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Why runners should practice yoga

Champaign, IL — Runners are very concerned with healthy lifestyles and often claim that the main reason they run is to stay in shape and stay healthy (according to Running USA's National Runner Survey). But runners typically do not incorporate yoga into their routines. According to Christine Felstead, creator of the Yoga for Runners training program, runners have a tremendous amount to gain from adding yoga to their fitness regimen. Incorporating meditation, just one aspect of yoga, into a runner's regime can have a huge benefit, as according to Felstead, “It may change your relationship with running and provide a completely new outlook on it. It can also heighten the mental benefits of running while eliminating the stress-inducing aspects of it.”

In her forthcoming book, Yoga for Runners (Human Kinetics, October 2013), Felstead describes how yoga benefits runners, including the following three benefits of meditation.

  1. Better Health. “Stress is harmful to health and is responsible for a range of problems affecting individuals and society at large,” states Felstead. In addition to physical ailments such as heart disease and high blood pressure, it can cause psychological distress, insomnia, and anxiety. Felstead points out that in addition to the physical benefits runners get simply from running, introducing meditation will augment these benefits by taking care of runners' minds. “The mind and body, acting as one, create a greater overall sense of well-being,” says Felstead.
  2. A Stronger Mind. In addition to strengthening their bodies with physical exercise, runners need to achieve mind-body harmony, according to Felstead. She states,“When the mind is under more control, it is better able to guide you through life.” By incorporating meditation, runners, runners can further balance and strengthen their brain. Felstead points out that “Strength of mind and mind control are also extremely helpful during a race!”
  3. Intuition. Felstead states that intuition is often drowned out by the hectic pace of daily living. But with meditation, distractions are reduced, which allows runners to “become more aware of inner self and better able to discern internal messages”. Felstead says, “By quieting the mind and being in the present moment, intuition improves.” She goes on to state that listening to their inner voice can save runners from injuries: “If those hamstrings are speaking, don't ignore the message! Remember that intuition only exists in the present moment.”

“Practicing mindfulness helps cultivate a broader awareness of experience,” Felstead stresses. “When runners are mindful, they can recognize experience, pain, suffering, happiness, and pleasures as part of an interdependent system that includes mind, body, and environment.”

Yoga for Runners introduces 98 yoga poses and 10 sequences to instruct readers on improving strength, flexibility, endurance, breathing, mental sharpness, and overall running performance. For more information on Yoga for Runners or other yoga resources, visit