• The Many Benefits of Chanting

    Chanting is an ancient practice with a wide range of benefits. Studies have shown that it can decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. It helps you feel more relaxed and focused, increasing your general well-being. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the many benefits of chanting and how you can incorporate it into your life.

    What is Chanting?

    Chanting is a repetitive vocalization of sounds or words. It is often done in a group setting, but it can also be done solo. The most common chanting practice is repeating a mantra, which is a word or phrase that is repeated over and over again. Mantras can be in any language, but they are often in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India.

    Find out more about mantras and how to use them respectfully.

    How Does Chanting Work?

    Chanting works by helping to still the mind and focus the attention on the present moment. When we chant, we create vibrations in our bodies that help to shift our energy and state of mind. The repetition of sound helps to quiet the monkey mind—the part of our brain that is always jumping from one thought to the next. This allows us to focus on the present moment and creates a sense of calmness and peace.

    What Are the Benefits of Chanting?

    There are many benefits to chanting. As we mentioned before, chanting can help to decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help to increase focus and concentration and improve your mood. Chanting can also lead to deeper meditative states and expanded consciousness. In short, chanting can help you to feel better both physically and mentally.

    How to start a chanting practice

    There are many ways to start a chanting practice, but here are a few ideas to get you started. Pick a time and place where you can be alone and uninterrupted, and find a comfortable seat. You may want to light a candle or some incense to create an atmosphere that supports your practice.

    Once you’re settled in, begin by taking a few deep breaths and allowing yourself to relax. Then, choose a chant that resonates with you. There are many different chants out there, so take some time to explore and find one that feels right for you.

    Once you’ve chosen a chant, begin by chanting it softly to yourself. As you become more comfortable with the chant, you can increase the volume until you’re chanting it loudly and with full conviction. Be sure to focus on the meaning of the words and how they make you feel. Let the chant carry you away on its waves of sound and energy.

    When you’re finished, take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to come back into the present slowly. Thank the chant for its gifts and release it into the world. Repeat as often as desired!

    If you are ready to give chanting a try check out the chanting classes we offer on Omstars.

    Do you want unlimited access to meditation and yoga classes like this? Sign up for a free trial with Omstars to get started. 

    Photo by Faye Cornish on Unsplash

  • 5 Health Benefits of Learning Splits

    Are you wondering about the benefits of learning splits?

    We’ve all experienced how tight muscles can impact our lives. You wake up on a beautiful Sunday morning, eager to start your day. You stretch your arms overhead and arch your back, feeling the satisfying crunch of your spine cracking. But as you try to bring your legs up into a deep forward fold, you feel a sharp pain in your hips and knees. You reluctantly get up and get dressed for the day, grumbling about your stiff joints.

    You’re not the only one who struggles with flexibility. Many people do, and for them, the thought of doing splits is daunting. But the benefits of learning to do splits are too good to pass up.

    Try the short class at the end of this post to start learning splits.

    Improves your flexibility and range of motion

    Most people know that stretching is important, but they may not realize the many benefits of learning splits.

    For starters, flexible muscles are less likely to be injured. That’s because they’re better able to absorb impact and handle sudden movements. This is especially important for people who play sports or work in physically demanding jobs.

    Additionally, flexible muscles can help improve your range of motion and make it easier to perform everyday activities such as bending, reaching, and twisting. And if you suffer from conditions like arthritis or back pain, improving your flexibility can help lessen your symptoms.

    Improves your balance and coordination

    One of the benefits of learning splits is that when you stretch your muscles to the point where you can do a split, you are lengthening your tendons and improving your range of motion. This can help to improve your balance and coordination by making it easier for your body to adjust to changes in position. It also improves your overall strength and stability.

    Teaches you patience and endurance

    Like with most things in life, learning how to do the splits requires time, patience, and practice. For most people, it’s not something that comes naturally or easily. The process can be frustrating if you don’t have the right mindset.

    The learning process will teach you how to overcome that frustration and be patient with yourself.

    Increases body awareness

    In order to execute a split properly, you must be aware of your entire body and how it’s positioned in space. This can be a challenge at first, but with practice, you’ll get better and better at it. As a result, you’ll not only improve your splits, but you’ll also develop greater body awareness in general. This can help you in all sorts of activities, from sports to dance to yoga.

    Makes you feel younger

    The flexibility from doing splits carries over into other activities in your life, making it easier to do things like squatting down to pick something up or tie your shoes. In addition, doing the splits can help improve your balance and coordination, both of which tend to decline as you get older. So if you’re looking for a way to feel more flexible and agile, learning how to do the splits is a great place to start. Plus, it’s a really cool party trick to have up your sleeve!

