It’s safe to say that yoga has exploded in the last two decades as a global phenomenon, however there is still relatively less attention paid to the effectiveness of yoga for runners, cyclists, triathletes and other endurance sports. Yoga might strike endurance athletes, who are used to high impact and dynamic exercise, as a ‘slow’ and ‘low intensity’ form of exercise. That might be true, but not necessarily a bad thing.
Well, we were interested in knowing how yoga could help endurance athletes, and here’s a few reasons why we think it might be beneficial for you to give yoga a shot.
Any athlete who has spent months or years trying to perfect their form knows the value of flexibility. Flexibility is an important factor in maintaining firm (yet loose) shoulders while running, proper running stance and fluid leg movements. Yoga is undoubtedly a great form of activity to infuse some limberness into your body. As yoga engages the entire body, there is a sense of connectedness between the mind and body, and the facilitating of smooth movements. When running forms of great runners are observed, most them have graceful running movements that have an élan and ease to them. Yoga might just be the answer to helping your limbs become more pliable, and bettering your running form.
Yoga is an activity that requires mindfulness and an awareness of one’s body and surroundings. At the same time, yoga helps you achieve ‘Pratayhara‘ (detachment from the senses), which prevents the mind from dwelling on fatigue and exhaustion. Imagine how useful that would be during an ultra? Whatever your sport, having a connection between your body and mind is crucial, and yoga helps you attune to your mental and physical state.
3) Breathing technique
It’s not just the conventional breathing exercises in yoga which can help you. The meditative qualities of the practice also help you understand the quality and rhythm of breathing, and engaging in mindful breathing techniques. Yoga also helps correct your posture and opening your thorax region, which are immensely helpful in maximizing your breathing potential, and ultimately, you VO2 max.
While yoga might not be your full-time jam, you should surely look at making it a regular fixture of your training schedule. You might not get the same adrenaline boost as weight training, but over time, you will experience positive shifts towards better running form, concentration, and mental endurance training.
So, all together now – let’sbreathe in and breathe out.