yoga for runners

YOGA FOR RUNNERS

YOGA FOR RUNNERS

All sports involve repetition, and repetition can easily lead to injury. Push one muscle group or body part hard enough, and something’s gonna give. Running combines relentless repetition with high impact: a perfect storm that’s wreaked havoc on many bodies!

Here’s the scoop about:

  • the most common complaints
  • why they happen
  • how yoga can help!

FOOT PAIN

The Cause: Downward pressure + impact on weak muscles on the underside (sole) of the foot. Often results in a neuroma (under second toe) or plantar fasciitis (bottom of heel or whole sole of foot).

What To Do:

  1. Practice lifting and spreading your toes, always! Whenever you’re barefoot. In every yoga pose. Enjoy a passive stretch by wearing Yoga Toes (rubber toe spacers) when practicing and whenever barefoot.

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  1. Walk/run with your feet parallel.
  2. Wear shoes with good arch support and sufficient padding (toss those old shoes every few months!). Barefoot running is an excellent idea, but few of us have feet ready for the challenge!

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Why It Works:

The foot, used properly, is designed to bear your weight. But years of wearing shoes on hard, flat floors and sidewalks weakens the muscles we need to walk/run freely. Lifting and spreading the toes charges up muscles throughout the foot and ankle to give the support you need. Turning the feet parallel distributes the weight evenly on inner and outer foot.

(INNER/OUTER) KNEE PAIN

The Cause: “Tracking”: The kneecap should line up with the second toe. Too far in, too far out, too turned in, too turned out, and the padding in the knee erodes, ending in bone grinding on bone.

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What To Do:

  1. Walk/run with feet parallel.
  2. Reduce impact by gliding rather than bouncing when you run.

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Why It Works:

The knees aren’t designed to rotate. Anytime your feet turn out or in, it torques the knee. Line up your feet, and your knees will follow! Gliding simply reduces downward pressure on the padding (cartilage), allow it to stay spongy.

TIGHT HAMSTRINGS

*Not technically an injury, but since everyone seems to be obsessed with touching their toes, I hear this complaint a lot.

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The Cause: Running doesn’t tighten your hamstrings—running with your feet turned out does!

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What To Do:

  1. Walk/run with your feet parallel

Why It Works:

Turning your feet parallel allows the knees to align. The hamstrings attach to the inner and outer knee. Aligning the knees prevents the hamstrings from tightening.

LOWER BACK PAIN

The Cause: Running increases the impact of the upper torso pressing down on the lower back—up to four times your body weight. This affects men even more, as they tend to have more upper-body mass and narrower hips than women.

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What To Do:

  1. As above, walk/run with your feet parallel.
  2. Lift your low belly in and up, and glide rather than bounce.

Why It Works:

  1. Turning your feet out flattens the lower back, disabling the spine’s natural “spring” or shock absorption. Feet parallel restores the natural curve.
  2. Lifting the low belly helps support the weight of the upper body, which no longer collapses down on the lower back. Gliding reduces the downward thrust.

Of course, there’s lots more to pain-free running. Getting just the right alignment for each body is part science, part art—a practice of informed trial and error, guided by basic anatomical principles. It’s what I do when I work one-on-one with my students. Try these simple tips today. If you get stuck or find yourself still in pain, reach out for a FREE CONSULT. Together we’ll start you on the path to running free!

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