I once overheard a nationally recognized running coach tell a yoga teacher if she was going to continue running she had to give up yoga. I’ve been running since I was a little girl and am a Road Runner Club of America (RRCA) certified running coach, as well as a ten-year certified teacher and mentor of Forrest yoga. I was appalled. I immediately approached this teacher and offered an alternative viewpoint. Soon thereafter, I rescinded my association with this particular running group, as this coach’s view represented a close mindedness, whereas I wanted to be around innovative and evolved thinkers offering praise and encouragement with accurate information.
That comment has been one I’ve heard several times over the course of many years. It is absolutely NOT true and in fact, running and yoga can complement each other.
Take a look around the animal kingdom. For instance, our four legged friends. They do both yoga and running. Remember observing a cat stretch right after its nap? Then you watched it take off into a dead sprint chasing a bird?
Now look at bipedalism and human history. Humans have been doing both running and yoga for thousands of years. Scholars speculate yoga came into existence 25,000 years ago as a part of Stone Age Shamanism.
So why would a highly respected running coach speak so out of place about yoga? Their response, I speculate, was because of the potential of overstretching muscles. Where this coach failed was in realizing there are several thousands of yoga positions. This gives you a range to choose from and to focus stretching on the places where running produces repetitive strain. Where running produces injuries through muscles shortening over and over again, yoga alleviates this and returns the muscles and tendons to their inherent length, while also adding strength.
Here is a list of some of the poses that will benefit the running posture and running-related problems. Not familiar with yoga or specifically, Forrest yoga? In the coming weeks, I’ll break down the specifics of key poses to add into any training repertoire.
This video details shoulder shrugs for neck tension relief. Look for more videos in the future!
In the end what is important is to listen to what seems or feels right for you. There are hundreds of different approaches to keep both yoga and running in your life – for your life. There is not a “one approach fits all” to either activity. Learn about your specific needs and tend to them. You’ll be wiser than most coaches and feel better than most runners.