Thursday, September 29, 2011

why runners need yoga (or at least why this runner does)

I know this doesn't apply to ALL runners- but in general, I find that we're a bit of a "Type A" bunch. We construct training plans, we have paces to follow, and prescribed workouts to complete. There are a lot of numbers and there's a lot of thinking and planning. Even while running- we're very rarely just running for fun. We're in training, we're setting goals, and we're running with purpose.
running for fun
There's nothing wrong with that...but man it can get exhausting. This is where yoga comes in for me. Not only does it help with my tight muscles (and boy are they tight) but helps with my mind too. I don't set a goal in yoga. I can't compare my last class with the current one. I get on my mat and I breathe. It doesn't matter if my heels don't touch the ground in downward dog or if today my body wants to do cobra instead of upward dog. I just breathe and I flow through the poses.

Not only does it loosen my muscles, but it loosens ME up. As I was in pigeon pose the other day, I could feel myself letting go. Letting go of my day, letting go of my stress, and letting go of any other nagging problem I was hanging on to. That and wow did my hips feel better after hanging out there for awhile. :)

As the class wrapped up and we headed into savasana, the instructor said "and welcome home." On another day, I may have found that statement to be a little weird. But for that class, it resonated. I just lay back on my mat and I breathed. I didn't think, I didn't judge how things went in the class. I just lay there, I breathed and I let myself feel at home...and it was great.

So runners- be thee not afraid! Yoga is different and it can be a little scary at first, but it is well worth the time. You might loosen more than your muscles.

Is there anything that helps you let go?

PS- I think I'm the only one who can end up with that annoying water in the ear sound after a hot yoga class. I keep forgetting NOT to roll onto my side without wiping the sweat off the side of my head first. Yeah- I'm THAT sweaty.


Marlene said...

I always feel great when I get into a yoga routine - so why can't I stick to it??

Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner said...

I completely agree with this--and I agree that a lot of runners are "type A" (myself included) and could use the calm and relaxation that yoga brings!

healthy ashley said...

This post made me miss running!! I agree yoga is a huge benefit to runners. I believe I never injured myself through the Ironman and ultras because I kept with my yoga practice.

Katy Widrick said...

I get water in my ear, too :)

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

I have had a much stronger yoga practice this year than years prior and so far 2011 is my first year of running steadily that I have not had some sort of nagging injury.

Doing yoga at the hot yoga studio where I do trade work really helps because if I'm signed up to do my "trade" that night I'm not going to skip the class. I try to go at least twice a week. It dropped back to about once a week in the summer but I'm hoping to pick it back up to 2-3 times a week now that it's fall/winter.

Cotter Crunch said...

i'm Type A in some areas but not Running, crazy isn't it?! Yoga really has helped me with fitness in general. And learning to be patient with our bodies.

Sarah Grecco said...

I here you! Yoga has chilled me out a bit and I LOVE IT. I only do hot yoga but it totally rocks my world and I am SO SORE afterwards....great workout.

Great post.

Get UP & Go

Nicole @ "Haute Runner" said...

I love yoga because I feel like I am relaxing and working out at the same time. Such a great thing to do!

Sarah said...

I hate yoga but I accept that I absolutely need it to stay healthy. It keeps me feeling limber less tight. I just bought an Ashtanga DVD actually!

kristen said...

I am glad to hear that someone else gets sweat in her ear! And I hope you all enjoy your next yoga class or DVD session :) (even if you do often hate it)