So one of the main things I’ve learned running the past several years is that you need to do other stuff just to be able to run. I’ve found that if you want to avoid the injuries that runners often get – you gots to cross train. I play soccer, ride a bike, lift weights, swim, trail run, etc. etc. But I think the most important thing I do for running is going to yoga. It combines a lot of other cross training elements in one session – stretching, balance, core work, muscle work, strength, flexibility, etc.
One important lesson I’ve learned from going to yoga is the importance of breathing. Breath is life. The instructor I go to see really stresses the importance of breathing. In fact, if you do it right, yoga can become almost a cardio workout. We also sometimes practice different breathing techniques. I can’t list them here as I don’t know how to spell them, but it’s still fascinating to me. One thing I’ve learned is that there are four parts to every breath – and sometimes we work on the different parts.
Why does breathing matter to runners? I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I run, I get out of breath. Whenever I do, I try to remember what I’ve learned in yoga about breathing. Also, I recently read an article about running and it said when you’re out of breath, that’s usually because you haven’t fully exhaled the previous breath. So you’ve got some dead air in your lungs, basically. So I try to practice expelling each breath fully. Seems to help.
Other than that, yoga also forces you to practice clearing your head, calming your mind, and being in the moment. Something else I take with me when I run. To me this is the hardest part of yoga – just being in the moment and not thinking about what I have to do after we’re done, or whatever else pops into my mind. Same in running, it’s hard to just keep in the moment and not think about how much further I have to go. It makes it easier if you just concentrate on the next step you have to take – one at a time. After all, we run cause we enjoy it, so might as well be in the moment and enjoy every awful moment of it. Ha!
Those are just some brief thoughts I’ve got on yoga. Plenty of physical and mental benefits to it! I’m positive it’s helped me avoid some running injuries. And I will tell you this much – I always feel better after class. I can tell a difference in my body and attitude. It can be spiritual and emotional…just like like a nice long run.
Give it a chance if you get a chance. Peace out Internet!