Posted in Team Finish Line.
Why Runners Should Incorporate Yoga Into Their Training Routines
Hello runners! Are you ready for this? Yoga isn’t all about flexibility. And, being flexible has nothing to do with being “good at yoga”.
Here is the proof: Yoga bases much of its practice on the Sutras, or philosophical threads of wisdom. They were written by this guy Patanjali thousands of years ago. He wrote in Sutra 1.2 that “yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the mind”.
What does ceasing the fluctuations of the mind mean for an athlete?
I believe that with a strong body, you can harness the power of your mind to achieve great things. With a strong body and mind, you can take seconds and minutes off of your race time and power through gut-busting speed and tempo workouts.
Yoga helps you find balance between both strength and flexibility. I’m a licensed massage therapist and a therapeutic yoga specialist for endurance athletes at Finish Line Physical Therapy and I teach yoga to over 150 students a week in NYC yoga rooms. I see it all the time: students who struggle to achieve the posture not for lack of flexibility, but for lack of strength. After studying movement biomechanics last year with the Gray Institute for Applied Functional Science, I learned how important the balance between strength and flexibility is as well as how to modify yoga postures to align with each athlete’s body and sport.
Here are a couple of ways I’ve learned to improve strength through yoga:
- Focus on transitions and repetition between yoga postures: As a runner, you are constantly rotating your thoracic spine (aka, the t-spine; this is the middle part of your vertebral spine where the ribs attach). You need both strength and the mobility to make this happen. Try starting in a high crescent lunge then exhale making a t-shape with your arms rotating to the forward leg, inhale come back to center and repeat. (IMAGES SHOWN BELOW)
- Add external weight: Not a lot, but just enough. Running is a one-legged sport and yoga has a myriad of one-legged standing balance postures. Try placing light weights in your hands, draw them to heart center and practice balancing on one-leg in airplane pose or warrior III variation.
- Try The Foundry’s strength-based yoga for athletes class called SCULPT on Mondays at 7:15pm. There are more cues to the postures described above, and I’d love to help you find both your strength and flexibility through them. Every yoga class I teach ends with a delicious hip-opening stretch and good dose of savasana—it might be the most peaceful part of your mind’s day.
SCULPT was also just added to The Foundry’s FORGE Functional Strength Series designed to help crush your Fall Marathon – more information found HERE!