Yoga for Runners

For me, yoga and running have always gone hand in hand. Yoga has many benefits on both a runner’s body (improved flexibility, range of motion, muscular strength, prevent injuries) and mind (more focus, less stress). Yoga is a great way to help runners improve performance and prevent injury. Yoga also helps to relieve soreness and tension in your muscles and restores range of motion so you can run better the next time you’re out on the road.

Many people often ask how I can run so much, while minimizing injuries. For me, the number one reason why, has been yoga. Yoga has helped me in countless ways over the years, both physically and mentally.  No one wants to get hurt; injuries are not only painful, but can sideline you for months. I couldn’t even imagine what I would do with myself if I couldn’t run. Therefore, it’s important we remember to be smart and train smart.  Smart training can help make sure that injuries don’t stand in the way of your training. Therefore, spending some time on your yoga mat might be your best bet and just what the doctor ordered, it certainly has been for me. Practicing yoga asanas (poses) can help keep muscles limber, and yoga’s emphasis on mindfulness can bring about increased focus and awareness. So why not practice? Today is a great time to start- no time like the present as I like to say!

So why strike a pose? Studies have shown that yoga decreases stress, helps with weight loss, eases pain, helps people stick to an exercise routine, and even improves running times.

Here are some other reason runners should try yoga….

Yoga is a great partner. Training for the NJ marathon? Yoga can help you stay injury free by cultivating a balance between strength and flexibility in the body.

Yoga helps you become more present and aware of what your body needs. One key way yoga can help prevent running injuries is by cultivating mindfulness. The more aware you are of how your body feels from day to day or from pose to pose, the more likely you are to notice tight or injury prone areas that need attention.

Competitive and endurance sports like running encourage us to override the internal voice that wants us to stop, especially when we hit the wall in a marathon. However, sometimes when we ignore this voice, we can get injured. However, when we start to listen, as we do in a yoga class we can align and support ourselves in a more kind and mindful way.

Build mind-body awareness. Runners can use yoga practice to balance strength, increase range of motion, and train the body and mind. Asanas move your body through poses while teaching you how to coordinate your breath with each movement. Eventually your body, mind, and breath will be integrated in all actions.

Yoga helps you stretch smarter. Yoga’s combination of active and passive stretching is one way to help keep injuries at bay.

  • Active stretching—moving and stretching the body dynamically creates warmth and mobility to the tissues.
  • Passive stretching—holding a posture for a minute or more in a way that’s relaxed, allows muscles to lengthen even more.

Yoga allows you to stretch your feet. Flex, point, or fl-ointing your feet, allow them to feel good! Hitting the pavement again and again can take its toll on your feet, so it’s essential for runners to make time to care for them. A typical yoga practice stretches, strengthens and brings increased awareness to the feet.

Yoga helps build strength in the body and allows you to conquer chronic injuries. Yoga helps you find a state of equilibrium in your body that helps prevent chronic injuries and illnesses.  In yoga, you’ll work your core, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, & IT band (amongst other things, but these areas are extra important to runners). Working, stretching, and strengthening these areas will help you to run more efficiently and stay injury free.

Your hips will be happy. If your hips are tight, your mobility becomes limited, which can cause IT band pain, knee pain, as well as extra and unwanted stress to the back of your legs and feet.  Yoga will open your hips, keep your muscle in peak condition, and allow you to run pain free.

Yoga can help bring your body into balance. The pain most runners feel is not from running alone, but from imbalances that running causes and aggravates. Yoga can help you balance them out, so you can keep running long and hard for many years to come.

Yoga can be the ultimate cross-training for runners. Poses that mimic the running stride, for example, lunges, can help you stay flexible through the range of motion you use to run.

Yoga helps you to be humble. It can take years to learn and truly master yoga poses, so don’t go to your first several classes and expect to learn everything immediately. And certainly don’t go and worry about what the person next to you is doing. So what if you can’t do what they can, just focus on you. Yes, you may be a great runner, have had tons of PRs, have won races, whatever… but on your mat, none of that matters. Yoga is not about winning or being better than someone else, it’s about being the best YOU in that moment. Accept and appreciate your body and mind for where it’s at and don’t’ be so hard on yourself. Allow the movement and stretching to feel good.

When you’re ready and the time is right for you to start, be sure to shop around and find a class that is right for you. There’s no single style of yoga that’s best for every runner, but it’s important to find one you enjoy.  Find a studio (i.e. Empower Yoga) or class that makes you feel good, has a good vibe, good instructor, etc.. and just keep going and doing it.  Practicing yoga consistently is more important than what type of yoga you practice.

Namaste

 

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Feeling Fabulous at 35!

35As most of you know, especially if you read my blog last week, I am 35. I am happy to say that at 35, I am in the best shape of my life.  Growing up I played sports, but after high school I pretty much stopped working out. In college, I only used the gym as a way to meet people, particularly guys.  It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I started working out again and once I hit 31, I became an avid workout and health enthusiast. Because of my hard work and dedication to fitness and health these last several years, I have to say that I believe that I look and feel my best and am in the best shape I have ever been in. While I still have goals for myself and I continue to push my limits in order to see what I am truly capable of, I know that I am in good shape and it feels great! Continue reading Feeling Fabulous at 35!

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Happy 35th Birthday to Me!

As my birthday approaches, I am excited to say that I will be 35. I am happy to admit it and am looking forward to celebrating it. I know that birthdays for a lot of people can be scary. Not everyone likes to admit it’s their birthday, they hate admitting how old they are, they don’t want to celebrate, and it’s all because, for whatever reason, birthdays have a tendency to make us feel bad about ourselves. I think most people feel that they aren’t in the place they thought they’d be at their age which is why, as we turn another year older, we start to feel down. It seems to some, that time continues to pass, but they’re standing still. Common things I’ve found that people are often unhappy about are: how their body looks, their weight, their job, their relationship, or the fact that they aren’t in one, they haven’t started a family, etc… So birthdays tend to be a reminder of all the things we don’t like about ourselves or what we don’t have in our lives, so I’d like to change that. Continue reading Happy 35th Birthday to Me!

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17 Reasons to Do Yoga in 2017

Yoga is an ancient practice with origins stretching back thousands of years in India. It was designed as a way to help the yogi achieve a more positive outlook on life and a focused, more permanent sense of serenity and peace. Nowadays we also use yoga as a way to help build strength and increase our flexibility. If you think yoga might not be for you, I urge you to reconsider. Continue reading 17 Reasons to Do Yoga in 2017

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Creating Successful Resolutions

With the new year upon us, it’s time to reflect on the year that’s passed and begin thinking about the year ahead. Whether or not you have taken the time to think about your goals and aspirations for the next 12 months, a new chapter is here. So it’s important to ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish in 2017? What are you satisfied with in your life, and what changes would you like to make? Continue reading Creating Successful Resolutions

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