Written by Courtney Silverthorn

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 “I’m a runner,

 why should I

 do yoga?”

 

 

 

 

Run and Stretch is back! ‘Work out’ with a two-mile run on the W&OD Trail, and then ‘work in’ with a deep stretch practice primarily targeting the muscles of the lower body.

And right about now you’re probably either saying to yourself “What, me run? I’m not athletic..,” or “What, me do yoga? I’m not flexible…” But running and yoga complement each other in SO many ways. A deep stretch practice can become the Yin to running’s Yang, providing a well-rounded experience for body and mind. Breath awareness, postural control, and physical and mental endurance feed back and forth, into each other between the run and the yoga practice, continually improving both sides. And as running yogis know, whether on the trail or on your mat, both can offer up a blissful, meditative state.

A few running bullet points…

* Your heart is a muscle that needs to be worked! A run will get your heart rate up into the optimum range for cardiovascular fitness and keep it there.

* Running improves blood flow to the muscles and connective tissues. Tendons and ligaments have very low blood flow, making them more prone to injury and slower to heal after injury. Running will improve circulation to these areas and improve health and healing. Running also strengthens the muscles of the core, back, and legs.

* Improves bone health – weight bearing exercises like running improve bone density. Healthy bones are important for our yoga practice, and also for our general health.

* Running even makes your brain function more efficiently! A single cardio session delivers oxygen-rich blood to the brain, improving cell growth and producing hormones that combat depression and anxiety. Plus, getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine does wonders for your mood. Running will also give an extra oomph to your meditation practice!

A few yoga bullet points…

* You use nearly every muscle of your body while you’re running…how many of them do you stretch afterwards? While running is a lot of leg action, your core, arms, shoulders and neck are also working to keep you moving forward. Hopefully even the muscles of your face are smiling during your run! Yoga perfectly counter-balances the effects of running on your body.

* Running without any other kind of cross training can create repetitive stress injuries in the body, over-tightening some muscles while lengthening others too much. Yoga can realign the muscles of the body, which in turn allows you to run more efficiently while reducing your risk of injury.

* Breath control during a yoga practice translates to breath control during the run. A yoga practice also promotes overall body awareness, which will help you become more attuned to a potential injury before it happens.

* Post-run stretching is a great way to improve mobility and recovery, even if you currently have no acute injuries. If you’re training for a race, make Flow your weekend short run and get a great stretch that will benefit your training all week long!

So join me on Saturday mornings to see how running and yoga can work together! All levels welcome, regular class passes apply, and class will count towards the 25-day challenge too! Registration in advance is highly recommended. In the event of inclement weather, class will be a full 75-minute deep stretch practice.

Once again, that’s Saturday mornings at Flow Leesburg, 8:30-9:45am.

See you on the trail AND the mat!

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