It seems that more often than not, yoga is suggested to runners, rather than running to yogis. Some might say that this is because yoga is a holistic practice; no extra exercise is needed, which is difficult to argue with. But lets just say you are a yogi who would like to run a 5km for charity with some friends. Or maybe you would like to go trail running? What happens next?
Following a basic running program will enable a yogi to fit runs into an established yoga practice, without compromising energy levels or flexibility too much… Undoubtedly, a highly in-tune yogi will notice a tightening of the hip area, and feel the hamstrings shortening. But yogis are in the driving seat here, and may even have the upper hand: yogis are mentally strong.
Here’s why. Basically in a yoga class, there is no escape – you are there on the mat, facing up to the challenge of being a disciplined, wholly attentive and focused individual: there is no running away. Of course, there are days of home practice where we may just lay down and thank the heavens for savasana, but it is still yoga. This discipline pays dividends in running, where often just stepping out of the door is half the battle. After a few weeks, when the steps feel lighter and fluid, the effort will have been worthwhile.
The ego also comes in to play in this discussion. For many runners, switching the ego ‘off’ is half the battle. The ego calls our name, puts us on a pedestal, and either sings our praises, or shouts us down. Yogis know what to do with the ego: it is simply the ego. No action, or reaction required when those egotistic thoughts play through the mind.
In a nutshell, here are the three reasons why yogis can run, and a 5km or trail run is never too far away:
1. Yogis understand the discipline needed for seeing improvements in any form of physical activity, including running.
2. Yogis are highly aware of the body, mind and breath connection, also essential to a runner.
3. Yogis know when to take it easy and when to work hard: this prevents injury and helps develop sound practices, whether it be running or Vinyasa Flow.
If you are a yogi who runs, what do you learn from running?
Or maybe you are a runner, who loves, and learns from yoga?
What do you think?