A personal exploration of how yoga and running is a perfect combination…
The most obvious and straightforward connection between yoga and running as complementary practices is this:
>> Yoga provides much-needed mobility and flexibility to our joints and connective tissues whilst,
>> Running increases cardiovascular capacity and endurance.
These are welcome paybacks for our yoga practice.
For a long time, I proclaimed to “not be a runner,” since I’d finally found my one true love – yoga! I would shudder at the mention of running, visited by flashbacks of days spent pounding the pavement, persistently overriding my body’s cues, enduring painful joints and interrupted breath in an effort to torch calories and/or exhaust myself. I believed these to be the sole goals of movement. When my path guided me to yoga and I was introduced to the revolutionary concept of listening to and honouring my body, I was sure that I would never go back to running.
That was, until I was introduced to Run 180.
The Run 180 program is essentially running made safe and easy, the goal being to support you in running at a steady and manageable pace, increasing your endurance each time until you can comfortably run, non-stop, for a full 20 minutes. The program teaches you to run with quick, light steps – quick and light being the way we ran as children, how we all run naturally, and how elite runners powerfully make their way around a track.
Rachel Stanley, an incredible yoga teacher, knowledgeable sports physiotherapist and founder of Run 180, is on a mission to educate and inspire runners and non-runners alike to benefit from the incredible ease, enjoyment and effectiveness of running at a pace of 180 beats per minute. After just one run, I was hooked. Now I, too, feel deeply motivated to share the life-changing magic of Run 180, and how incorporating intentional, steady, mindful running into my daily life has brought me incredible joy, stamina and vitality.
Your own personal running coach
Run 180 is your own personal running coach, inspiring you along your journey from Level 1, running one minute and walking one minute, all the way to Level 6, where you will eventually meet your goal of running a full 20 minutes. Rachel’s tips and inspiration make this both an achievable and exciting process. The program helps you to develop your running practice in a way that is safe and honouring of your body, reminding us that progress means feeling ‘comfortable both during and after the run sessions.’
A natural high
When our run is well-paced and safe, the result is the famous “runner’s high.” Our brain is a natural pharmacy that with the right cues, produces an abundance of feel-good drugs and hormones – serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine. This is the perfect recipe for a good mood all day, as well as a stronger, healthier body. Not to mention, running training is an incredible investment in our long-term wellbeing, much like putting money in a savings account. With each run, our balance grows, each small deposit paying dividends in how we feel every minute of the day, nourishing our physical health and allowing us to enjoy greater clarity, creativity and alertness.
The links between a running practice and life, itself.
Running also provides us with a portal to developing a felt sense of the fine line between surrender and striving, of knowing just how much effort and ease is required to grow and transform healthily, and without pain or suffering. Realising this inner discernment between too much and too little, is one of the most beautiful and profound gifts of our yoga practice. It is also one that running can more clearly articulate for us when approached with patience and non-judgement. If we can run kindly, while still inspiring ourselves to receive the positive benefits of the practice, we can start to apply this same level and flavour of effort to every field and facet of life.
Rachel and the Run 180 program have already transformed so many of our Living Flow yogis’ lives. You’re welcome to join us each Saturday morning at our community run meet-up – simply show up, plug in your headphones and start your running journey with us. And if reading this has opened up further curiosity, sign up for our next Run Yogi | Run 180 Workshop.
x Natalie (With writing support from Erin Dooley)
Watch Rachel’s Love to Run video or learn more about Run 180 over at run180.com.au