I’ve been a runner for over ten years now, and have completed three full marathons, one ultra-marathon, and countless half marathons. Nowadays don’t do so much racing, just short runs in my beautiful neighborhood, for the sake of running. It is a joy to be able to run! Before and after a run it is a must for me to have a yoga session, even if it’s only 5 minutes. So, let’s get down to business - Running and Yoga! You’ve seen articles, and suggested poses, but here’s a short list of 5 BIG ways yoga can REALLY help your run!
1. Develops Muscular Strength –
While yoga is not weightlifting, in the tradition sense, you are putting your body in many positions that need the support of your muscles, you essentially are lifting your own body weight during much of your practice. Because of this, yoga tones muscles all over the body, and it does so in a balance, harmonized way. In weight training, you often isolate one muscles or group at a time, and while yoga does this as well, most postures work a variety of muscles and groups. In many types of yoga you also hold poses for an extended period of time, this, in turn also helps with muscle endurance - an added plus!
2. Improves Flexibility –
A common phrase is, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible.” And it’s sort of funny because this is EXACTLY why you should do yoga. Any amount of yoga can help your flexibility. Stretching your body is always beneficial, and with regular practice you will see results where you begin to improve your flexibility. By having more flexibility, you give your muscles and joints a greater range of motion. A supple, flexible body is less prone to injuries because it can better withstand physical stress.
3. Sharpens Mental Focus –
Yoga holds the power to transform our minds as much as it does our bodies and running, especially racing, is a VERY mental sport. The breathing and meditative exercises of yoga aim at calming the mind and body and keeping distracting thoughts away while you focus on your body, posture, breath, and the task at hand. By learning to keep your mind pointing forward, in the direction you choose, you find the mental focus and control to truly run on your own terms.
4. Upgrades Balance -
In yoga you hold poses that help you become aware of the shifts in your focus and how those show up in your body. You learn true body and breath control keeping yourself steady in mind and body. This translates very well to running as the roads change and you are bound to make an unexpected stop, maneuver through a water station at a race, or run into some other issue that causes your focus to shift and your body control to be tested. By being more in tune with your body you are more likely to avoid injury. Improving your balance by holding standing postures in yoga also tremendously helps your ankle strength which is crucial to running.
5. Skyrockets Breathing Efficiency -
Yoga is all about breathing and obviously breathing is very important to running! In yoga there are many types of breathing exercises and techniques you can use, and a runner could benefit for any one of them! Learning to truly breathe deeply and mindfully is incredibly beneficial for a runner.
All of these benefits help reduce the chance of injury for runners, so I say WHY NOT?! Give it a try, mix a little yoga in with your running! If you are wondering, “How in the world do I start?” check out @yogacamp on Instagram for our upcoming #YogaCampGoesRunning challenge that just started November 10th!
Yoga Camp Travel and Media Specialist
Our latest Yoga Camp Instagram Yoga Challenge, play along -- it's for a good cause!
I recently led the Second Annual Yoga Camp Photo Journey Retreat. It was an exceptional experience. I love this facet of Yoga Camp because I love serving women and helping guide them in their healing in the context of a carefully curated retreat. Honestly the whole retreat was outstanding.
We had an amazing time! All the activities were great, and the weather was cooperating, which was an enormous blessing. Thank you God! I can tell you about all of retreat experiences more in detail in another blog post later, and you can check my social media channels for more info and photos, but I want to focus today on something that was completely unexpected.
I booked the dates of this year's retreat over the full moon which occurred on October 15th, so we planned a full moon fire ceremony. That was amazing too! It was even warm enough to create the ceremony outside. That is another experience I would love to share more in detail about at a later time.
After our ceremony and finalé celebration, we went to bed. I woke up the next morning to take Maxime, my giant dog, outside. For some reason I followed my intuition and let her out the back door. I usually take her out quickly through the front door in the morning, but something told me to go in a different direction. I thought the sky looked pretty, and so I followed the sky down closer to the banks of the lake and peaked through the trees, only to find something I never even knew existed. The full moon on the horizon.
