Running and yoga: the perfect fitness combo to stimulate body and mind

Running and yoga

Running and yoga: the perfect fitness combo to stimulate body and mind

Is a fitness routine really complete if you only do one type of exercise? Whenever we talk to experts, either about a specific sport or even about a series of repetitions ( abdominals, squats, etc.), what is very clear to us is that, if we really want to see results – regardless of which one Whatever our goal – we cannot focus on just one area of ​​the body or limit ourselves to a single practice. Although there are some very complete pieces of training, the truth is that it is always a good idea to compliment them with others that cover their possible shortcomings. We have talked on other occasions about the combination of different activities, such as boxing with ballet, but after a publisher praise the benefits that the combo of running and yoga, it is right and necessary to take a moment to explore the possibilities of this unexpected mix.

So, while running is a good cardiovascular exercise that, as Porto explains, “reduces the possibility of suffering from diseases, since there is a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol, weight loss and endorphin production. , which helps physiologically and psychically “, yoga moves in other directions, although it coincides in some points:” it helps us to strengthen muscles and bones, increases our flexibility, relieves chronic pain, improves breathing, burns calories, fights hypertension and reduces cholesterol levels, in addition to reducing stress levels and increasing self-esteem “, affirm Pepe Roca and Marta Vilaplana, promoters of the Food & Yoga yoga and nutrition center .

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How do they complement each other?

To know with what practice we can alternate the runningand yoga or, put another way, to understand how these two fit together so well, we must know what one can contribute to the other. As Jordi Canela, founder of the YogaOne centers points out , “it is a combination that allows developing the heart part and endurance, which although it can be worked entirely with yoga, throughrunninga combo can be provided that benefits the runner, improving mobility when running, stride, the possibility of increasing rhythms and speed through the regulation of the rhythm of breathing , as well as improving the awareness of the body itself to, at at the same time, know what the limits are and improve them.

From Food & Yoga they add that precisely:

there are ideal yoga exercises for runners, there are various postures that work the feet and help prepare them for the race . On the other hand, yoga favors the recovery of the hamstrings , one of the most affected muscles during races, in addition to strengthening the body against the impact of the asphalt, toning the upper body and acting as a great circulatory activator “.

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Running and yoga
Running and yoga

Bea Porto also agrees with this idea, pointing out that “if we already practice a cardio activity such as runningIt is very interesting to be able to combine it with another of less intensity. Strength training is essential , since muscle strengthening helps us reduce fat mass, makes our connective tissues more resistant and we avoid osteoporosis. It is also proven that strength work increases our self-esteem. “To this the specialist adds that” with yoga training we will correct inappropriate body postures, waste calories, prevent injuries and tone the body“, something that the race alone cannot contribute. With a regular practice of both disciplines, the expert affirms that we will notice improvements” on the one hand, in the speed and the resistance; and on the other, in strength, balance and flexibility. Both activities give us an improvement in our physical qualities, without forgetting the mental benefit “.

How can we combine them?

Both when practicing this mix and with the combo of any other pair of disciplines, the doubt may arise whether one should predominate over the other or how often we would have to repeat each one. “We must always do physical activity regularly, so there is no minimum nor no maximum, ” explains Porto. “Five days a week would be a very good option, with three days of cardio and two of yoga or vice versa, it all depends on the needs of each person,” he says. However, if we want to focus more on yoga, Jordi Canela clarifies that “by its nature, yoga is recommended during the week and, on the weekend, combine it withrunningso that they coexist better . “Although, after all, and as Porto pointed out, everything will be a matter of the priorities of each one.

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Which variety of yoga best suits the running?

Although a yoga practice will never hurt us, taking into account the large number of varieties that exist and taking into account the statements of the experts, it will always be better to opt for those types that focus directly on the benefits that a runner will notice the most . For Jordi Canela, a good choice will be Ashtanga yoga , “a practice of Hatha-vinyasa, a very physical yoga, in which discipline and progression have a very important aspect and it is generally with the style that people feel most comfortable. In addition, it also enhances the improvement and control of respiratory function , so that with its practice we can find benefits that can be transferred to the running activity. Likewise, it will allow them to balance those parts of the body where many contractions are carried out or where a lot of tension is accumulated derived from training “

The Ashtanga yoga is also the winning answer Pepe Roca and Marta Vilaplana, although they added two more disciplines may also be interesting for runners: the Rocket Yoga and Yin Yoga . As they explain, the first one ” increases our physical strength , making our muscles increasingly stronger. The series with which this variant has awake our nervous system, energy and vitality”, while the second “is perfect to practice it After training, it is ideal for preventing sports injuries , as we work hard on our flexibility, preventing any sudden movement from causing tendinitis or rupture. “

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What other sports can be complementary to the practice of yoga?

All the specialists consulted agree that swimming and cycling or spinning can be perfect practices to combine with yoga. “There are some specific exercises for swimmers that make them feel their muscles more toned and feel with enough energy to start swimming. And, on the other hand, yoga can help cyclists achieve that concentration and desire to improve that the sport they practice requires so much “, they explain from Food & Yoga. Bea Porto agrees with this idea, pointing out that “they are two very enriching sports disciplines in which both the upper and lower body intervene”.

Although Jordi Canela agrees with the idea of ​​cycling, he explains this ideal combination in other terms, since “the practice of yoga is very much oriented to the opening of our energy system and the development of the different energy centers that we have throughout our life. spinal column. The bicycle or the spinning facilitate the awakening of the kundalini energy, the awakening of the three lower centers, “he says.

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Running and yoga


Running and yoga

Likewise, it also agrees with the idea of ​​swimming, taking into account that “aquatic activities facilitate harmonic movements that do not involve wear and tear, have cardiac, mobility and strength components and allow, like yoga, to facilitate connection of movement and respiration “. Other alternatives proposed by the specialist? “TheBoxing practice is connected with the courage of the heart and certain openings are necessary to connect with self-love and strength; while other types of discipline, such as antigravity yoga , facilitate the opening of higher centers of consciousness. “


Roca and Vilaplana add a more unexpected recommendation: meditation . “Many people believe that they are two practices that always go hand in hand, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” they explain. “Yoga is an activity that acts as a means to achieve the union between our physical, mental and spiritual bodies. Instead, meditation is essentially a state of consciousness, an exercise with which we focus our mind on a virtuous object in order to achieve a state of inner peace. The fact of linking both practices helps to form, modify and strengthen neural connections, making our brain and mind evolve “, they conclude.

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Anna Andersonne
Anna is a mother, yoga teacher, and psychologist. At YOGA LOAD she is the heart of the editorial team and writes about yoga, true happiness, and sustainability. Her articles are published in the Yoga Journal, Happy Way and GingerMag.