    Are you convinced that learning to do the splits is for you? If you are, you should sign up for Omstars and take our Simple Splits Solutions class to learn the techniques you need to learn how to do splits.

    Watch this short class to get started on your splits journey.

    Do you want more yoga classes like this? Sign up for a free trial with Omstars to get started. 

  • All About Yoga for People Over 50

    Do you want to start practicing yoga over 50? Some might be nervous about starting a practice later in life because they associate yoga with bending and twisting their bodies into all kinds of unusual shapes. Don’t worry. That’s not all yoga has to offer.

    Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice that can make you feel healthier overall. It comes in various styles, allowing you to pick something that suits you best. It isn’t just about trying to do a handstand or putting your legs behind your head. If you feel up to it, you can try those things too, but you certainly don’t have to.

    Benefits of yoga over 50

    You can start a yoga practice at any stage of your life. There is no such thing as starting too early or too late. Practicing yoga has many benefits for seniors.

    People who practice yoga find that they:

    • Sleep better
    • Feel a greater overall sense of wellbeing
    • Have improved focus
    • Feel more energetic during the day

    Yoga can be a very gentle exercise, but it does so much to improve your health. It has been found to:

    • Increase strength
    • Improve flexibility
    • Decrease chronic pain
    • Help with arthritis
    • Decrease heart disease
    • Ease stress and anxiety
    • Relieve back pain

    As we age, our muscles and joints stiffen. Getting up from a low chair or sitting on the floor might be more challenging. Practicing yoga gives you the strength and flexibility you need to keep your muscles and joints healthy. When you practice, you move your body in a way you normally don’t. You get time to stretch muscles gently and let them lengthen. You use your body weight to help you grow stronger.

    Many people struggle with their balance as they age. Yoga poses like tree pose and half moon pose help you work on your ability to balance. These poses exercise the muscles in your ankles and feet. As you practice balancing, you’ll notice that each time you get better and better.

    Types of yoga

    Yoga over 50 doesn’t have to be different than the yoga people at any age practice, but if you are starting a yoga practice for the first time, these styles might be best to try.

    • Yin yoga
    • Restorative Yoga
    • Hatha yoga
    • Chair yoga

    Most teachers will give you options to use props to help make poses easier for you. For example, you don’t have to be able to put your legs into lotus pose or do splits to take a yoga class. Most gentle classes won’t include poses like that, and if you encounter a posture that you can’t do, the teacher can show you how to modify the posture to suit your body or give you an alternate you can do instead.

    In yoga classes, students use props like yoga blocks, bolsters, straps, and chairs to support them during their practice. These props make it easier to hold poses using the proper alignment.

    Yoga for seniors has many benefits. It can improve your quality of life and help keep you healthy as you age.

    Try practicing with the gentle yoga class below and see how you feel afterward.

    Do you want more yoga classes like this? Sign up for a free trial with Omstars to get started. 

  • How Yoga Benefits Your Daily Life

    “Yoga opened my heart up to God, made me feel comfortable in my own skin, and has given me so much peace.” – Kino MacGregor

    When we think of yoga, the first thing that often comes to mind is the physical benefits of the practice. While it’s true that yoga benefits the body, there are also many benefits to be gained from a regular yoga practice that extend far beyond the physical.

    When you make the commitment to the yoga journey, you’ll find that every time you step onto your mat you bring more peace and happiness into your life. This doesn’t mean that your yoga journey will be easy. Most things worth pursuing aren’t, but every moment you spend practicing will train your mind and bring you closer to the inner peace we all crave.

    How does yoga bring inner peace? It does so by teaching us some of the most important lessons in life.

    Yoga teaches us how to overcome difficulty

    When we face challenges in our lives, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. We may feel like we are stuck in a rut and that there is no way out. However, yoga teaches us that difficulties are only temporary and that they can be overcome with time and practice.

    When we practice asanas, we see improvement over time. As we continue in our practice our bodies change, and we find ourselves able to do poses that might have seemed impossible to us when we first started practicing. Yoga gives you concrete examples in your life of difficult things improving over time.

    Through yoga, we learn how to be patient and how to persevere through tough times.

    Yoga also gives us discipline

    It is easy to get caught up in our daily lives and forget about our health and wellbeing. However, when we have a regular yoga practice, we are reminded to take time for ourselves and to focus on our breath and body. Yoga helps us to slow down and to be present in the moment. It is a chance for us to step away from our hectic lives and to focus on our health.

