As an ultra running yogi, I feel strongly about yoga being for everyone, especially runners. I know that some folks believe that tighter is actually better for runners. That faster runners need to be less flexible. I think that is nonsense. We can all improve, as runners, through a regular Yoga practice. This DOES NOT mean we runners need to achieve perfect alignment and work at the full peak of a yoga pose to be good yogi’s. It simply means that yoga is indeed for runners.
Here are a few things a runner can gain through a regular yoga practice:
- Mental Focus. Meditation teaches you how to use your mind to help and not hinder you. How often do you underperform in a race or bail on a hard workout because of the mental power it takes to be your best? I could go on about this for pages (Look for this in a future post.)
- Core Strength. Plank, boat pose and more. As runners we need a strong core, and yoga can get you there.
- Ankle Strength. As a trail runner this is huge! If you have trouble rolling your ankles, start going to yoga. FOR REAL!!
- Balance. Running is controlled falling. Running on trails is controlled falling in multiple directions. The better your balance, the less likely you are to fall uncontrolled to the ground. And the more likely you are to be able to run fast over rocks, roots and through twisty trees.
- Acceptance. We all have good and bad days, both on the trails and in life. So much is out of our control. Learning to appreciate what we gain through the journey and not just looking to have our happy ending can make all the difference. When life gets in the way of training, when we show up at a race sick, when our tummies pick the most important race of the year to go bad, it is easy to lose so much. Learning to accept and even appreciate the package that is your life is huge. For me, letting the miles be my goal and not just the finish line makes all the difference. Because life is the journey and not just the finish, right?
I’ll close with the funniest picture I have ever been a part of. These are the yogis I graduated with in December. And that is me in the center, on the ground. Not sure why we all thought this would turn out cool. It was a bomb. Still makes me laugh. Laughter is good though. 😉
– Melanie Fryar
Posted on 26 Mar 2014