Yoga for Runners

I cannot emphasize enough how beneficial yoga can be for runners or any athlete for that matter. I was a runner long before I began practicing yoga and all I can say is that I wish I had started practicing sooner. Yoga helps tremendously with flexibility and stretching out tight, overused muscles, such as the piriformis muscle in the glutes. Because running really only involves the lower portion of the body and movement in a single plan—the sagittal plane (forward and backward)–other muscles in the body can get neglected. Although runners tend to have very strong, conditioned legs, I have found that many have difficulty initially in yoga because so much of it involves stability. Stability in the legs and holding a pose really comes from utilizing a series of different muscles in the legs, the core and the upper body. All these muscles work together in harmony to create a more balanced physical state. Practicing yoga regularly and its many postures really will help to stimulate a variety of different muscles, hence helping to provide a release to the overused ones. Also, I think that we live in a society where exercise and losing weight is viewed so intensely, people don’t think that yoga is a strong enough workout for them. In my opinion, this is absolutely false!  I have found in my own life that my yoga practice has made me stronger, leaner, more toned and overall happier. It’s not always about how out of breath you are during a workout. Rather, focusing on loving your body, taking nice, beautiful breaths, taking care of your muscles by gentle stretching, that is where the true connectedness with your body comes from. Without establishing that connection with your body, I believe any workout routine, be it running or something else, would be more difficult to sustain.