If you know a runner, you know they often suffer pain and injury as a result of their sport. Many are now turning to yoga, not only to help speed the healing process after injury, but also to help prevent future injuries, increase their performance, and enhance their experience.
Common poses like forward bends, low lunge and mountain pose are recommended for increasing flexibility and creating better alignment and posture. For runners, flexibility not only increases range of motion, which can mean a longer, more effective stride, but also helps make their bodies more pliable and better able to resist injury. Proper body mechanics work in much the same way, by training the muscles to move in ways that are protective rather than detrimental.
Practicing pranayama is recommended to increase lung capacity and better breath awareness while running. This can also help increase mindfulness, which is recommended to help runners get in “the zone”.
Yoga as an effective cross-training exercise is not a new idea, and research has shown that yoga can help prevent injuries and increase performance in athletes.
Of course, to see real benefits, regular practice is required. For people new to yoga, practicing with a knowledgeable teacher is recommended to ensure proper alignment. As the popularity of yoga for runners grows you may be able to find a dedicated yoga class for runners in your area.