Within the fitness industry, yoga and running are promoted in different ways, each with its own focus and each with its own specific customer segment in mind. Which often makes the two training methods appear to be direct opposites, which then can make it seem as though they appeal to different people.
But as I have mentioned in previous blog posts, yoga and running, and for that matter yoga and any sport that contains a certain element of endurance training and monotonous movement patterns, are a really good match. Precisely because they are opposites, they complement each other perfectly.
But regardless of whether they may at first appear as opposites, both forms of training also have a large number of common features, which means that they can appeal to you, whether you are a runner or a yogi.
Here are 5 good reasons why yoga and running work so well together, and contain (at least) 5 aspects that in their basic form can appeal to the same type of person.
1. Both yoga and running can be done anywhere.
The only thing you need to be able to run is really a pair of running shoes, similarly the only thing you need to practice yoga is a yoga mat. (yes, I know both can actually be done without this, but humor me) Both forms of training can be done at any time, and you can wear whatever clothes you have and find suitable. Just as you can choose to train in a team or alone. This makes both yoga and running perfect for those who want variety and flexibility in their training.
2. Can help to create a calm mind.
As a runner, you can from time to time experience a sensation of being in a flow when you run, that your movements and your body are experienced as one with the outside world, and the focus is on the breath and the movement. The same feeling is cultivated in connection with yoga, where a concentrated focus and increased awareness help to create a meditative flow in the poses, and you are filled with a feeling of meditative calm.
Yoga can help teach you how to achieve this state, and through practice you will find that you will find it easier and easier to find the same state when you run.
3. Both forms of training focus on breathing.
Your breathing is in focus, and your inhalations and exhalations are synchronized with your movements.
In yoga, the focus is consciously on letting the breath control the movement and all movements are performed on an inhale or exhale.
As yoga teaches you to work with the breath, you will be able to recreate this connection when you run, and you will find that your breathing will flow more freely. In yoga, you consciously work to find the deep, calm breath that increases oxygen uptake and calms the nervous system, something that you as a runner can greatly benefit from.
4. Listen to your body.
Both forms of training require you to be able to listen to your body, read its reactions and adapt your activity and training accordingly. In connection with running, you constantly need to adapt your activity level to the signals your body sends and you work to push your body to the edge of your limits, without falling over and getting injured.
Similarly, in yoga you work to locate, respect and accept your own limitations. Through yoga, you get to know your body when it's OK to continue and when you have to hold back, or maybe even pull yourself out of a given pose. This increased body awareness is generally indispensable in life, and you will greatly benefit from this in connection with your running training.
5. Experience getting a "Runner's High" and become "Yoga Stoned"
If you are looking to experience intense emotions and feel your body respond to what you do, yoga and running are perfect. As a runner, you may be familiar with experiencing a sensation of being "High". Running releases the body's natural endorphins which help to create a feeling of "Runners High".
Endorphins are released in connection with the reactions in the body's sympathetic nervous system in response to running. Similarly, yoga increases neurotransmitters in the brain, which in turn increases the response of the parasympathetic nervous system, leaving you with a feeling of total inner meditation peace and joy, and I love the description of being "Yoga stoned".
Read more: yoga and running, the perfect mix?
Read more: sports injuries and yoga
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