YOGA ADVICE FOR RUNNERS
Yoga Advice for Runners will help will help you identify how yoga can prepare you for the non-impact strength training days, pre- and post stretching as well as what to do on recovery days.
Not All Yoga is Created Equally
Just like not all running shoes are created equally, make sure that you check in with the studio you practice at to see which class will help support your running goals.
Moksha Yoga (all ability levels) – It is most effective for post-run stretching and for non-impact strength training days.
Yin (all ability levels) – phenomenal for recovery days and post-run activities. Not recommended for pre-run as the relaxing, long holds open up connective tissues/ligaments in the body and could result in injury.
Moksha Flow (intermediate levels) – if you already have a yoga practice and love to move, then a Moksha flow can be great for post-run stretching and strength training. If used mindfully, it could be great for pre-run warm-up, however, you’ll need to listen to your body after your first class to know if it’s the right fit for you.
Minimize Mental Chit-Chat
Ever get mid-run and notice that your mind keeps landing on your to-do list? Yup, it totally happens to all of us. Practicing yoga makes it easier to bring mental focus into your run, so that you can redirect that chit-chat back to the pace of your breath, how your body is responding to the length of your stride and your heart rate.
Lung Capacity Matters
Your lungs are protected by your rib cage which has intercostal muscles that hold each rib together. Underneath of it all is your diaphragm muscle that acts like a trampoline and attaches at the bottom of your rib cage and wraps all the way around to your spine. Just like any other muscles in your body, those muscles get tight. Side bends, twists, forward folds, back bends and various breathing exercises help to strengthen and lengthen those muscles, effectively increasing your diaphragms ability to expand and create more space for oxygen to be brought into your lungs.
Joint Stability for Injury Prevention
Strength training can sometimes be really tough on your joints. Practice the Moksha Yoga sequence to not just build muscle tissue, but also in a non-impact way so that your ankles, knees and shoulders feel supported so that runs aren’t met with potential injury.
Ease Muscle Aches
We all experience it. Hamstring tightness, IT band pulling on your knee joint, your shins and calf aches. Even your neck muscles start to shorten and tighten the more you run. Helping to stretch muscles pre-and post run will help with those aches, but most importantly, they also prevent injuries from creeping in.
Acclimate Your Body
Studies show that acclimating your body in a heated environment for a minimum of 8 days before your body is required to be at its peak performance is an excellent way to maximize endurance levels required for longer runs. Just like running hills makes you a faster, stronger runner; practicing yoga in a heated environment also prepares your cardiovascular system for that big race you have been planning for.
Your Body is a Teacher too!
Your body has an ability to tell you when you should be fearful about something, it tells you if something is too hot to the touch, it also tells you when you’ve injured yourself too! We’ve become accustomed to listening to our body when it’s too late. Practicing yoga helps you to understand your bodies messages without having to have gone too far to hear it. This clarity is what allows athletes to know when to push harder, hold back or stay steady.
Keep running well into your latter years
Integrate any yoga into your lifestyle and look for studios that offer styles of yoga that support the health and longevity of the spine. The Moksha Yoga sequence does just that, and it’s always so inspiring when we see students who are in their 60’s and 70’s coming to class with a great sense of mobility and ease.
-Moksha Yoga Victoria