Yoga and Running

The benefits that both running and yoga have on the body and mind are quite similar: strengthening muscles, reducing stress, improving flexibility, reducing the risk of developing various conditions and diseases, to name a few.

This may be why the combined overlap of running and practicing yoga is so highly synergistic — yoga is said to greatly improve the performance of runners and positively impact their efficiency as well as reduce the possibility of injury.

Yoga Run
Sarah Han, Co-Founder of MixPose running a marathon after daily yoga practices

Different yoga poses can help you excel with various objectives, whether it be warming up before a run, cooling down after a run, or increasing overall flexibility and muscular strength.

The Feral Yogi (JD) performing Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana, or Lunge pose
The Feral Yogi (JD) performing Utthita Ashwa Sanchalanasana, or Lunge pose

Forward Fold and Warrior Two are great poses to engage in right before a run, as the former stretches out your hamstrings and the latter your groins and hips. A few sets of Low Lunge can also be an impact warm-up: this will stretch your quads and activate your glutes and core.

Jeremy Simon performing Uttanasana (Forward Fold), a great pose for hamstrings
Jeremy Simon performing Uttanasana (Forward Fold), a great pose for hamstrings

When doing yoga after a run, the focus will largely be on the recovery and restoration of the areas in your body that were most utilized. This is also an optimal time to practice yoga as your muscles have already been activated and are more limber!

Fish Pose is a great recovery pose: it stretches your deep hip flexors and can relieve the stiffness that some runners experience in the shoulders and upper back. Another ideal post-run pose is Seated Pigeon, which is a great hip-opener that dually stimulates hip flexibility and releases tension.

Yoga can be incredibly helpful before and after a run to help further develop strength and flexibility, but including sessions in your daily routine will prompt maximized results as these developments will be maintained. At MixPose, yoga instructors take note of the needs and wants of students that attend their classes.

If you identify yourself as a runner to your instructor, they will be able to keep runner-specific goals and needs in mind when they give you individualized advice and coach you through poses. MixPose offers classes for many different styles of yoga so that you have the option to attend the ones you feel will serve your fitness needs best. If you are new to yoga, Hatha yoga may be a good fit for you as it runs at a more moderate pace. This moderate pace allows for static poses — wherein many yoga poses are held for an elongated period of time — and accordingly provides a great stretch and improved flexibility.

Hatha classes usually cover a large variety of poses, making it a great introductory course to the expansive world of yoga.

Kadisha performing Virabhadrasana II, or Warrior 2
Kadisha performing Virabhadrasana II, or Warrior 2

For those who have practiced yoga or for first-timers who are eager to jump right in and get their sweat on, Vinyasa classes are your best bet. Vinyasa is a style of yoga involving sequenced flows in that one yoga position quickly and seamlessly transitions into another. These flows are not only strength-builders, but also require the sessions to move a faster pace, which is great for runners who love to get their heart rate up and are looking for a more high-intensity workout.

Vinyasa is recognized as a breath-synchronized practice as this yoga style couples movements with breath. Each movement is paired with an instructed inhalation and exhalation, serving to promote a unique concentration that focuses the mind and aligns the body. The advanced breathing techniques that you practice during yoga can also be incorporated into your runs and help you run faster, longer, and more efficiently.

Sita performing Nadi Shuddhi breathing exercise during class
Sita performing Nadi Shuddhi breathing exercise during class

Instead of hitting the wall at what you believe to be your time or distance limitations, allow yourself the opportunity to hit new marks instead! Pencil a few MixPose yoga sessions into your schedule this week and follow up by tracking any improvements, alleviation, or ease of movements that you experience on your next run!

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MixPose.com, a live streaming yoga platform

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