“A lot of people who consider themselves in great shape don’t realize they’re actually out of balance,” says Rodney Yee, a yoga expert. Whether you’re running 15 miles per day or taking a quick jog around the neighborhood, your running habits are producing imbalances within your healthy body. The aching in your feet, knees, and back are caused by every strike which is exactly the kind of strain that may result in an injury. You’re an athlete, you know how to push your body, and build your endurance. But are you committed to counter balancing the tightness you feel to prevent injury or repair existing pain?
Enter yoga. The practice of yoga is built around centering the body and aligning the spine. These elements allow your body to get better range of motion and flexibly. Yoga also promotes using the smaller, underused muscle while releasing the tight muscles used most in your sport. These components are very valuable to know when trying to keep your body, mind and muscles happy (not fatigued). In addition, the slower breathing techniques and concentration practiced in a given yoga class can teach you how to better control your breathing pattern during a challenging run or strenuous workout.
“Yoga improves on the biomechanical compensations an athlete has that may have been caused by acute or chronic injuries,” says Jamie Naughright, Ed.D., a Lakeland, Fla.-based certified athletic trainer and yoga teacher.
It’s easy to see the body as a whole, when a knee pain flares up caused from a tight muscle in your back, you maybe not put two and two together. More times than not, continuous forward motion and a daily running routine constantly builds stress in one place and can reflect pain in another. Committing to a solid yoga schedule undoubtedly focusses on the entire body as a whole, leaving no muscles behind. “I feel a great sense of relief, fluidity and strength after taking a good yoga class” Jamie Whaler, Marathon Runner and hitPLAYyoga member.
Many athletes have found the benefits yoga cross training brings to their fitness routines. If the goal is to build stamina, strength, and flexibility, a strong Vinyasa Flow or Bikram class is the answer. If you just finished a competition or work out, a Restorative class or slow Hatha would be a better fit. No matter what style, yoga helps people connect to their bodies and mitigate injury