Yoga WILL help you breath better
One of the main foundations of yoga practice is breath work. Most instructors will touch upon breath awareness and give instruction on how to create a focused breath practice during class. Similarly, distance running is a sport that utilizes breath over time to sustain aerobic capacity and movement. When beginning a running training regimen one of the first things that dictates how long the first run will be is when we run out of breath, right? Once runners lose their breath they feel stress, disconnected to their body, and the need to stop. By practicing breath during yoga practice, runners can learn how to use breath as an asset to stay mentally focused, in tune with the body, calm, and aware of efforts. The first run in a new training regimen may only be 1 mile but with breath practice it will be a focused sustained controlled effort rather than a short, quick, stressful experience.
Why practice breath?
Tune into your body
Create mental focus and flow
Calm down nervous system
Decrease external stressors
Bring oxygen to muscles
Yoga WILL improve your posture and alignment
Yoga asana is the collection of poses of the practice. The poses are typically put together into a yoga asana sequence. In the sequence, a pose is held for a period of time or the student transitions or “flows” more quickly from pose to pose. Either way, each pose follows general alignment principles designed to keep joints safe from injury and enhance specific muscle groups to be strengthened or stretched. Yoga students learn to load joints correctly and feel specific muscle activations they can then transfer to running practice. Students also learn how to access optimal upright posture with trunk and core control which transfers well to running. With proper posture and alignment, the body is streamlined for efficient distant running.
Why is alignment important?
Load joints properly to reduce chance of injury
Feel specific muscle activation
Feel specific muscle release
Learn how to transition with focus between movements
Improve posture and trunk control
Yoga WILL help you connect to your body
Yoga can be practiced in a class setting with many people, however the connection is an individual effort. Yoga offers a chance to disconnect to the external stimuli in life (people, devices, noises, traffic) and connect with your body, breath, thoughts. Running is also an individual practice. A runner may be on a group or partner run, however the body and breath experience is felt on an individual level. Yoga allows you to mindfully practice connection to mind, breath and movement. Being able to establish this connection as a runner will allow clearer mental focus, performing efforts aligned with your body’s capacity, and staying calm and focused in the midst of stress.
What’s so great about mind-body connection?
Decreased reactivity to external stimuli
Decreased comparison mindset
Deeper awareness of breath, pace, body sensations, sustained effort
Knowing your body’s limits decrease chance for injury
Yoga WILL restore your muscles
After a high impact repetitive activity such as running the muscle and joint tissue need time to repair and restore to be ready for the next efforts. Yoga practice complements running because it is lower energy and low impact. Yoga is an “active stretch recovery” restoring muscle length and facilitating the repair of tissue. As a result, the runner will have decreased stiffness and improved mobility and strength going into the next day’s activities and exercise. For example, that “stiff feeling in the legs” upon getting out of a chair that tends to happen the day after a run is less likely to happen when the muscles are actively restored by a light yoga practice.
How does yoga help with running recovery?
Facilitate tissue repair
Promote fluid mobility