Yoga and running have become a match made in heaven these last few years. Yoga classes are becoming more and more popular and so is running. The reason they're both so popular is the combined health benefits of the two activities.
- Improving cardiac and muscular performance (running)
- Stretching and strengthening muscles (yoga)
- The secretion of endorphins, the pleasure hormone, during sporting activities.
- Relaxation and meditation
Furthermore, yoga is useful for alleviating back pain, increasing happiness, improving the digestive system, which more than makes up for the negative effects running can have on joints and your posture. Yoga for runners is the perfect solution.
Whether you’re already an athlete and looking to attend a yoga class or an absolute beginner, these two activities are great for your physical and mental well-being. If you want to learn more about yoga philosophy, read about our suggested yoga documentaries blog post here.
Yoga, the Perfect Sport for Muscular Strengthening
Stretching Your Muscles
Why do professional athletes get regular massages?
It helps their muscles relax. If you can't get a massage after every training session, stretching is a good way to take care of your body.
Do you remember how your school PE teacher would make you stretch before and after each session? This isn’t just to stop you aching the following day, it allows you to increase the benefits of exercising.
The aches and pains you get from the following day are when the muscles shrink. They shrink because they’re still a bit tense, even after having exercised (think of it like tiny cramps). Stretching helps the muscles retain their elasticity and can improve their flexibility.
Yoga not only helps you in terms of stretching, it also forces you to use your whole body. Even if you are practising yoga at home and don't have a yoga teacher with you, you can relieve tension and enjoy the restorative benefits of yoga near me any place, any time.
Find out how you can get started on your meditation journey...
Muscle Tone and Getting to Know Your Body
Toned, not shredded!
Yoga can help you tone your muscles. While you’re not doing weights, you’re going to be supporting your own weight in all the different positions. It’s therefore not a pointless exercise and your effort will be rewarded with an increase in your physical strength!
Yoga poses make use of almost all your muscles. At the same time, it helps you be in harmony with your body and can help you gain a better awareness and understanding of yourself.
Yoga can also help you control how you breathe.
Some yoga postures, such as those in Pranayama yoga, relax your intercostal muscles, which increases the flexibility of your rib cage, allowing you to increase your lung capacity. Over time, this will have a positive effect on your endurance as you'll be less out of breath at the end of a run.
You can take classes for Yoga classes near me here.
The Best Yoga Poses for Runners
There are a number of yoga postures for runners. Over time, you’ll learn which ones are best for you. In the meantime, here are some of the most common ones for runners.
Don’t forget you can do the lotus position for joint pains.
Yoga Postures for Working on Your Balance and Breathing
These are great for starting a simple yoga session before you go for a run.
Be aware that some of these poses will require a yoga mat.
- Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana: Strengthens the thighs and arms and improves balance.
- Pigeon Pose: Increases flexibility in the hips.
- Downward-facing dog: Relieves the whole body. Gives energy.
- Upward-facing dog: Good for your spine and ribcage.
- Child’s pose: Relaxes the body and mind and can keep you calm.
- The Chair Pose: Strengthens thighs and ankles.
- Phalakasana: Strengthens abs.
- Fish pose: Opens the chest and throat.
Some positions are perfect in sequence. You could go directly from the downward-facing dog to the pigeon pose.
Why not put together your own sequence. You could also do a few of these after a run to loosen up your joints.
Learn how to choose your perfect yoga mat!
Dynamic Yoga Sequences for Runners to Improve Resistance
Not all of these positions are recommended for beginners. However, they are useful for runners as they reinforce some of the muscles we’ve talked about.
Again, be aware that some of these poses will require a yoga mat.
- Anjaneyasana: Stretches and works your thighs. There are some variations that work on your torso and your hips at the same time.
- Three-legged downward dog: This physical pose increases the flexibility of your hips and flexor muscles.
- Camatkarasana: a complicated pose from an upward-facing dog (which can be followed by a three-legged downward dog)
- Half Lord of the Fishes Pose: aligns your spine.
