How to Bring Yoga to Running

Bring the focus from your yoga mat over to your running to become a stronger runner. happyfitmama.com

I’ve been a runner longer than I’ve been a yogi. Running has always been my first love. But when I started incorporating more yoga into my life, I noticed a difference in my running. There are TONS of benefits of doing yoga if you are a runner – read all about it HERE.

If you aren’t doing yoga, you should. But no pressure because there’s no pressure in yoga.

At first glance, you may think that running and yoga have absolutely nothing in common. The two are complete opposites. Or are they? Some think running is all about pushing yourself to the max. Some think yoga is all about relaxation.

However, how many times have you gone out for a run to relax?

How many times have you gone out for a run to clear your mind and find focus?

I know I have done all the above. And I’ve done the very same thing while practicing yoga.

Runners can learn a lot about running from yoga. The two have much more in common than meets the eye. And when you combine the two? It’s a powerhouse.

How can you bring yoga to running?

Notice Your Footfalls

Running is a series of repetitive movements of standing on one leg. Your footfalls are like a metronome that make a lovely rhythm. Listen to it as a nice way to help clear the junk that accumulates in your brain every single day.

Post run crow pose | happyfitmama.com

Breathe

How’s your breathing? Are you taking meaningful breaths? Are you taking shallow breaths? Even as you run up a hill or pick up the pace in speed work, pay attention to your breathing. Oxygen is what you need to make those muscles do the hard work. Deep inhales and exhales will fill your body with fresh oxygen and energy.

Find Your Focus

In yoga, it’s called drishti. In running, it’s called focus. Rather than looking around, set your eyes straight ahead. Watch where you’re going but don’t worry about what’s happening around you. Stay focused and in your own space.

Put the power where you need it but relax the rest. 

In yoga and running, relax what does not serve you. Do a scan of your body – where are you holding tension? Is it in your shoulders as you round the corner of the track during a brutal 800m? Tense shoulders are doing nothing for your speed. Release it and put that force into your legs for more power.

Warrior | happyfitmama.comPhoto from Rise.Run.Retreat.

Run your own race.

Running and yoga are not the place to keep up with the Jones’ or Kardashian’s. But really, you should never try to keep up with either of those families. Particularly the Kardashian’s. Don’t worry about who is passing you in a race. Don’t worry what speed so and so is doing on the treadmill next to you. Don’t worry about how bendy the yogi is on the mat next to you. You are your own person.

Work from the ground up.

You know I’m all about that base, ’bout that base… Cheesy? Yes. But it’s true, your feet are the foundation of running and yoga. A strong base is a must.  As you take each stride, pay attention to where your foot is landing. Notice the strength in your feet, legs, and core. That’s your powerhouse.

Side Angle Pose Post Run in Hawaii | happyfitmama.com

Have a mantra. 

In yoga, we set an intention or mantra for our practice. It’s a way to bring the mind back when you get distracted and disrupts the focus. The same thing does wonders in running. When your brain yells at you that you can’t. run. one. more. step., break out that mantra and put it on repeat. ‘I can do hard shit. I am strong. Believe, endure, achieve.’ are all mantras that are in my head when I’m deep in the pain cave. 

Be grateful.

Find gratitude for the ability to run and all the marvelous running has done for you.

How does yoga enhance your running? 

If you don’t do yoga, why not?

24 comments on “How to Bring Yoga to Running

  1. Hi Angela, what a wonderful post!
    Thank you so much for writing!! I have been a runner for the longest time but i ‘ve never practiced yoga. I tried once and – i did like it – and then by coincidence i guess i landed in the ER with a twisted ovarian cyst doubling in pain. Doc said it wasn’t because i tried yoga but for the longest time i was just a little scared to try again :( But your post is pretty motivational :) any tips for a newbie?? Maybe a post dedicated to how a newbie could start? Thanks again.
    Ellen recently posted..Sunday Food Prep InspirationMy Profile

    1. Oh no! Please don’t let that be your last impression of yoga. I highly suggest going to a beginners yoga class at a yoga studio. The teacher will give you modifications to fit you. It really is not painful and can do your body a world of good! Good luck!
      Angela recently posted..How to Bring Yoga to RunningMy Profile

  2. Even though I have known and believed in the connection of yoga and running, you have managed to shed some new light on this subject for me! In running we have mantras and yoga there are intentions but I kind of love the idea of setting an intention (instead of a GOAL) for a run. I also love the connections you make to your base (not cheesy either but fitting) and noticing your footfalls! I have worn my headphones less and less on outdoor runs over the years and there is something great about tuning into yourself and noticing breath, footfalls and movement.
    Namaste.
    Allie recently posted..The Rundown – Staying AliveMy Profile

  3. I know that yoga has brought immense benefits to my running. If nothing else, yoga has given me such an awareness of my body in space. It’s a weird concept, but it has helped my form and my stride. And then there’s that whole breathing thing…

  4. I love yoga but somehow I have let it fall to the wayside. I haven’t done it in months and my body is craving it! I quit my gym, so I don’t have a place to take a class that isn’t ridiculously expensive but I find that I do so much better in a class environment. Still trying to work that out!

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  6. I’m so glad you posted this! I enjoy both activities, but it seems like people are EITHER a runner OR a yogi; there’s no in between. I love how you combined them!

  7. Great post. I’ve seen how much yoga has brought to my other fitness areas and it is pretty amazing. I hadn’t ever realized before how much it would help.

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