Yoga, if practiced safely, helps alleviate the repetitive strains caused by the high impact from running and it may also enhance performance.
Like most aerobic activities, running involves sustained, repetitive motion using the large mobilizer muscles in a limited range of motion. The purpose of the phyiscal side of yoga, (the asanas) is to create strength where you need it, and release tension where you don’t. It will help fix the imbalances caused by running which can lead to lower back, knee, and foot pain. Yoga can help strengthen deep postural muscles in the core and back for better running form. At the same time the postures release tension and lactic acid from overworked areas by moving in all dimensions through twists, forwards bends and side bends.’
Here are some key benefits brought by combining running and yoga:
- Strength and flexibility: although running can add extra pressure on the joints, those who do enjoy it will find that stretching properly helps them go further whilst helping prevent injuries. Through yoga one may enjoy an increased flexibility in all leg muscles and those attached to pelvis.
- Breathing – yoga teaches breath awareness, and breathing properly is a key part of an efficient, pleasurable and healthy run
- Balance – both help develop core strength and postural awareness, hence helping with posture.
- Resistance – the cardiovascular aspect of a run may help build stamina and endurance within a yoga practice.
- Mental focus – yoga helps to be centered, and long distance running requires mental (as well as physical) focus and discipline.
- Stress relief: both have been proven to relieve stress and tensions.
The basic Sun Salutation is the best Yoga exercise for runners and an excellent series of poses. The Suns Salutations are a great way to warm up all of the major muscle groups in your body. Repeating it 3-5 times is ideal. Here is an example of a Sun Salutation.