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Home » What You Need to Know About Benefits of Yoga for Runners

What You Need to Know About Benefits of Yoga for Runners

Hello Inspire Virtual Runs Community! I’m Danielle, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, certified yoga teacher, and runner. I’m here to share some information on yoga’s benefits for runners and how to incorporate yoga into your training plan by answering some of the most common questions I get asked.

My running journey began almost ten years ago, and since I have run ten marathons, over 20 half marathons, and a variety of other shorter distances races. For me, one thing has been consistent – when I’m diligently incorporating yoga into my training plan, I run better and recover faster, so I’m passionate about sharing these benefits with other runners!  What are the benefits of yoga for runners? The main benefits of yoga that I talk to runners and other athletes about are:

  • Balance 
  • Strength
  • Flexibility 
  • Focus 

How do I incorporate yoga into my training plan? I can best answer this question with a quote from the yoga teacher I did my Yoga for Athletes training with Sage Rountree. In her book, The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga, she writes, “the physical intensity of yoga should be in inverse proportion to the physical intensity of training.” 
There are many types of yoga, and you need to choose the right one to best complement your current training. If you’re building your base and need additional strengthening, then a more vigorous yoga practice would be appropriate. However, if you’re leading up to your peak mileage and what your body needs is not more intensity, but rest and relaxation, you would most benefit from a gentle or restorative yoga class to balance out the intensity of your running!

Table based on The Athlete’s Guide to Yoga by Sage RountreeHow do I find the right yoga class? The first step is for you to know what you are looking to get out of the class (Strength? Relaxation? Balance? Mindfulness?). From there, you can begin to read class descriptions and see if it sounds like a fit. If you don’t feel that the class descriptions give you the information you need, feel free to call or stop by the yoga studio and ask some questions. Someone there should be able to point you in the right direction! Anything else I should know before beginning yoga? First and foremost – yoga is NOT competitive! Again, since this is generally something that runners and athletes struggle with – yoga is NOT competitive! It’s also important to keep in mind that yoga poses will look different on different bodies. This is a good time to check in with your body and see how it feels. Be sure to listen to what your body is telling you and make the pose your own!  I hope this helps! And if you have any questions about yoga or incorporating yoga into your training plan, you can find me at DanielleNardiYoga on Facebook and Instagram!

Happy Running! Danielle