to a studio, so each time I go I know that I need to really make the most of my time there. I used to do reflexion yoga online which was good, but I have found I get alot more out of going to a studio.
I know I didn’t really appreciate yoga until I started taking it again a few weeks ago. I feel completely stretched out afterwards. And I just feel so completely relaxed. Which I had never really felt before any other time I’ve taken yoga.
That’s kind of what happened for me, too! I used to do yoga because I thought I should…but now I have come to appreciate it more and I’ve been getting much more out of the classes and I’m able to relax more!
Susie @ SuzLyfe says
Yoga is a necessity for runners, in my opinion. The only sub is a strengthening/stretching regimen that breaks it down and accomplishes the same movements on a piecemeal basis. But why not incorporate everything into something that you can flow through and enjoy, rather than making it stop/go?!
Agreed, I think as I have gone on and off with taking yoga classes I have learned how important it is to take the time to go to class, plus I get the benefit of an instructor helping me to relax.
Sam @ The Running Graduate says
This has totally given me the last push I needed to start trying yoga. I brought my (unused) yoga mat with me to school so I’ll go to the classes at the gym!
That’s great! I’m sure that yoga will help you to relax as you get busy with all your school stuff!
I love using yoga for cross training. I miss going to classes with my fav teacher Lauren a lot because I know I was getting better at a lot of stuff as time went on, and I wanted to continue that. Hopefully I can go back to once a week classes in the winter 🙂 I think the mental relaxation yet challenge is produces along with the stretch and strengthening it provides is invaluable to runners
Exactly! I have also loved going consistently and seeing progress. I hope you can still make it to some of those classes this winter!
meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles says
I agree with you totally. While I never got into yoga, I do love the benefits I feel from Pure Barre for the stretching, strengthening and core work. Such a difference in how I feel and I totally notice the benefits while I run.
Those are such important components of being a strong runner. I really need to give Pure Barre a try!
I totally agree – especially with numbers 1,4, and 9. I used to be too impatient for yoga, but I’ve been adding it in on the day after my long runs and am amazed at how much it helps me recover (physically and mentally). And those balance poses are no joke!
I love taking a class the day after (or evening of) a hard or long run. You’re right that the recovery is both mental and physical!
I tried to do some yoga videos found on the RW website but I’ve had a hard time staying committed. I need to find a yoga studio that offers late classes. Most of the ones in my area seem to offer 6pm as the latest class and I don’t get home from work until 7! Argh!
The schedules can be annoying, I hear ya on that. My gym only offers really late classes (like 7:30) and I like to eat dinner at 630 and go to bed by 9, so that doesn’t work for me. The studio I go to has a 5:30 class that has worked out really well. I hope you find something, or maybe give online yoga another try!
Sue @ This Mama Runs for Cupcakes says
My New Year’s resolution was to do yoga once a week. I’ve been pretty consistent with a few breaks here and there but I love it. I wish I could do it more!
That’s great! Part of me wishes I could do more yoga also…its just the time and the cost that get in the way!
I love yoga, both for the mental and physical benefits. But sadly, it is always the first thing to get pushed aside when I am busy. I really, really should make it a bigger priority!
I used to do the same thing. As I have started to appreciate yoga more over the past several months, I now really want to go to the classes and I make sure to get there once a week. If it weren’t for the cost I would probably go more than once a week if I had time!