In the modern age, two of the most popular forms of physical activity are yoga and running. From full-time athletes to desk-bound workers, many people enjoy the physical and mental benefits associated with yoga and running. But did you know that combining them can drastically enhance your running performance? In this article, we’ll be exploring the relationship between yoga and running and look at five yoga poses that will help you get the most out of your running.
First, let’s consider why yoga and running have become so popular. Yoga is a meditative practice that emphasizes relaxation and healthy breathing. It is extremely customizable, which makes it a suitable form of exercise for a wide range of people. Running, meanwhile, boasts an impressive selection of body-strengthening benefits and cardiovascular health. There are also a variety of styles that can be joined, from 5K fun runs to competitive marathons.
So what about the synergies between yoga and running? Both practices offer an effective way to build cardiovascular strength and encourage physical fitness, but couple them together and you get access to further fitness and performance benefits. That’s because yoga offers the perfect way to build flexibility, which is key to better running. By incorporating certain yoga poses into your routine, you can help improve your running form, reduce injury risk and improve your overall performance.
The Warrior Pose
A. Overview of The Warrior Pose:
The Warrior Pose is one of the most powerful yoga poses that is great for runners. To do the Warrior Pose, you start in a standing position with your feet together and your arms outstretched above your head. Then, step your right leg out to the right side, followed by your left leg and then pivot your feet outward. Lastly, bend your right leg at the knee while keeping your left leg straight and slowly lower your arms towards the floor. As you hold the pose, draw your navel to your spine and squint your gaze.
B. Benefits of the Warrior Pose for Running:
The Warrior Pose increases endurance and strengthens the muscles in your legs, core and arms. It helps to improve balance and stability, making it easier for a runner to maintain their speed for longer periods of time. Additionally, it helps to increase the flexibility in your knees and ankles, allowing you to move faster and with better form. Lastly, the Warrior Pose helps to improve your cardiovascular health and can even help boost your energy levels before a run or race.
The Garland Pose
A. Overview of the Pose
The Garland Pose (or malasana) is a deep hip opener that strengthens the entire lower body. This grounding, yet empowering posture is an important yoga pose for everybody, regardless of your experience level. To enter the pose, stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and fold forward at your hips, hinging your torso down between your legs. Bend your knees as much as needed to go deeper, and gently bring your palms to the floor. You can also modify this pose by placing a block between your feet.
B. Benefits of the Garland Pose for Running
The Garland Pose offers a range of benefits for running performance. Firstly, this hip opener strengthens your glutes and quads, the major muscles needed for running. As well as strengthening your core muscles, it also lengthens the muscles in your legs, improving flexibility and allowing for a longer stride while running. Additionally, the Garland Pose helps to alleviate tension in the hips and alleviates any pain from tight muscles. The pose also opens your hips and stretches the inner groin and hamstrings, both of which are crucial for supporting you as you run.
The Downward-Facing Dog Pose
A. Overview of the Pose
The Downward-Facing Dog Pose is an incredibly popular yoga pose that can be seen in nearly any yoga class. Essentially, you begin on your hands and knees, then push your hips up and back while straightening your legs and arms, forming an upside-down V with your body. You can find slightly different variations of this pose, but the basic form is the same.
B. Benefits of the Downward-Facing Dog Pose for Running
Aside from its amazing calming and restorative powers, the Downward-Facing Dog Pose is an incredibly beneficial pose to runners. Within the pose, you’re activating both your posterior and anterior muscles, a key combination for gaining newfound strength within your running form. This can help to improve your posture, increase flexibility within your spine, and even help you to properly distribute your weight when running. Additionally, this pose can even help to reduce the risk of any running related injury, as the strong opening of your hips and legs may help to reduce joint and muscle stress. All in all, the Downward-Facing Dog Pose can be a wonderful pose for those looking to enhance their running performance!
The Tree Pose
A. Overview of the Tree Pose
The Tree Pose is one of the most beneficial poses in yoga for runners. It requires you to stand on one leg with the other foot resting on the opposite inner thigh, as you balance and hold the pose. You can also bring your hands together in prayer position to further enhance the balance. You can keep your eyes open to keep your body in balance or close your eyes for a few moments to help you concentrate and stay balanced.
B. Benefits of the Tree Pose for Running
The Tree Pose helps to strengthen your core, improve balance, and increase flexibility in your legs and hips, which are all important attributes for running an efficient and effective race. This pose strengthens the muscles in the legs as well as your feet, improving stability and balance, making it easier for runners to maintain correct form. This can in turn help reduce the risk of injury by improving your running efficiency. Furthermore, practicing this pose helps to relax your body and improve concentration which can be especially beneficial for those running long distance races.
The Child’s Pose
The Child’s Pose is an often overlooked yoga pose but its great for helping improve your running performance. When incorporating this restful pose, you can enjoy its physical and mental benefits.
A. Overview of the Pose
The Child’s Pose is considered a restorative and relieving pose originating from Hatha Yoga. You come into this pose by kneeling on the ground and bringing your forehead to the ground. Your arms can stay by your side, extended out in front of you or rest on top of each other. You stay in Child’s Pose for around 30 seconds to one minute while focusing on your breathing.
B. Benefits of the Child’s Pose for Running
This pose helps to combat tightness in the hips, legs and lower back which can be caused by running. It helps to stretch out and release those muscles that feel tense after running long distances. The Child’s Pose also promotes relaxation and calms the mind which can be beneficial for relieving stress and anxiety. On top of that, it can help to improve your concentration, aiding with focus and performance on the track.
Yoga is a great way to enhance your running performance. Through the 5 poses discussed in this article, you can find the right combination of stretch and strength to make your running experience more efficient and effective. It’s important to remember to pay attention to your body, move slowly, and make sure to relax in the poses.
To incorporate yoga into your routine, try doing the 5 poses before running. Start with a few poses just to warm up your body, then you can add more poses to stretch and strengthen your muscles. Taking a few minutes to do these poses before running will make a huge difference in your performance. Try combining it with a few moments of breathing and relaxation. This will help calm your mind and let you go into your run more focused and energized.