by Kim Rush
So, why should runners do yoga?
Why should YOU do yoga?
1. For the increased mental capacity.
Yes, I could talk all day about how yoga lengthens and extends my hamstrings when they’re tight (which is basically all of the time), and yes that is both true and beneficial. However, the real payoff of a regular yoga practice is the clarity and mental acuity you can gain when you know how to use your breath to quiet your mind. If you’ve ever been in a tough spot (a race, hard workout, bad day, etc.) you can harken back to your time on the mat, when you used a mantra, set your focus, stayed in a pose when you wanted out of it, breathed big, set an intention…
Long story short: your yoga practice prepares you for life. You’ll get comfortable being quiet. Being calm. Being still. You’ll get to know yourself better. You’ll learn to trust and value your intuition. You may even start to listen to it. Imagine how amazing that would be!
2. Ok, yes. Yoga will stretch out your super tight muscles.
Hamstrings, IT bands, quads, glutes. We runners carry a lot and our legs can suffer for it. Yoga slows us down, and allows us to take care of our legs, preventing injury.
3. Yoga makes your core and upper body stronger — which makes you a better runner.
We yogis hold plank. We float -and sometimes sink!- in boat pose. We flow through Chaturanga (high to low push-up). Our core and upper bodies get good at working. When we run, having that strong center can help our strides become more stable and are able to propel us forward more efficiently.
4. Yoga makes you a better listener.
As runners, we are quite good at pushing through discomfort and staying strong, no matter the cost. I’ve had plenty of injuries occur simply because I should have stopped the moment I felt pain or was in over my head. But we are taught to persevere, so I kept going, and found myself sidelined and injured.
In yoga, we learn to listen to our bodies. We slow down, get quiet, and become more attuned to what our bodies are telling us. We learn to let go of the ego and the competition and truly tap into our own unique experience. Once we get good at doing this on our mats, it’s easier to listen to our bodies outside of the yoga studio. On long runs, knowing how to tap into that intuition about how hard to push, when to rest, and when to stop is invaluable.
And, learning to trust your intuition can be the most valuable resource you have — both on and off your mat.
5. The breathing.
Yoga emphasizes calm, steady breath work. A vinyasa practice links breath to movement. Both of these breathing practices allow for more efficient breathing, calming your body and mind. When life happens, as it often does, leaning to pause and slow down your breath? Priceless.
Kim will be teaching a Yoga for Runners workshop on Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 1:30-3:00PM at Inner Bliss Rocky River.
All levels of runners and walkers are invited to sign up! Fee: $30
During the workshop we will:
- Enjoy a 60-minute yoga practice with a sequence designed specifically for runners
- Break down poses and alignment principles for a safe and effective yoga practice
- Explore modifications and the use of props
- Answer any questions you may have