During the course of an average mile run, your foot will strike the ground 1,000 times. The force of impact on each foot is about three to four times your weight. It's not surprising, to hear runners complain of bad backs and knees, tight hamstrings, and sore feet.
The pain most runners feel is not from the running itself, but from imbalances that running can cause. If you bring your body into balance through yoga you can run long and hard for years to come. Running and yoga make a good marriage of strength and flexibility.
Striking a Balance
Many runners don't survive the imbalances that running introduces. Often they suffer from chronic pain and are sidelined by injury. A typical runner experiences too much pounding, tightening and shortening of the muscles and not enough elongating and loosening work. The body compensates to avoid injury. Compensation puts stress on muscles, joints and the entire skeletal system. Tight muscles get tighter and weak muscles get weaker. Yoga's internal focus centers your attention on your body's movements rather than on an external outcome. Runners can use yoga to balance strength, increase range of motion, and train the body and mind. Through consistent and systematic yoga conditioning, you can strengthen all of your intrinsic muscle groups, which support and stabilize the skeletal system.
In addition to physically counteracting the strains of running, yoga teaches the development of body intuition. As you develop a greater understanding of the body and how it works, you become able to listen and respond to the body’s messages.
Without developed body intuition, it's easier to ignore the body's signals and become injured. Another aspect of yoga is relaxation. When you're relaxed, you become more effective at using and conserving strength. If you're in a contracted state—tight muscles and limited range of motion, your body requires more energy for running. Relaxation allows you to burn energy at a more efficient level. There's no need to be sidelined by injuries and discomfort brought on by running. Chronic injuries can eventually self-correct through a gentle and consistent yoga practice. Your body is on your side. It has an inherent intelligence to bring about a state of equilibrium no matter how many times your feet hit the pavement.