**Halifax is rich in talent and expertise, so we’ve decided to bring some local experts to the DogRunnin blog.**
Question: We’ve heard that running and yoga can compliment each other well to help in overall fitness and wellness. Can you speak to that?
Answer: It is said that opposites attract, and running and yoga are often placed on opposite spectrums of a scale, their parallels leave me to exploring how the practices of yoga can be complimentary to a runner. Below are five characteristics that can be discovered through yoga as a means to compliment your running.
While it may be hard to distinguish between movement and action, both runners and yogis combine the two. .
Runners quickly move from one place to another, using the same repetitive rhythm and movements. This means that their muscles are shortening and tightening as fast as they are moving them. In addition, the repetitive movements often cause an imbalance to their body and as a result are more prone to injury or chronic pain.
Yoga takes the repetitive movements of a runner and reverses them with opposite movements that create stability and length in their muscles and their joints to help prevent injury.
Movements take you from one place to another. Actions get things done
Runners who focus on the action of running, run for more than the movement. They run for the feeling, the thrill, and the rush that you gain from a long run or a short sprint. They run to experience the energy.
Yoga helps focus on the actions within a pose for a deeper understanding of the arrangement of the bones, muscles and tissues. This is specific to alignment based yoga which cues actions to align the biomechanics of the body for prana (energy) to move more optimally through the whole body. As a result, the experience is more than the pose, it is the energy and empowerment within a pose.
Mindfulness is the ongoing effort to be present.
Runners train themselves to focus and understand that a good run is as much physical as it is mental. A mindful runner learns to friend their inner voices and train with strength, resilience and trust. They are often goal oriented and use these qualities as mental focus to take them closer to their goal.
Yoga is as much of a mental inventory as it is a physical and spiritual practice. It takes concentration and attention to practice actions within a pose and to build sequently to experience the whole pose. Yoga helps to strengthen the mental muscle of awareness in a way that can be applied as a pattern of observation in yoga poses, running, and daily living. It an ongoing practice of presence through the connection of the body, mind and heart.
Prana is the breath of life, vitally and strength.
The purpose of breath awareness is for the respiratory system to function at its best. Runners can increase their performance by improving their aerobic capacity and amount of oxygen that moves through the blood to work the muscles. Endurance and performance runners require a large amount of oxygen intake to their body.
Yoga focuses on breath awareness which is key to helping increase the amount of fresh blood that moves through the body and reducing tension. The practice of breath awareness develops steadiness in the mind, strength in the body and a connection to the heart.
Balance is where both running and yoga unite.
While running is a high impact, energy inducing sport, yoga compliments its intensity through steady practices of easeful efforts. The practice of yoga can be dynamic by nature, however, it aids the body in rest and relaxation and as a result the body and mind conserve its natural energy efficiently. This results in higher performance as a runner as well as increase energy, freedom, and movement all of life’s daily activities.
When these two opposite practices (running and yoga) come together in a harmonized relationship, the result of the practitioner is one of sustainability, ease and freedom with the body, mind and heart.
Leanne Whiting has over ten years of experience in practice and teaching of yoga. She is the owner of Grow A Lotus Yoga Pad in Halifax’s North End, where she instructs, facilitates, and encourages the practice of yoga to students of all ages and levels of experience.
*Leanne has taken on the challenge of helping to limber up and keep the DogRunnin Team injury free. We’ve grown to love and appreciate Leanne’s willingness to adapt to our unique needs as athletes. We’re grateful to Leanne for the crucial role she plays in helping us keep our canine clients well exercised! Runner or not, we’d highly recommend you grab a mat and meet Leanne for a class.
*Photo Credit for this post’s featured image (Double Downward Facing Dogs) goes to Leanne… Or maybe Sita!*
***IF YOU LIKED THIS POST WE’D LOVE TO HEAR YOUR COMMENTS AND CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION VIA OUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES, AND OF COURSE APPRECIATE YOU SHARING IT WITH FRIENDS. HAVE A SUGGESTION FOR A DOG OR RUNNING RELATED POST, DROP US A NOTE – WE’D LOVE TO HEAR IT!***