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.
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.
Photo 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.
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.
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?