Questions constantly move through my mind related to running and yoga, such as: How can we improve our running form, do we need to, and can yoga help? This is just a short post focusing on one aspect of how running form and yoga are related.
Within an average run we may not have time to think about the shape of our body, it’s form and how it moves. Just getting out-the-door is often battle enough and we just want to go, run. But in a yoga class form is all, well mostly all, that we think about! Where are my limbs, how is my body moving with my breath, what is my spine doing?
So how can we transfer the knowledge gained from a yoga class to the road? With the advent of barefoot running and techniques such as chi-running a movement of people did arise who were thinking about improving ease and fluidity of movement whilst running. These folks are committed to adapting, or changing running form and developing the individual to become better, and more efficient runners – which is what yoga does!
Interestingly a recent study, discussed in an post on the New York Times, shed new light on the body’s ability to develop it’s own natural running form. The lead author stated:
“You can optimize your gait naturally,” she says, “by becoming more conscious of your running movement and how it feels.” Your body, at least in the early stages of becoming a runner, can be a fine and knowledgeable coach.
And to me this is one of the greatest benefits of yoga to runners, and how running form and yoga are related: you become more conscious of the body’s movement and how it feels. Yoga can inform you of the body’s mechanics, and how your breath effects the interconnected movements of the body, so that when you next go out on a run – with awareness of how the arms swing, where the feet land and how the breath changes as you go uphill – you can listen to your body, and trust it all – with the knowledge that you are becoming a better runner and your form will develop naturally.