Running strengthens the body, the mind and the spirit, just like yoga. Long-distance running, like yoga, can put a person into a meditative state. Both activities foster a lifestyle, and while runners have special clothes and accessories, yogis have their yoga products like yoga pants and Yoga Eggs.
Good for the Body and the Mind
Runners can benefit from yoga as much as they benefit from different types of massage. A pre-run massage gets the blood flowing to the muscles. A post-run massage eases muscles fatigue and soreness and improves recovery. Yoga can be as gentle as a post-run massage and as invigorating as climbing a mountain. But the benefits of yoga for runners extend beyond simply stretching muscles.
Benefits of Yoga for Runners:
- Injury prevention and rehabilitation
- Improved flexibility and range of motion
- Upper body and core strength
- Increased lung capacity
- Improved mental focus and endurance
Types of Yoga for Runners
What type of yoga class is best for runners? Starting with a beginner friendly yoga class is advised. Be sure to let the instructor know if you have any injuries so that they can offer tips and modifications. Also, because runners often have a high threshold for discomfort, it is important to remember to breathe through but don’t “push through” any stretching sensations or pain in yoga class. Listen to your body and the teacher and move in a mindful way.
Power Yoga and Vinyasa Yoga
A Westernized form of yoga, Power Yoga is designed to provide a physical challenge. Based in the Ashtanga Yoga tradition of Pattabhi Jois, it focuses on building a balance of strength and flexibility by way of a challenging asana (posture) practice. Power Yoga includes upper body and core strengthening sequences, standing poses, and balancing poses. It is fairly fast-paced which makes it an aerobic exercise as well. Classes will vary depending on the instructor but breath is usually a strong focus.
Power Yoga is appealing to runners for the physical challenge and deep breathing. The postures of Power Yoga emphasize strength: handstands, chaturanga push-ups, arm balances, and backbends (you will sweat!). Using yoga products like the Three Minute Egg® can make some poses more accessible and they can offer added challenge as needed (if you don’t believe us, try a handstand balancing on two Eggs!).
Therapeutic yoga is gentle and healing with yoga poses geared for positive transformation. If you are dealing with injuries, therapeutic yoga helps you heal faster and more completely. This style of yoga often uses yoga products like blankets, bolsters and egg-shaped yoga blocks to assist in finding the optimal position and support for your body. Sequences are usually customized to an individual’s needs. Therapeutic yoga can help runners biomechanically. Whether in a group class or one-on-one setting, the gentle approach combined with the skillful guidance of a trained yoga therapist helps to improve stability and mobility in the body as well as cultivating healthy movement patterns.
Many athletes, runners included, push their bodies to the limit. But it’s equally important to take the time to rest and relax. That’s exactly the aim of Restorative Yoga. By resting in supported yoga poses you can gently stretch your muscles, align your body, and reach a rejuvenating state of deep relaxation.
In a Restorative Yoga class, you may lie on yoga products like bolsters and Yoga Eggs as you allow your muscles to passively relax. This style of yoga restores balance to all of the body’s systems through conscious relaxation. It’s a great practice for your internal organs and for easing tension, stress and fatigue.