Yoga for runners
Yoga for runners you ask?
You might be wondering that running itself is a form of exercise, then why yoga for running? They are completely different.
How do they fit into each other?
Running is a great cardio workout and yoga is about strength and flexibility. With yoga you can control your breathing and your body movements. This helps you breathe right while running and also helps you balance your body in the right way whilst running. Yoga breathing energizes the muscles as the oxygen reaches deeper into the muscles and also increases blood flow.
Yoga enhances flexibility to the different muscles of the body. This aids in better running. Runners usually develop stiff muscles; yoga fights the tension in your muscles and flexes them. Yoga focuses on the sensitive areas of a runner which are knees, hips and the back and strengthens them. It eases pain and relieves stress on these sensitive areas.
Running is definitely a great work out. But it also causes imbalance and affects the joints to a great extent with time. It may in certain cases affect your body posture. Yoga corrects the posture by aligning your body in the right way. The slow, controlled movements and deep breathing help you control your balance while running.
Running makes your feet absorb your body weight 3-4 times with each step laid forward. As mentioned before, this causes stiffness and pain in your joints and muscles. That is one of the reasons why you find runners wearing knee caps most of the time. Yoga counteracts the damage caused by running.
Yoga poses for runners
Most athletes prefer the ashtanga or power yoga which energizes the body to a great extent and makes way for better practice and workout.
Some of the poses which are great for runners are:
- Hamstring stretch
- Wide legged forward bending
- Triangle pose
- Warrior pose
- Side angle pose
- Sun salutations
- Breathing techniques
- Plank pose
- Downward facing dog
These are just some of the asanas a runner can practice. But ashtanga yoga by itself offers approximately 200 poses, which involves a lot of strength.
Apart from energizing your body, yoga also enhances calmness. It helps you listen to what your body needs and respond to it. It brings you complete awareness of yourself and helps you to communicate with your body.
Yoga helps the body produce a substance called endorphins which act as natural pain killers and prevent pain caused due to strain on the muscles and injury. It boosts your energy levels.
While running a runner’s breath is usually short and they tend to gasp. Practicing yoga’s deep breathing technique on a regular basis increases the uptake of oxygen into the body and thereby makes it easier for a runner to breathe whilst running.
Running is a very strenuous exercise, while yoga can be customized in such a way that you can relax your body.
How amazing! You can relax your body whilst actually working out.
So you know how good yoga is for running.
To sum it all up, yoga for runners is just great for the following reasons:
- Alignment and balance
- Flexibility and strength
- Even muscle strength
- De-stressed muscles
- Relief from joint pains
- Limber body
- Soft and supple muscles
- Body awareness to prevent injuries
- Relief from back pain
- Increased oxygen uptake
- Increased blood flow
- Increased production of antibodies that fight any infection
- Production of pain relieving substances – endorphins
- Improved breathing while running
These are just some of the benefits outlined from this article. I am sure it comes with many more benefits and list can get endless.
If you are a runner you can discover many more benefits of yoga for running, by practicing yoga on a regular basis.