    When we have a regular yoga practice, we are more likely to make healthy choices in other areas of our lives as well. We are more likely to eat healthy foods and to get enough sleep. We are also more likely to be less stressed and to have more energy. The discipline of a daily practice extends into all aspects of our lives.

    Yoga teaches us compassion

    Yoga helps us connect with our breath and our bodies in a way that we may not have been able to do before. It helps us slow down and be present in the moment. And it also teaches us compassion – for ourselves and for others around us.

    When we are present in our yoga practice, we are able to see ourselves more clearly. We see our strengths and weaknesses, and we learn to accept ourselves as we are. This self-acceptance then extends to others around us. We become more compassionate towards those who are struggling because we know what it feels like to struggle ourselves.

    Yoga also helps us to see the interconnectedness of all beings. We realize that we are not alone in this world and that we are all connected. This sense of connection then leads to compassion for others, because we understand that their experiences are similar to our own.

    When we practice yoga regularly, we find that we are more patient, more disciplined, and more compassionate. We become better people because of our practice, and we learn to see the world in a different way. There are many reasons to practice yoga. It the power to change us from the inside out, and that is why it is such a special practice. Try it for yourself and see how it can transform your life.

    Start your Omstars membership today to get expert guidance for your at-home yoga practice.

    By Omstars

    Photo by Mikita Karasiou on Unsplash

  • Yoga for Sleep: An Easy Yoga Practice for Beginners

    Do you have trouble sleeping at night? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people around the world suffer from insomnia or other sleep disorders. Luckily, there is a simple and natural solution: yoga.

    One of the many benefits of yoga is that it’s a safe and effective way to improve sleep. People who practice regularly have fewer sleep disturbances and fall asleep more easily.

    Yoga helps to relax your mind and body. It reduces stress and anxiety, by lowering your stress hormones and training your mind to focus on the present moment. All of these benefits lead to better sleep.

    Try these types of yoga for sleep :

    Hatha yoga: This type of yoga is slow and gentle, with basic poses. It’s a good choice if you’re new to yoga or looking for a relaxing practice.

    Yin yoga: This type of yoga focuses on passive, longer-held poses. It’s a good choice if you’re looking to wind down before bed.

    Restorative yoga: This type of yoga uses props to support your body in passive poses. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a deeply relaxing practice.

    Yoga nidra: This type of yoga is also known as “yoga sleep.” It’s a guided meditation that leads you through relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

    This simple beginners yoga practice with Kino is ideal for you to unwind and get ready for sleep.

    Besides doing yoga for sleep, here are some other ways to ensure you’ll get a good rest at night.

    Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. Both of these can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it difficult to fall asleep.

    Create a relaxing bedtime routine. This could involve the yoga sequence in this post and reading a book or taking a bath.

    Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. This will create the ideal environment for sleep.

    Turn off harsh overhead lights before bed. Use only dim soft lamp light when you’re winding down to sleep. Doing so will help trigger your brain to produce melatonin.

    Disconnect from electronics before bed. The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body’s natural sleep rhythm.

    Add the yoga sequence and tips in this post into your nightly routine and you’ll see an improvement in the quality of your sleep in no time.

    Do you want more yoga classes like this one? Start your Omstars membership today to access daily LIVE classes and more than 4,000 on-demand yoga classes. Sign up today!

  • Yoga Is an Excellent Way to Relieve Stress: Here’s Why

    “Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In yoga, they come together in the present.” B.K.S.Iyengar

    Are you feeling stressed out? If so, yoga may be the answer for you! Yoga is a great way to relax and destress after a long day. It can help soothe your nervous system and improve your mental health. Scroll down for a yoga for stress relief practice with Kino MacGregor or keep reading to find out how yoga gets rid of your stress and anxiety.

    Yoga lowers stress hormones

    Studies have shown that yoga lowers cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and calms the nervous system. People who practice regularly are happier, calmer, and able to handle stress more easily. Yoga can also help improve your mood and well-being!

    Yoga activates the parasympathetic nervous system

    So, why is yoga so effective at reducing stress? For one, yoga involves deep breathing exercises which activate the parasympathetic nervous system.

    This system is responsible for “rest and digest” functions in the body, such as blood flow to the gut and relaxation. When we’re stressed, our sympathetic nervous system (the “fight or flight” response) is activated. This can lead to shallow breathing, increased heart rate, and tension in the body.

