I've written a blog post on this subject about a year ago, but wanted to do another on the benefits that yoga can bring to a runners' training cycle. When I first mention to someone that I practice yoga, their first response is usually, "I'm so inflexible, I can't do yoga!" That is why you SHOULD do yoga, having strength without flexibility is an imbalance that yoga can help improve. You don't have to be perfect at any of it. Being aware of what you are doing and focusing on breathing and staying calm is what makes it yoga as opposed to just stretching. Here are a few more benefits of yoga:
- Yoga can help tight muscles that are more prone to injury, loosening up and getting a larger range of motion in those muscles and joints can help prevent tears, strains, or repetitive over-use injuries.
- Yoga will not only help with flexibility, but it strengthens the body as a whole. When holding a yoga pose the muscles have to stabilize the joints, and many standing and balancing poses work smaller stabilizing muscles that are often overlooked.
- Yoga will also increase your core strength, and often times it's in poses we don't expect it, like standing poses, which will help even more with your running strength.
- Yoga can help with your mental training. If you can bring the same determination and patience that it takes to master a challenging balancing pose, or intense back-bending pose, you will learn to make almost any situation manageable, whether it's halfway through a 5k, or at mile 20 of a marathon.
So, maybe try a downward dog, childs pose, or even just savasana (just laying still on your back) and see how it makes you feel. Check out an online yoga class to start, and if you're in the Sacramento area you can always find me at Natomas Yoga studio teaching on Tuesdays at 5pm.