- Marichi's Pose: tones the stomach and relieves back pain.
- Triangle pose: reinforces your waist, legs, and spine.
- Boat pose: reinforces your waist, legs, spine, abs, and back.
Some positions can be done standing up and others while sitting or lying down. Again, you should work out which programme works for you and your running.
Improve Your Cardio with Yoga and Running
There are plenty of benefits to yoga. There are also a lot of benefits to running. It can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases by strengthening your heart, reducing stress, and can also improve your self-confidence.
Working on cardio is simpler than yoga poses, you just need to run and not think of anything. Almost anyone can do it and it can be really enjoyable.
You can do a lot for your cardio. In fact, you’ll improve your endurance a lot by jogging for 20, 45, or 50 minutes. It’s great for your heart, but it can get a bit repetitive. For a few seconds or minutes, you can get out of your comfort zone and strengthen your heart even more.
Basically, there are three cardiac rhythms:
- Warming up/Recovery: 50% cardio
- Endurance: at least 60% cardio
- Resistance: at least 80% cardio
Running works on your endurance (between 60% and 70% of your maximum). To improve your performance, you can alternate this with sections of resistance followed by recovery either in the middle of your run or at the end of your workouts.
Don’t run too quickly for too long. It’s good to work on your cardio but make sure you don’t hurt yourself! On the other hand, running can be quite intensive on the joints in your legs while doing very little for your upper body. This is why it’s great to combine it with yoga.
Learn easy yoga poses for beginners...
How Do You Combine Yoga and Running Exercises?
The reason these two activities go so well together is that they’re great for your health but they can also be done in the same places. This is really useful for your schedule because you can do them together.
The main idea is to do your yoga poses either before, during, or after your run. Some people might say:
How can I bring a yoga mat and blocks with me when I go running?
That’s a good point! Not everyone has a small garden where they can roll out their yoga mat after their run. The mat can be really useful, too. Of course, you mightn’t want to leave it at the entrance to the park because it might get pinched.
If this is the case, here’s how you can combine these two activities without bringing a load of stuff with you.
Do Poses Before Jogging
Do a few yoga stretches for runners before you head out for your run. You can do these either outside or on a yoga mat in your house before you leave. This is a great way to feel good when you start running.
During and After, without a Mat
Yoga positions using your knees and ankles don’t always require a mat, just a smooth surface.
Your feet and ankles, like in the upward-facing dog positions, can be comfortably placed on grass.
You can also invest in some knee pads. You can get ones that are specifically for yoga, which resemble little sponges that cover your knees. These are great for doing yoga outside.
What about running? You may have to transport them in your pockets or in a small bag. The advantage of these knee pads is that the cheapest ones on the market can be picked up for very little and can protect your knees.
You don’t always need to bring yoga blocks, either. Windowsills, ledges, rocks, logs, and tree stumps can be used for some positions.
Find out more answers to common questions about yoga...
What Equipment Do You Need to Do Yoga and Running?
If you’re going to do both, you’re going to need equipment that you can use for both.
By that we mean:
- Comfortable clothing: yoga pants.
- Running shoes
- A mat or knee pads
- Sports bra
More than Saving Time
Yoga is a state of mind. If you want to combine running and yoga, you can’t practise yoga poses as if they were gymnastics. You need to get your brain involved and let go.
It’s a type of spiritual meditation that works on your body and relaxing. As you’ll see, that’s why it goes great with running.
If you have a private yoga teacher training you, you should ask them to tell you about yoga routines, which yoga mats you should look at, the best ways to warm up to avoid injuries, and the different types of yoga (Ashtanga yoga, Hatha yoga, Vinyasa yoga, etc.). If you don't, don't forget that there are plenty of yoga videos that you can watch online. Find a yoga routine that works for you and get on the mat! Now discover our selection of documentaries about yoga!
Thinking about trying yoga to help improve your running performance? Find an instructor to begin your yoga class.