    Yoga helps to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps the body to relax and feel calmer. Additionally, yoga involves movement and stretching, which can help to release physical tension that has built up in the body.

    Stretching boosts your mood

    Additionally, yoga poses (or asanas) stretch and tone the muscles, which can release tension in the body and make you feel better.

    One theory is that when we stretch our muscles, we release endorphins. Endorphins are hormones that have pain-relieving and mood-boosting effects. So, not only does yoga help to relieve physical tension, but it can also boost your mood!

    Yoga grounds you in the present

    Yoga is also a form of mindfulness, which can help to focus the mind and ease anxiety. When we focus on our breath and the present moment, it can help to ground us. Anxiety often comes from ruminating on past events or worrying about the future.

    Mindfulness helps us to focus on the present moment and let go of these worries. This can lead to a sense of calm and peace.

    The best types of yoga for stress relief

    There are many different types of yoga, and all of them can help to reduce stress. However, some yoga styles are more focused on relaxation than others.

    If you’re looking for a yoga class that will help you relax and de-stress, look for one that is labeled “gentle,” “restorative,” or “yin.” These classes tend to be slower-paced and use props such as blankets and bolsters to support the body.

    If you’re new to yoga, it’s a good idea to start with a beginner’s class. This will help you learn the basic poses and get a feel for the practice. Once you’re more comfortable, you can try a more advanced class.

    No matter what type of yoga for stress relief you choose, remember to focus on your breath and move at your own pace. Listen to your body and rest when you need to.

    Practice this short yoga for stress relief sequence with Kino to relax and unwind.

    Do you want more yoga in your life? Sign up for Omstars to get access to daily live classes, on-demand streaming classes, and a supportive yoga community.

    By Omstars

    Photo by Adél Grőber on Unsplash

  • 29 Reasons to Start a Yoga Practice

    Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded Consciousness. Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind. – Patanjali

    The ancient practice of yoga can be traced back thousands of years. Since its beginnings in northern India, it has spread throughout the world and has morphed into many different styles formed from the ideas of many different gurus, but all of yoga still has something important in common—its benefits.

    No matter how old you are or what kind of physical condition your find yourself in there is a yoga style that suits you. Starting a practice can be a life-changing endeavor that will improve your mental and physical health.

    Here are 29 benefits of yoga to encourage you to start a yoga practice this year.

    Improves sleep

    People who practice yoga regularly report improved quality of sleep. Higher quality sleep helps your body and mind function better throughout the day. People who get a good night’s sleep are more productive and happier.

    Strengthens muscles

    Yoga uses your own body weight to build lean strong muscles at any age. The movements done during a practice activate muscles you may not use regularly in your daily life.

    Increases flexibility

    Getting into all those yoga poses stretches out tight still muscles. Loose flexible muscles are healthy muscles that are less vulnerable to injury.

    Improves mobility

    Mobility is always important but as we age we tend to have issues with mobility and balance that contribute to falling injuries. Older people have some improvements in mobility and balance when they start a regular yoga practice.

    Improves balance

    When you practice yoga, you do balancing postures. These postures don’t just improve balance they also improve foot and ankle strength.

    Decreases depression

    The combination of breathing and movement you do when you practice yoga helps balance hormones and boost the hormones that make you feel good. In turn, this lowers your stress and anxiety helping with depression and general happiness levels.

    Teaches you to live in the present moment

    Yoga is a kind of moving meditation. As you practice you focus on the combination of your movements and breath to stay grounded in the moment.

    Relieves stress and anxiety

    85% of people who practice report that they use yoga for stress relief. It also eases anxiety. Yoga calms the nervous system through the use of deep breathing and movement.

    Motivates you to make other health improvements

    People who practice yoga say that it has motivated them to take further steps to take care of their bodies like eating better and getting additional exercise.

    Eases chronic pain

    The combined benefits of yoga including increased mobility, improved circulation, and decreased inflammation all contribute to relieve chronic pain. Yoga has been found to decrease the pain of conditions like arthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions.

    Improves lung capacity

    Yoga connects your breathing to your movements. Deep controlled breathing is part of the practice and as you continue to practice, you’ll find your breath capacity and your ability to control your breath improve.

    Gives you a sense of inner peace

    Yoga teaches you to use breath to help regulate your emotional state. It also helps you feel a deeper connection between yourself and the world around you.

    Builds confidence

    People who practice yoga have more body confidence. The principles of yoga teach you to accept yourself as you are and not to compare yourself to others.

    Improves your posture

    Yoga stretches and lengthens muscles freeing up vertebrae and giving you the ability to stand up straighter.

