Many people ask if yoga after running is good for you and my answer is yes. Running, just like yoga, promotes balance in the body and mind as some people
find running is a form of movement meditation for them as they just focus on the breath and body connection being aware of each step as they connect the foot to the ground. Meditation is the same as you focus on one point like the breath.
As running is great for your cardio fitness but it also impacts on your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments in a big way. If you only choose to run for exercise, that can lead to injury due to creating lack of mobility from the repetitive movements as they will create imbalances in the body and that will also affect the state of mind. But if you add yoga as a cross-training program you will increase your range of motion as it helps build the mental focus and endurance and reduce injuries as well.
When looking at yoga there are many different styles and my opinion is not one style is better than the other. They are all amazing! For example, I do a stronger type of practice in the morning like Vinyasa or Ashtanga but in the evenings or when my energy is low, I’ll do a restorative yoga or yin yoga. What I tell anyone who is new to yoga or those who have no yet explored other styles is try different studios, teachers and styles. You will find a few that will resonate with you on different levels and it’s about finding what works for your body, what styles support your life and even your sport or activity you have a passion for. When looking at styles like Ashtanga, Flow, Vinyasa, Power Yoga … they are all a flowing
type. These styles are a more yang type. They work on mobility, flexibility, balance and, some people are not aware of this and it is just as important, but also strength. These styles of yoga are best done on your day off running and using the sun salutes which is also a yang style, as per my previous blog Yoga for Runners Series: Pre-Run, as a warmup of the body before a run. But after I run, I have noticed what works with my body is a yin style of yoga. The reason why I like yin yoga after a run as it works not just the muscles but also the joints, tendons, ligaments and connective tissue which running can put its wear and tear on also as running amps up our nervous system. As this is a cardio work out it increases stress in the body which then amps up the nervous system and that taps into our SNS (sympathetic nervous system) which is our fight or flight so we need to offset it with some yin yoga to bring back balance to our nervous system. If you have a stressful job/career or high stress in your life yin yoga will help you slow down and rest your nervous system by creating stillness in the body and bring our focus on your diaphragmatic breath. Diaphragmatic breath also known as belly breathing and helps us by tapping back in to the PSN (parasympathetic nervous system). When we slow the breath down and create more of a belly breath this will bring the body back into PSN also known as rest and repair state. So after a run this is really important to help the body recover. For those who don’t know what yin yoga is, here a brief description.
Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang, opposite and complementary principles in nature. Yin is the stable, unmoving, hidden aspect of things; yang is the changing, moving, revealing aspect. In the body, the relatively stiff connective tissues (tendons, ligaments, fascia) are yin, while the more mobile and pliable muscles and blood are yang.
A Yin yoga class usually consists of a series of long-held, passive floor poses that mainly work the lower part of the body – the hips, pelvis, inner thighs, lower spine. These areas are especially rich in connective tissues. The poses are held for up to five minutes, sometimes longer. Some benefits of yin yoga are.
- Calms and balances the mind and body
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Increases circulation
- Improves flexibility
- Releases fascia and improves joint mobility
- Balances the internal organs and improves the flow of chi or prana
One of my routines is I have been doing a long run on a Saturday morning so I can then go and be a student in a yin yoga class at the Yoga Sanctuary after my run. I have noticed this has been great support to my physically body but also mental.
I have created a short yin yoga video. Play with it as I held the poses about 1 to 2 minutes but if it feels good put the video on pause and hold longer. Also, if you don’t have time for the whole video pick a few poses. Something is better than nothing.
Any of the props seen in the video are for sale in my shop page.
Enjoy the journey!