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Numbers are not official. But Rock Creek Runner estimates that over 36% of the people who run also practice yoga. Runners have long realized the many many benefits of combining these two practices and a regular yoga practice can enhance their performance considerably. The yoga workout program that yoga teacher Jean Pierre de Oliveira developed this year – Yoga Tonic – is particularly helpful for runners. Since it focuses mainly on stregnth postures, it's perfect for people training for a marathon and wanting to prevent a few unnecessary injuries.
Here’s why you should practice yoga if you are contemplating a marathon or just like long runs:
1. Stronger muscles
If you practice yoga you know all postures help develop and tone the muscles you will be over-using if running a marathon (and therefore, muscles will be a lot stronger throughout the entire course). Cardio is great, but cardio is not enough.
2. Stretching is the key
Lazy runners don’t stretch (do we?)! Relax. A regular yoga practice will make you stretch regularly, preventing possible injuries (especially to your knees).
3. Better control of your breathing
Yoga is also about breathing exercises and learning to control different types of breath, including the ones that make your body rest even if in effort. These are little tricks you can apply during your run, allowing you to run faster and for longer periods of time without putting stress on your lungs.
4. Awareness of one’s limits
Truth be told, our limits are never where we place them. We are capable of much more than we realize. Yoga helps you gain a better awareness of yourself and of your body’s strengths and limitations. This will help with everything in your life and also with running.
5. Yoga Nidra will relax you
Either before or after a run, yoga nidra exercises can relax your body and release tension built up from pushing it to its limits.
Yoga helps with the muscles. Running helps with the cardio. Both activities help the body and mind. Keeping healthy and happy requires effort but it’s worth it, don’t you think? Plus, you get to leave your problems out on the track. What are you waiting for? Hit the road and take your yoga mat with you!