Yoga for Runners

Laura Westfall
Yoga for Runners

Yoga for Runners

In my experience as a distance athlete and in my yoga practice, I encounter questions about yoga and how it can enhance other sports.  Once you review these questions and my thoughts about the subjects, you may consider yoga as a means to achieve your goals through running or another distance challenge.

1.  Who can do yoga?

The common misconception of yoga is that it is just a stretching class and only flexible people can do it.  Yes, you will always leave a yoga class feeling stretched and loose, but that is gained through numerous poses and slow, methodical movements of your entire body.  And yes, flexible people do yoga, but many achieve their flexibility through yoga.  Anyone can do yoga, even if you have serious knee pain, back pain or other issues. There are many variations in yoga poses to fit individual needs!

2.  What are the benefits of yoga?

Your core is the heart of yoga. No, I’m not saying you need a six pack in order to do yoga. But your core, your deep midsection, drives and keeps your yoga moving. Yoga is an amazing form of physical exercise to strengthen every part of your body.  The combination of holding and flowing through poses strengthens your core muscles and other large muscle groups, specifically leg and shoulder muscles.

Another great benefit of yoga is the inner focus it creates.  Yoga is a time for you to turn inwards and let go of the day or any stress that may be building up inside.  The great part about yoga is each practice is different.  You will never have the exact same class.  Each teacher offers something different for you each class.

3.  What if I can’t do a pose?

Every yoga pose has many different variations.  Yoga can be modified for you and your body.  Whenever something doesn’t feel right in your body you can back out of the pose or sink in deeper into the pose.  These variations don’t make the pose harder or easier, just more comfortable for you.  They can be just as challenging and allow you to have perfect form.  Yoga allows you to fully express yourself and be free to make your own choices.

I encourage you to go out and try your first class.  Most studios offer your first class free.  Don’t be afraid, go out there and take a leap! In the coming months, I will be highlighting different yoga poses, their benefits and key points about each pose.

Links:  Jennifer Van Allen-How Yoga Can Help Your Running.  http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/yoga-poses-build-strength-running

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