I like this series of magazine advertisements on yoga apparels which carried nice pictures of people practicing difficult yoga poses. I am even more taken in by their advertisement theme that goes by: Yoga.Love.Run.Peace, because it highlights 2 of my favourite practices – yoga & running.
When I started my teacher training, I struggled with cutting back on my favourite hobby – running. This is on realising that yoga and running lie on the opposite ends of the exercise spectrum, and my yoga practices cannot progress (significantly) if I continue to run as I used to do. In fact, so serious was I in wanting to progress in my yoga, that I stop running for close to 2 months, while practising hard on my asanas.
It was definitely a tough 2 months, as I had running withdrawal symptoms every day. It was also at this point of time, that I decided to do more research to find out how I can still continue my hobby, and at the same time progress in my Yoga practices.
I have found, and listed here, the differences (subtle or not) between Yoga and Running are:
|(+) Lower Impact||Higher Impact|
|(+) Varied Movements||Repetitive Movements|
|(+) Restorative Nature||Injury Risks (muscles, joints, tendons)|
|Strengthening (mostly) by Isometric Contraction||Strengthening by Concentric Contraction|
|(+) Muscles lengthening postures||Muscles tightening movements|
|Lower Cardio Respiratory Gain||(+) Higher Cardio Respiratory Gain|
|Lower Endorphins released||*(+) Higher Endorphins released|
|(+) Focus on body alignment||Body alignment is dependent on terrain & running gait|
|Usually done indoors||Usually done outdoors|
|Encompassed philosophy for spiritual attainment||Hey! It’s simply an exercise lah|
(+) denotes positive nature
*It is interesting to note that most people who are motivated to run, experience runners’ high – the happy feeling as a results of endorphins being released into our body system. While the runners’ high feeling is great, yoga helps to develop a body intuition that will not only help one perform better in running, but also reduce our chances of injuries resulted from the masking of pain by endorphins. Yoga practice has helped me to listen and respond to my body better.
Based on my research, I have found that even though yoga and running may have many differences, but there are commonalities that point to the fact that they can complement one another:
|Develops strengths and overall health & well-being|
|Requires breathing control|
|Meditative in nature|
While it may be obvious that the positive effects of Yoga practices out-weighs that of running practices, it may still make sense to complement one with the other so as to add variety to one exercise regime, further strengthen one’s heart functions, and take our exercise outdoors.
It may be ideal to Run/Swim on 2 days (max. 30-min) and practice Yoga on 4-days (45-75min) in a week (with one day rest). In that way, whatever negative ‘side-effects’ of running accumulated will be neutralised by the yoga practices. Do try to find out what is your best combination. Yoga practice will enable those who wants to run continue to do so for many years to come.
In any case, both yoga & running requires diligent practices, agility, flexibility, patience and connecting with our inner self.
I will like to leave you with a practice theme of my own, re-arranged from the advert theme that I have earlier shared:
Practice Yoga, Do your Runs, Espouse Love and Advocate Peace!