Benefits of Practicing Yoga for Runners

Benefits of Practicing Yoga for Runners

Written by Michelle Daniel, owner of The Lifestyle Technique, LLC

As your training miles begin to increase for your upcoming race, some runners may begin to have some aches and pains. Paying attention and being mindful in what your body needs will help you throughout your training program. Depending on what these needs are, yoga can be a great addition to any training program.

The most asked question from runners about yoga is, “What type of yoga should I focus on as a runner?” The answer is simply whatever your body needs. We sometimes just need to tune in and listen. Yoga can help runners reach goals simply with mindful movement through yoga and connecting the breathwork. Depending on what your body needs, yoga can be added to obtain different benefits.

First, let’s begin with the difference between stretching and yoga. Stretching often consists of holding a position and you work on lengthening the muscle until we reach a release in tension. Stretching is typically a regimen for the spine, muscles, and joints. Yoga, on the other hand, is made of up of many poses and focuses on the connection of the mind, body, and soul. A regular yoga practice has been shown to enhance your mindset, mental clarity, and overall sense of health. As a runner myself, I know that running is a mental game. Yoga can help with our mindset and that begins with mindfulness. Mindfulness is that state of awareness we obtain when we are consciously acknowledging our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations, and how they are affecting us. This can be beneficial when practicing yoga, meditating, and can even carry over into our everyday life. One way to practice mindfulness, both on and off the mat, is by shifting your focus towards your breathing. (The focus on breathwork techniques will be in an upcoming blog.)

Being mindful in what your body and mindset needs is important when deciding what type of yoga would best suit you. Below are a couple types of yoga that can be beneficial to your training program and your overall success.

  1. Power or vinyasa yoga can help bring in more strength, intensity, and more support so runners can do runs longer, faster, and with more energy. Vinyasa yoga can also help with flexibility and relief for muscle tightness in the hamstrings and the hips. This type of yoga can help reduce your risk of injury. This type of yoga can help boost the mood, energy levels, and decrease stress.

  1. If you are looking for a slow and gentle yoga practice, hatha or restorative yoga can help with the perfect recovery activity for runners. It can help relieve soreness and tension in the muscles and can help restore the range of motion in the joints so you can run better the next training run. This yoga can help relax the mind and body. Soothe the nervous system. Enhance your mood. Reduce chronic pain. Improve sleep and is gentle on the body.

Depending on if you decide to incorporate yoga into your training practice, listening to what your body needs is key. You may decide you need a little power or vinyasa yoga to help build more strength and stamina or maybe you need to slow down and help the body recover with a hatha or restorative yoga. You can even mix it up and incorporate both types of yoga if that is what is most beneficial.

Our bodies adapt effectively and in whatever way it needs especially in the way we move and breathe. Looking for fun and relaxing ways to incorporate yoga? Please follow The Lifestyle Technique, LLC on Facebook and Instagram for all the summer outdoor yoga events at two local farms.

Also, mark your calendars. Michelle will be doing a gentle hatha yoga practice at the Air Force Marathon Expo on September 16th at 1pm. This will be a gentle yoga session incorporating breathwork and mindfulness. Perfect before a race.  More information to come.

*No Federal endorsement(s) intended.