Yoga and running go hand in hand. Like two peas in a pod. From a personal aspect, I notice the benefits of yoga when running. Yoga packs a huge punch for runners, keeping you healthy while protecting your body from injuries and overuse.
Here are some reasons yoga helps runners:
Flexibility- Yoga stretches those muscles that are tight because of running. This will increase range of motion while decreasing stiffness, aches and pains.
Strength-Runners generally have strong legs from the hips down, but the upper body is used less there for weaker. Strengthening the upper body will improve efficiency and overall posture and form while running. Yoga helps build core strength which will alleviates back pain that runners can get. Overuse of some muscles will cause an imbalance in the body, thus leading to injuries.
Endurance-Yoga can help build mental endurance, those long runs. Holding a posture for long period of time (3 minutes) may seem like an eternity. Training your brain to be quiet and still can be extremely difficult for some. Taking this off the mat on into those runners will help you get to those longer distances. Turning off that mind chatter, telling you to walk or turn around and go home.
Breathing-Yoga will give you the ability to create an even breathing pattern. More oxygen is able to circulate in your system with a greater lung capacity. Yoga breathing involves slow deep inhales and exhales, using the entire lung (upper, middle and lower). The first time I noticed the real benefits of my yoga breathing, was after I broke my ribs, I started breathing into my upper lungs when running. After about two kilometers I started getting major shoulder cramps and pinching.
Here are some of my favourite yoga poses for runners.
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