Ways Yoga Enhances a Runner’s Life (and How to Make Space for It) June 17 2016, 0 Comments
The benefits of yoga are lauded nearly as often as the benefits of eating organic. There’s no doubt the practice is good for both the mind and body, but athletes who are busy pursuing other sports and fitness activities may not feel that yoga is necessary. But for runners, yoga can act as one half a whole exercise pie; where running helps improve cardiovascular fitness and maintain a healthy weight, yoga increases muscle tone, flexibility and focus. Here are a few of the benefits yoga offers to runners:
Getting in Tune with Your Body
Runners are so adept at pushing through pain, and while this is a commendable show of mental and physical strength, it’s not always easy on the body. Yoga gives you the opportunity to get in tune with tired muscles, to build and stretch them while simultaneously giving them a break. Through yoga, you may be able to sense an injury closing in and prevent it. It can also ease the pain of current injuries, and may offer an alternative workout when pain sidelines you.
Building up Your Core
Running is an amazing workout, but if you’ve ever seen someone with a beer belly finish a marathon, you know that running alone won’t give you the core of a Greek deity. But strengthening your core outside of running can make you an even better runner. Yoga challenges and builds these muscles, allowing you to become a better runner.
With every pose and transition in yoga, breathing is of paramount importance. Slowing down the breath allows you to hold a pose longer and even puts you in a more calm state of mind. Learning to focus on the breath can help you build better habits that will allow your muscles the oxygen they need to sustain a run.
Setting up a Yoga Space at Home
If running is your preferred form of exercise, you may not want to commit to a gym or class membership in order to casually do yoga. But you can make room for yoga even in a small home or apartment. If you need more space in your living area, consider decorating with lightweight furniture pieces that can easily roll out of the way, or get furniture sliders to make moving your current furnishings easier.
Use your yoga mat to measure your space. You don’t need a whole room dedicated to the practice, just an area where you can stretch out your limbs. But go beyond claiming an open corner of your home; make sure that you feel at peace and able to concentrate in the area you choose. Let light flood in through your windows, play calming music, or hang a large photo of nature right in your line of sight. Try to declutter the space and avoid distractions. Move technology like your laptop and phone to the other side of the room while you’re escaping into the practice. You’ll be doing your mind and your body good.
Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an editor and writer for Modernize.com with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.