Why yoga for runners

/ July 27, 2014/ Yoga/ 0 comments

Running makes you feel fabulous and invigorated. However, running can lead to injury because of its repetitive nature. Runners can use yoga practice to balance strength, increase range of motion, prevent injuries, and train the body and mind.

Running uses the same set of muscles. Contracting them repeatedly causes them to stay in a shorten state over time. Running also creates musculoskeletal imbalances because it strengthens only the lower part of the body in only one plane (sagittal).

On the other hand, yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body and lengthens muscles.

Why do you run?

Stats show that:

  • 75 % run to stay in shape
  • 75% women and 70% men run to stay healthy
  • 62% women run to relieve stress

What ever your reasons are, use a program that includes yoga to keep you healthy.

What is yoga

Yoga means union, the root yuj means to bind to join.

Yoga poses (asanas) move your body through gravitational dimensions while teaching you how to coordinate your breath with each subtle movement. The eventual result is that your body, mind, and breath are integrated with your actions.

Benefits of yoga for runners

Come to think of it, the following benefits also apply to sports in general:

  • Improves flexibility. Yoga stretches tight muscles by increasing range of motion. Tight muscles are weak muscles.
  • Increases strength as a yoga practice involves all muscles in the body in a variety of planes. Strong upper body results in better posture. Strong core results in more efficient movement of legs and arms.
  • Increases lung capacity. Yogic breathing uses upper, middle, and lower portions of the lungs. In contrast to running which uses just top portion of the lungs (quick shallow breathing).
  • Increases oxygen circulation. Increases your energy. It restores body and mind. It helps you recover from demands of running.
  • Increases body awareness and connection to the breath.
  • Increases focus and ability to remain calm. Prevents injuries as you are more in tune with your body.
  • Stimulates the parasympathetic system. As a result, it relieves stress, heals and nourish the body, heals and prevents injuries.

Yogic breathing

In addition to increasing lung capacity, keep on reading to learn more benefits of yogic breathing:

  • Releases chronic tension in neck and shoulders
  • Reduces stress, anxiety, fear
  • Releases endorphins which in turn relieve headaches, insomnia, and backaches
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves oxygenation to the blood cells
  • Improves blood flow and gives you more energy
  • Clears and focus the mind

Why yoga might make you a better runner!

Besides counteracting the physically strains of running, yoga teaches you to cultivate body wisdom and confidence. With a greater understanding of your body and how it works, you can listen and respond to messages the body sends you. The endorphins your body produces when you run can mask pain or the onset of injury. However, with greater intuition, you cannot ignore your body signals.

By bringing your body in a relaxed state, you learn to conserve and use energy more effectively. Tight muscles and limit range of motion requires more energy. Conscious breathing help you to reduce tension, soothe the nervous system, and relax the entire body.

B.K.S. Iyengar said: “Words fail to convey the total value of yoga. It has to be experienced”. What are you waiting for? start experiencing the benefits. Come to class! Check the schedule at Yoga classes for real people.

Yoga poses for stretching

Legs up the wall-20130502-00158

  • Legs Up the Wall (Viparita Karani)
    Stretches the hamstrings gently and allows blood that has accumulated in the feet and legs to re-circulate in the body. Also, it offers a gentle release for the lower back.
  • Butterfly/Cobbler Stretch (Baddha Konasana)
    Opens the groin and hips. Stretches the inner thighs. Also, it stretches the back when you fold forward.
  • Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
    Stretches the spine, hamstrings, and back.
  • Pigeon Pose (Sucirandhrasana)
    Stretches the outside of the hips and the inner thighs.
  • Half Lord of the Fishes Twist (Ardha Matseyendrasana) twist
    Opens the shoulders, neck and hips, and stretches your IT band.
  • Hero Pose (Virasana)
    Stretches the quadriceps and ankles.
  • Child’s Pose (Balasana)
    Stretches hips, thighs and ankles gently. It may also help alleviate back pain. It helps you to calm down.
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