What is yoga is, and why do runners think they don’t need it?
Lots of runners like ‘action’, movement, speed; the fact that running is not tied to a specific time. ‘Yoga is too slow, it feels like I’m doing nothing just standing/laying there’ … I used to be one of you.
The trick is not to think of yoga as separate poses and stretches; it’s a flow that is connected by breathing, and if you relax into it, it can be very much the action you’re chasing.
If you own a dog you must have noticed how much yoga it does in a day; without thinking, intuitively stretching whenever it needs to. Yoga is exactly that – connection and union.
So why should you do yoga? The benefits are endless.
- Flexibility. The farther you can reach the farther you can go. The more flexible you are the wider range of stride you have. You can jump over a big puddle you just noticed, dodge a dog that suddenly ran in front of you, jump over obstacles, adapt to changes, surfaces and situations faster.
- Balance. You can appreciate it especially in these muddy and snowy conditions, with lots of hidden surprises under the surface. When you land on something slippery, for example, the rest of your body automatically moves to balance you out and keep you on your feet.
- Strength. How is yoga different from the fast paced high impact sessions that you’re already doing? When you hold a pose for 10-60 seconds, you really do have to activate all those little muscles, find them and hold them. You will find the differences between your left and right (if there are any) and you will have time to work on them. In a fast paced class there is no time for this.
- Breathing. Collapsed back and shoulders compress the chest and so your lungs can’t expand fully. Yoga opens these parts and you’ll learn to breathe deeper and to your full capacity.
- Awareness. (Of your physical body, mind and surrounding), well-being and much more. The better you know your body (and yourself), the better you will feel. Do you remember the days you started to run and how much it changed your life? Do you want to feel that way again? Give yoga a try!
There is no such thing as ‘I’m not flexible, yoga is not for me’. Everyone can reach further. Yoga will give your running new dimensions. There are many types of yoga. Go and visit different types and find the one that resonates with you the most. There are studios that run runners’ specific classes.