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Why Yoga Improves Running Performance

October 1, 2018

If you are into marathons, 10K's or simply enjoy running as a healthy exercise, then doing regular yoga practice will help your running more than you realise.

 

 

I began running about ten years ago, just in the park, a few times a week. I found it uplifting and energising being outside, taking in the fresh air and wonderful surroundings.

More recently I've enjoyed running half marathons and a one off full marathon in 2015.

 

I'm a yoga teacher and have discovered over the years that yoga has actually helped to revitalize my running…. giving me more stamina, strength and energy to run further without injury, whilst promoting overall health and wellbeing.

 

There are five significant disciplines in yoga that I consider have an impact on improving running performance – breathing, strength, mindfulness, intention, recovery.

 

BREATHING

As a runner and yoga teacher I understand the importance of the breath. In order to run consistently we need efficient lungs to deliver more oxygen to our muscles and circulation. This is the basis for running long and strong.

 

Breathing is one of the most important components of the ‘hatha’ yoga system.

The breath nourishes and controls the postures; ‘asanas’. It is through conscious breathing that we become more aware of our body sensations and we learn that slowing the breath induces relaxation and faster breath is more energizing.

 

As we run the breath helps to create a more relaxed state, especially for long distances. We use our breath to increase the amount of oxygen we take into our lungs and to keep our breathing pattern calm and steady. This helps to reduce any performance anxiety from arising.

 

Some runners don’t utilize their full lung capacity. They rely on the top part of the lungs and ignore the bottom area… not intentionally but because they are breathing from the chest.

 

One of the eight paths of yoga is Pranayama, a discipline of breath wo