I wanted to let the campers that were interested in on this blessing, so I ran inside and announced eloquently, "Full Moon! Outside! Still Up!" Then I ran back outside and down to the dock.
What I saw was, the full moon, still up from the night before and it was setting over the horizon mixed with the gentle colors of sunrise floating in from East. I didn't even know something like this was a thing.
I had nothing to compare it to, and I've never seen anything like it before. I've seen the moon high in the sky on occasion while the sun is up, but this was entirely different.
The mixture of the colors and the epic landscape was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.
I often observe that when I let go of expectations, or have no preconceived notions of what will be, I am the happiest. When I have expectations, I am usually disappointed.
The full moon in the morning surprised me, and filled me with joy! This full moon reminded me that life is full of gifts: some that I have not yet experienced, and some that I didn't even know were possible.
This beautiful moon reminded me to let go of my expectations, let myself be surprised, and to love and experience life fully.
When I walked back up to the cabin, I was immediately reminded of one of my favorite quotes about balance.
"Some nights stay up till dawn, as the moon sometimes does for the sun. Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way of a well, then lifted out into light."
Now I have experienced this in a deeper sense than I even knew was possible.
In sharing my experience with you, I urge you to follow your intuition. I urge you to take a deep breath, think about something you have expectations about and then let some of them go. If you are able, let all of your expectations go. Namaste my friend.
Landscapes by Elizabeth Camp
Portrait by Marjorie Renn Solis
Life is hard, and you deserve a break! The key to happiness is in your own hands, take a chance now and book a Yoga Retreat. Set aside what is holding you back and find a way to make it happen. There are always a million reasons and excuses in our heads telling us not to do things, I say – Just do it! You will not regret it. Here are 10 reasons to back me up! ;)
1. Meet Like Minded Individuals –
There is something magical about being Immersed in a group of like-minded people. You feed off of each other’s energy and vibes. You learn things from each other simply by listening to each other. You get to talk about things for hours on end that you are passionate about, and likely you have someone listening who shares your passion or at least understands it. Being with people who share your passions helps allow you to open yourself and your mind and to truly embrace your authentic self.
2. Eat well without having to do any work –
Really… need I say more??!!
3. Relax and destress –
This is a pretty obvious benefit! What a retreat is all about. Simply time away to enjoy.
4. Take your yoga to the next level –
Whether you are a brand new yogi or an experienced yoga teacher you are bound to learn something new on a retreat. In addition to the physical practice of yoga a retreat is about living your yoga, though showing compassion for others, for nature, and for yourself. It is a chance to truly embrace yoga in every movement of your day, and boy does it feel great!
5. Get to travel to a place you may have not otherwise gone –
Going somewhere new is good for the body and soul! A retreat is often the chance to see somewhere beautiful! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to do some traveling?!
Instagram and Yoga. Some people like it, some people hate it, some people are completely unaware of it. Nonetheless, it’s there, and it’s a huge community. I actually have Instagram to thank for the fact that I’m sitting here writing this blog, I met Elizabeth Camp, the founder of Yoga Camp, through an Instagram connection and now I am the Yoga Camp Travel and Media Specialist. Who knew?! Amazing!
You can probably guess that at Yoga Camp we are fans of mixing Instagram and yoga. While we could go on forever about this subject, we are choosing our top five reasons why you should think about joining the wonderful world of IG yoga!
1. It encourages you to practice daily or perhaps gets you outside daily, whatever way, it gets you movin'. – One of the most popular things in the Instagram Yoga world are the challenges. In these challenges, you take a photo or video of yourself practicing a pose or something assigned daily by the challenge hosts. This gets you to get up and do at least one pose a day (and hopefully some warm up). There is a challenge for everyone, from moves like arm balances, heart openers or twists, yoga with your child or dog, to yoga based on lyrics to your favorite song – There are PLENTY to choose from!