By Kathryn Blackie-Taylor
A look at the sports science to support adding yoga to your training
Components of fitness are either health or skill-related. Health-related components are necessary for good health and daily living. These are flexibility, muscular strength, muscular endurance, aerobic endurance, and body composition. Good health should be the runner’s first priority in order to have good immune function and avoid injury. Specific skill-related components are necessary for sport-related performance. These are agility, speed, muscular power, reaction time, coordination, and balance. Which components you need to work on will depend on the type of running you do and the terrain you run on.
So how can yoga help?...
The term ‘functional training’ has become popular in sport and fitness in recent years. The concept of functional training is linked to the training principle of specificity. This states that a specific type of training is needed to produce a specific type of adaptation in the body. Adaptation is the term for the physiological changes that occur in the body in response to training which lead to improved fitness or performance.
Downface Dog pose is a strengthening pose for the whole body and also offers an opportunity to stretch the backs of legs. Try raising one leg to increase benefits.
REvolved Half Moon Pose
Revolved Half Moon Pose is a balance which will strengthen all of the postural muscles needed for running, especially the gluteal muscles which stabilise the pelvis.
Rotated Low Lunge
Rotated Low Lunge offers a twist for the torso, opens across the chest, improves core rotation, and is a very effective hip stretch, particularly targeting hip flexors.
When I started yoga I could hardly fold forwards due to the tightness of my hamstrings. Gradually, as I learnt technique, learnt to listen to my body and ease myself into stretches, I began to lengthen. In time, you can feel like your skin fits, feel that your movements are free and comfortable and you will avoid developing injuries.
Yoga practices will also help you to coordinate breathing and movement, develop awareness of your body, and learn how to balance training aims with other aspects of life and health.
Pigeon pose is a great hip stretch working on the hip flexors on one side and the glutes on the other.
Sleeping thunderbolt is a great hip flexor and quadriceps stretch ... and very relaxing. Use a bolster to make the pose comfortable for you.
Plough pose is a great post-run practice as it is relaxing as well as providing a stretch for the back of the body. Beginners can rest feet on a chair to start with.
Don’t take my word for it. Find a class and try for yourself.
About the Author...
See www.doitwithyoga.co.uk for details of classes and workshops.