I started running in 2001, in a desperate bid to loose some weight and get back into my Size 10’s (I was a post-graduate student at the time so little spare money). I still remember that first run (or walk) of a mile and I also remember collapsing on the bed afterwards, thinking what was I doing. The rest they say is history. I’ve practised yoga for the same length of time, starting of in a very cramped student halls bedroom made it quite interesting but regular practice has enabled me to stay injury free for so long.
The benefits of regular yoga practice extend long past the start line though, in yoga we learn ‘to be in the moment’ in other wards when attempting a hand balance, or backbend or holding awkward pose for a minute in a birkram practice we teach ourselves to focus on a single point (Drishti) and that helps us maintain it despite out legs wobbling or arms buckling. We learn to control out breathing and also we learn to breath fully, via the yogic technique of breath control (pranayama). Brought to a race they help me stay calm and centred on the start line, as I am happy to just sit down and meditate whilst everyone else parades about. We learn that muscles aren’t single entities, but interconnected. Standing in Savasana (mountain pose) or lunging forward in anjaneysana (Cresent Moon Pose) we learn to scissor our legs together and lift out of our legs, engage our core and open are shoulders. We also learn about our hips and hamstrings, two areas of concern for most runners.