Why Yoga and Running Are a Great Team

Why Yoga and Running Are a Great Team
Peanut butter and jelly. Pumpkin Spice and fall. Bacon and eggs. Yoga and…running? Some things just go together and (as hard as it might be to believe) yoga and running can be a great pair and complement each other…if you know the right poses and the right way to pair them. 
While they seem like opposites, the adrenaline rush of a great run doesn’t seem to pair well with the calming influence of a great yoga practice, when paired correctly each can balance the other and balance your body and mind in the process. And, running can be hard on the body and joints (especially if you don’t have good running form) so an activity that nourishes the joints and restores the body is a great complement to this intense workout. 

The Benefits of Yoga for Runners

Why pair running and yoga? Here’s a few reasons. 
Yoga helps with muscle imbalances:  We’re often most tight in the areas we have the most strength and for runner’s, that tends to be the hips and calves. When we’re tight in one area, our bodies tend to overcompensate in others. Yoga can help improve flexibility in those muscles and opposing muscle groups, balancing out our muscles and contributing to better alignment
Yoga reduces stress: Some of us find running stressful. But some of us actually run to calm our minds and reduce stress. But we can’t always get out for a run. Yoga is a great way to supplement the stress relief you get from running while giving your body a break from such a vigorous activity. 
Yoga builds core strength: A strong core is important to most activities as it can promote good posture and prevent aches and pains throughout the day. But a strong core is particularly important for runners that need because proper form is key to preventing injuries. And yoga is a GREAT core workout. 

Yoga Poses for Runners

So which yoga poses can most benefit your running routine? 

Downward Dog

  • Strengthens the calf muscles
  • Elongates the torso and spine
  • Strengthens arms and shoulders

Low Lunge

  • Develops stamina
  • Builds endurance in the thighs (to help on those long-distance runs!)
  • Helps increase range of motion in the lower half of the body

Seated Forward Fold

  • Loosens tight hamstrings
  • Helps improve the mood
  • Offers a full body stretch 

Bridge Pose

  • Builds strength in your hip muscles (running can take a toll on the hips)
  • Targets the glutes (and all the posterior muscles!)
  • Stretches the spine

Upward Facing Dog 

  • Loosens a tight chest
  • Stretches out the upper body and shoulders
  • Builds upper body strength 

Reclined Spinal Twist


Combining Running and Yoga

Before you throw these two together like a PB&J, here are a few things you should remember:
  • Don’t do an intense yoga routine the day before a long or hard run 
  • If you do yoga the same day as your run, do the yoga first  
  • Long yoga sessions can tire the muscles which may change your running form
  • Give yourself plenty of recovery time between the two activities
So if you’re looking for a way to thank your body for all the running workouts you put it through, try some yoga. Your muscles, joints, and mind will thank you. 
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