Yoga for Runners: Benefits of Cross-Training by Sean Buchner
If you are a beginning runner, statistics show that you’ll injure yourself in the first 8 weeks. If you are an avid runner, unless you deal with the injury it will just lead to further injury as the fascia (the material enveloping each strand of muscle, as well as each muscle) begins to tighten causing the other fascia it is connected with to tighten (causing other muscles to stiffen).
My wife, an avid yogi and overall wise woman, suggested I try yoga. YOGA?! I had long ago dismissed it as not a ‘real’ workout. Yet, I was desperate and I learned … runners you don’t have to live in pain. Yoga will help!
I remember my first class, the yoga teacher spoke awkwardly sounding words and jumped into even more awkwardly looking poses. Uninterested at first, I forced myself to continue and eventually came to understand the purpose behind the poses. Yoga is an intricate balance of the mind and the body, of strength and flexibility, all controlled by the breath. I also noticed that these yogis were no different from me:
Creating this superhighway in your brain is crucial in being able to manage the complicated emotions and thoughts within your relationship. Unfortunately, unless you make time to talk with your partner face-to-face, you open up opportunities for miscommunication. More and more often, clients come in telling me that they had this horrific fight… over text message. Unfortunately, our brains aren’t wired for virtual relationships. We require live, in-person information to understand a situation accurately.
When we are face-to-face, our brains are frantically working to take in every wrinkle of the eye, every movement of the mouth, every tilt of the head, in order to discern the intent and attitude of the speaker. These subtle signals that we are not conscious of either trigger us to be on guard or let us know we are safe and okay.
This might all sound like magic, yet unlike magic, everything didn’t happen over night; hard work and dedication were key. Instead of just strapping on my shoes, I also unroll my yoga mat. Here are two poses to start with:
Crescent Lunge: Encourages the opening of the hipflexors and the quadriceps through the squeezing of
the hips and glutes, the scooping of the hips and the core engagement. This pose creates strength and
openness forcing you to balance and find tension to also find release.
Parsvattanasana (Pyramid): Aligns hips but opens the glutes responsible for abducting and kicking back
as well as the low back and hamstrings. Finds tension through the abdominals, the quadriceps.
Both of these poses create tension and after holding and deepening the posture finds release in muscles. Runner’s, this should be good news for you. Yes, you can be tense in class – but be tense in the right areas in order to open others.
These are only two of the vast ocean of poses available to you in yoga. I encourage you, men and women runners to try out yoga. I challenge you to experiment on your training. Give it a couple months, notice the difference. Yoga will complement your running.
Learn more about Sean on our Teacher Feature page and at www.rollingwithmyyogis.com.
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