Guest Post: Benefits of incorporating yoga into your running routine

My name is Caitlin, I am a Registered Yoga Teacher as well as a Registered Dental Hygienist.  I grew up in Boston, and moved to Vermont for a few months to take a Hatha Yoga teacher training. I have since moved to sunny San Diego where I am hoping to continue my education in Yoga Therapy. I also enjoy hiking, swimming, cooking, playing with my dog, live music, and a good beer!

Cross-Country Runner Turned Yogi

It wasn’t until a few years after I stopped running that I found Yoga as a form of exercise, stress relief, and fun!  It’s been at least three years that I have really been involved in Yoga and I find myself devoted to it.  Now that I’m back on the running bandwagon, I’d love to talk about ways I incorporate yoga into my running routine. The difference I feel running, when I have a regular yoga routine in place, is impeccable.

Five ways Yoga can improve your running:

  • It will improve your focus. Yoga can help you understand how to quiet your mind and breathe into discomfort. This adds a wonderful tool to your running arsenal and helps you get through those grueling long runs when you can’t get into your groove.
  • It will help develop balanced strength. Many runners can become injured due to an imbalance in their muscle strength.
  • It will keep you running. By understanding how to be kinder to your body, you lessen the chance for injuries.
  • You will find a supportive community. Much like being a runner, finding support within a Yoga community can help you feel centered, and present in every moment.
  • It will help you understand your body better. Yoga brings your strengths and weaknesses to the forefront, as much as you try to ignore them. Much like running, poses that you may hate the most, are the ones you should typically work on.

Here are a few poses to help you with your running:

  1. Wide Leg Standing Forward Bend. Stand with legs spread about 4 ft apart, feet parallel, toes pointing slightly inward, hands on hips. Keeping hips stable, lift spine up, draw the low belly in, and lengthen your lower back. Bend forward from the hips, bringing the fingertips to floor. Push into the floor with your hands, lift the chest, and draw shoulders onto back, keeping the spine long and legs active. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
  2. Lunge. Kneel on the floor. Bring your right foot forward and bend right knee 90 degrees so your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keeping hips stable, lift spine and draw the belly in. Stretch torso forward until it rests on right thigh. Place hands on floor on either side of right foot. Slide left knee back until leg is straight and turn left toes. Press the ball of left food into the floor. Hold for 5-10 breaths then repeat other side.
  3. Front Thigh Stretch. Kneel on mat or blanket and sit on heels with toes tucked under. Place your hands on the floor about 6 inches behind your glutes, fingertips facing towards your body. Draw low belly in and slide tailbone forward, toward heels. Press shins and hands into the floor and lift your butt several inches off heels. Hold 5-10 breaths then switch sides.
  4. Bound Angle Pose. Sitting on the floor, bring the soles of the feet together and bring the heels as close to your groin as you can while keeping the spine straight. Press the soles of the feet together to allow thighs to descend toward the floor. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
  5. Legs Up The Wall Pose. Sit next to a wall and lie on your back, bringing your knees into your chest. Straighten your legs and place them on the wall while wiggling your butt closer to the wall. Allow your heels to rest gentle on the wall. Extend your arms overhead for an extended stretch.

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.

– John Rohn


3 responses to “Guest Post: Benefits of incorporating yoga into your running routine

  1. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Kapotasana) is also a delicious external hip opener, also helping alleviate sciatic nerve problems.
    Also try Triangle pose (Trikonasana), or Supta Baddha Konasana. These are a few of my favorite things.. 🙂

  2. Pingback: This valentines day… love your body! | Will Run For Food

  3. Pingback: On Valentines Day: Love Your Body! | Will Run For Food

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