Photo by Ali Kaukas for Wanderlust

Photo by Ali Kaukas for Wanderlust

The Blonde Side is proud to announce we recently snagged a by-line over at Wanderlust talking about the most common questions runners have (like myself) when it comes to yoga.

As runners we often approach our grueling sport with a one-track mind. Most runners have been told that incorporating yoga into their running regime can yield extreme benefits. Muscles that profit from a yoga practice include hamstrings, hip flexors, quads, abdominals, IT band, glutes, lower back, and even your feet. You could say the benefits are innumerable. But how to bring yoga into your running routine if you’re new to the practice? Here are some common questions runners have when it comes to incorporating yoga into their weekly sweat sessions.

Why should runners practice yoga?

Not only does yoga elongate your muscles, but it also aids in muscle recovery and helps prevent injuries (and helps tremendously with stiffness)—all crucial for runners. If you’re seriously into running, why not do all you can to reduce your risk of injury? It’s no secret runners are prone to injury.

What if I don’t have a lot of time for yoga?

If you already log a lot of miles during the week, finding even more time for yoga may seem impossible. This is a question Cari Merriam with CorePower Yoga gets a lot. If you’re short on time and looking to create more flexibility in your legs, hamstrings, quads, and calves, Cari suggests forward foldshalf splitsstanding splits with jivamukti squatspyramid poseextended hand to big toe poseLord of the Dance pose, and downward dog crossing one heel over the other—holding each for 3-5 breaths. Modify as needed.

You can also make time for yoga right when you wake up with these five morning yoga hacks.

Can you practice yoga and run in the same day? Is one better to do before the other?

Short answer: It depends. “This is dependent based on what type of yoga you are practicing,” Cari says. “A good rule of thumb is to do active yoga postures to engage core and warm up large muscles groups prior to running. For example, if your routine prior to running includes active postures like crescent lunge, warrior II, chair, squats, or lunges, after you run you want to incorporate more passive stretching—think half splits, runners lunge, supine figure four, forward folds.”

Other than stretching, how can yoga improve my runs?

April Jackson, co-founder of the fitness and lifestyle consultancy Sweat Everyday, gets this question a lot. “Yoga can benefit a runner’s gait through the balance and stability they work through in the yoga practice. Balance and stability improves the runner’s posture, allowing for a smoother stride and improved gait,” she says. “Yoga also helps runners improve their breathing by using diaphragmatic breathing, which helps runners improve aerobic endurance, allowing them to runner farther.”

Cara Gilman, a Massachusetts-based running coach and yoga teacher, agrees. “Yoga brings balance to your overworked muscles and provides the strength you need to support your running so you can do it more efficiently. Yoga is also strategic in helping you learn to meditate and focus yourself in the mental game of running, allowing you to challenge and push yourself,” she says.

Click here to see the full post on the Wanderlust website (and check out all their other amazing articles related to fitness and wellness!).

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