Running can lead to injury because of its repetitive nature and the resulting musculoskeletal imbalances. On a physical level, yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body, making it the perfect complement to running. On a psychological level, Yoga increases mindfulness and prevents mindless foot placement that can lead to disaster.
Among its many beneficial effects, yoga has been shown to increase strength, flexibility, and balance; enhance immune function; lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels; and improve psychological well-being. One of yoga's most prominent effects, of course, is stress reduction.
In recent years studies are increasingly documenting how yoga works. To understand the harmonizing effects of Yoga coupled with running, it is important to understand the Autonomic Nervous System.
The Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls the function of the heart, liver, intestines, and other internal organs. The ANS has two branches that work in conjunction: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). In general, when activity is high in the SNS, it is lower in the PNS, and vice versa.
The SNS, in conjunction with such stress hormones as adrenaline and cortisol, initiate a series of changes in the body, including raising blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels. These changes help a person deal with a crisis situation. They mean more energy and more blood and oxygen flowing to the large muscles of the trunk, arms, and legs, allowing the person to run from danger or do battle (the so-called "fight-or-flight" response).
The PNS, in contrast, tends to slow the heart and lower the blood pressure, allowing recovery after a stressful event. Blood flow that was diverted away from the intestines and reproductive organs, whose function isn't essential in an emergency, returns. In contrast to fight or flight, these more restorative functions can be thought of as "rest and digest." This is also sometimes dubbed the relaxation response.
Generally speaking, when we are running, we can expect the SNS to be more active and during Yoga and meditation, we can expect the PNS to be more active. Think about that for a moment. This incredibly powerful information shows us how we can hack our biochemistry to work in our favor.
An early morning run followed by a short yoga practice or mindful stretching is guaranteed to help you start the day balanced and focused. Check out the pre and post run Yoga sequences below to help you get started.
Pre run Yoga sequence
Spend 30 seconds to a minute on each pose to get the best results
Post run Yoga sequence
Spend one to two minutes on each pose to get the best results
Comment below to share with us your favourite pre or post run stretch or use the hashtag #yourtimeyogarunners on your instagram post to be featured on our feed. Cited: https://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/yoga/poses/yoga-for-runners/