The restorative power of yoga counters the constant pounding on your legs and spine, while also helping develop and maintain a sense of space in the hips and lower back. In addition, the increased oxygen coursing through a yoga-enhanced athlete’s body means less soreness and quicker tissue repair after you push it.
9. Injury prevention
Yoga promotes a constant awareness of what is going on in your body and mind. Many classes begin with a reminder to honor your body’s particular needs and limits on that particular day. “Yoga helps with your ability to discern between discomfort and pain,” says Sage Rountree, author of The Runner's Guide to Yoga. “This is an important distinction as the hours and miles wear on your body.”
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Yoga uses your own bodyweight as resistance to build strength. “People don't realize yoga is work, it’s a physical practice,” says Taj Harris, endurance runner, yoga teacher, and Crunch Group Fitness Coordinator. Poses require strength as well as balance, she says. “Honestly I'm rarely on the weight floor in the gym. I use yoga to strengthen.