Yoga – The Perfect Running Companion

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A few months ago I experimented with removing running from my exercise routine because I wanted to see how much flexibility I could gain by laying off the daily pavement pounding and sticking with a daily yoga practice. I have a propensity for inflexibility in the first place, but to my surprise, the lack of running really didn’t make that much of a difference in terms of increased flexibility.

However, when I decided it was time to get back out on the streets again, my lungs felt like they were going to collapse. It was at that moment, when the side-cramp and wheezing reached a critical zenith, that I realized I needed to balance out my yoga practice with aerobic exercise.

I still needed running.

While running has many benefits, it can also beat up on the body a little bit, which is why yoga complements it so well. Try some of these recommended stretches/poses from Runner’s World to stay loose and flexible after your next workout.

I also recommend checking out Yoga for Runners at Yoga Journal.


  1. I agree 100%. Yoga just can’t do what Running can..especially for the legs and the lungs (cardio). I am extremely flexible for being a runner of 34 years now…because I balance it out with my yoga practice~
    and those endorphins…gotta love them! :~)

  2. I completely agree as well. And even though my yoga complements my running and my running complements my yoga, I think of them as two totally different parts of my life. They fill different needs – and both are essential 🙂

  3. I used to compete in monthly 5Ks for fun/charity and was typically logging about 10 miles a week in training. Not a huge deal, but significant enough. I’ve laid off of the running and have been doing more elliptical and long walks, thinking I’d save my joints for the remainder of my life. I’m amazed that I haven’t gained any weight back over the last year or so (yet!!) Anyway, I recently went on a quick 2 mile run and the next day when I did my yoga, it felt like my hamstrings had suddenly gone in to shock and shrunk! I could barely do half of a seated forward fold. I’e been worried that taking running back up could hurt my flexibility–but your post is encouraging. I think it will just take some time to find the right balance between running and yoga.

    1. Hey McKenna, thanks for stopping by. There’s no doubt that running can mess up your yoga mojo. I’ve found that the body freaks out a bit if you take time off from running and then start up again. Consistently hitting the mat helps prevent a lot of running-induced stiffness. Just have to be consistent.

      P.S. I added yoursite to the blogroll. Hope you soon achieve your dream of opening your studio!

  4. I’ve actually found that if I do yoga right after running my body is much looser and thanks me even more. Did all the poses in the Runner’s World stretching routine this morning after I ran and it felt great!

  5. I have been practicing yoga for just over a year and really love it! Most recently (since May) I have started practicing Mysore ashtanga. I am a runner at heart and have been worried that I may have to choose between yoga and running as many people have kindly “warned” me that I cannot do both. So far, I have been able to keep up with 4-5 day/week ashtanga as well as train for a marathon. I have indeed noticed that I am not as sore as I used to be post 20 mile long distance runs. Your article was very encouraging. Thank you!

  6. What a GREAT blog! I can’t believe I just discovered this! I feel the exact same way about running. I even find it might HELP my flexibility in yoga (contrary to what everyone seems to say).. and if I don’t run for a bit to focus on yoga, I feel SO deconditioned when I get back out on the trail…

    it’s just hard to find time to keep up both practices!

    1. Hey Christina! Thanks for the compliment:) I checked out your yoga blog and you have some insanely interesting content on there. I added a link to the yoga blogroll. I’m also extremely jealous that you’re heading off for teacher training with Richard Freeman in the near future. That’s definitely one of those things on my to-do list, but for now I’m just content getting lost in the Yoga Matrix while I’m out on a long run:)

  7. Couldn’t agree more, there’s been times in my life where running hasn’t been an option and my cardiovascular fitness deteriorated over time and vice versa where I haven’t fitted yoga into my routine I’ve been more susceptible to injury.

    Personally, I always believe completing yoga, running and full body resistance exercises will help us become more well rounded athletes.

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