Mention yoga to a group of runners, and they’ll likely respond with some degree of fear and disdain. If you can get past that fear and find yourself in your first down-dog, it could be the thing to take your running to the next level. Regular yoga practice creates an integrated, balanced body and mind, as well as builds strength and flexibility.
Running is a repetitive motion sport that uses the same sets of muscles continuously. Over time, this repetition creates crowding at joint sites, overuse injuries, and nagging “conversations” in the runner’s legs that just won’t go away. The concepts of strength and stretch found in yoga help the runner overcome these issues brilliantly. Range of motion is increased, hamstrings find some flexibility, lateral hips gain strength, posture is improved – when these things happen, the runner finds balance and even more exciting, increased speed!
The word yoga means “union with your inner self.” Much of yoga’s practice is rooted in deep breathing. Breath is energy, and learning to access deeper breath increases capillary exchange for any runner. Enduring an intense pose can help you endure discomfort on the road. Yoga trains the brain to be mindful and present… you can do anything for one more breath!
Runners have goal-driven and competitive minds. It’s a busy lifestyle that always say, “Go!” and it’s easy to get down on yourself if you have an off day, or don’t PR that race you’ve been training so hard for. Yoga encourages you to accept the body and mind you have on that day and push it as far as it will go. Yoga can be a runner’s secret weapon of focus on any given day – one more mile, one more hill, one more breath.
Runners, race to your nearest yoga studio or class, and make yoga a regular part of your training. Your body and mind will thank you dearly.
Fleet Feet Sports offers two free yoga classes a month, designed especially for the runner. Check out the event calendar at http://www.fleetfeetmemphis.com for upcoming dates or follow us on Facebook.
The staff at Fleet Feet Sports can help you select all the winter gear you need. Socks, gloves, hats, base layers, outer shells, and so much more… Come in and see them today!
Lisa Warmuth, a former ballet dancer, was a runner before she was a yogi. She found the more she did yoga, the more her running improved, and has been helping runners find yoga ever since. You can find her teaching at Hot Yoga Plus in Germantown, and teaching the free classes at Fleet Feet Sports.