    Helps you focus

    People who practice yoga as little as 20 minutes per day report that they are better able to focus when performing other tasks and can remember things more easily.

    Reduces inflammation

    After people practice yoga anti-inflammation markers in their blood decrease and pro-inflammatory markers decrease.

    Helps you get in touch with your body

    The regular practice of movement increases body awareness and helps you get in touch with your body in a healthy way.

    Improves circulation

    The movement of your muscles increases blood flow providing your cells with more life-giving oxygen and helping your feel better physically.

    Gives your immune system a boost

    Lowering your stress hormones boosts your immune system helping your body fight disease more effectively.

    Regulates your energy

    You can use yoga to give you a natural boost when you’re feeling tired and to help you unwind at the end of the day.

    Helps you feel good all over

    People who practice consistently report feeling better after completing a practice.

    Boosts your metabolism

    Regular movement practice boosts your metabolism helping your body burn more energy.

    Improves spine health

    In yoga you move your spine in ways you might not in normal daily life, improving circulation to back muscles and the movement of craniosacral fluid.

    Helps you to get to know yourself

    Coming back to the practice again and again teaches you some important lessons about yourself. As you practice you’ll notice the way you approach your practice mirrors the way you approach life.

    Prevents joint deterioration as you age

    The movement yoga requires keeps your joints naturally lubricated and keeps the blood flowing slowing down the breakdown of your joints as you age.

    Improves bone health

    The weight-bearing and balancing postures help improve bone density.

    Drains your lymphatic system

    Your lymphatic system depends on the movements of your muscles to push lymph throughout your body. The way yoga encourages you to move in ways you normally wouldn’t helps push more lymph through your system.

    Lowers blood pressure

    The calming breathing and movement of yoga calms your nervous system and lowers your blood pressure.

    Gives you a sense of belonging

    Yoga is practiced by people all over the world and there is a community of people who are dedicated to the practice. When you start to practice you become part of that community. Attending yoga classes helps connect you to others.

    By Omstars

    Photo by Elina Fairytale from Pexels

     

     

     

  • Yoga for Stress Relief

    When you’re feeling stressed a gentle restorative class or Yin Yoga class can be just what the doctor ordered. If you are particularly stressed out and you aren’t in a situation where you can do a few yoga poses you can try a short mindful breathing exercise to calm your nervous system and soothe your mind.


    Most of us will feel stress at some point in life, but too much stress can damage your health and even shorten your lifespan. No matter what the root of your stress it’s important to find relief. Yoga can provide stress relief when you need it most. You don’t have to do a full hour of practice to get the stress-relieving benefits of the practice. Taking a few minutes to do a couple of poses can make a big difference by calming your nervous system, relaxing tense muscles, and soothing your busy mind.

    What is yoga?

    Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that increases your physical and mental health. When you practice yoga, you use breath along with movement to deepen your mind-body connection.

    Yoga isn’t reserved for people who are already flexible or in shape. Anyone can do it. Poses can be modified to fit any body type or physical ability. You don’t have to wear fancy yoga clothes or have an expensive yoga mat. You only need a willingness to learn.

    Benefits of Yoga

    Stretching and moving your body is good for your muscles. The human body was meant to move around after all.

    Researchers have been studying yoga for years and have found that when practiced even for a few minutes it can lower stress hormone levels.

    Studies have shown that yoga …

    What to do when you’re stressed…

    When you’re feeling stressed a gentle restorative yoga class or Yin Yoga class can be just what the doctor ordered.

    If you are particularly stressed out and you aren’t in a situation where you can do a few yoga poses you can try this short mindful breathing exercise.

    Sit up straight and breathe deeply through your nose. Be sure to breathe from your diaphragm, letting your belly and then your chest expand with each inhale to fill your lungs to capacity. Then slowly exhale through your nose. As you exhale let your muscles relax. Feel the tension flowing out of your body. Focus your mind on the feeling of the air moving through your nostrils. Take 10 slow steady breaths to calm your mind and body.

    When you are in a space where you can do some yoga this 10-minute practice will relax the tension you’re holding in your body and melt away the stress.

    We live in a hectic world, but with yoga on your side, you have the tools to keep stress at bay and walk through this busy world with a calm and steady mind. If you’re ready to start practicing regularly sign up for a 14-day trial with Omstars and find out how an at-home yoga practice can change your life.

    By Omstars

    Sign up for an Omstars membership to take your yoga practice to the next level.

    Click here to start your 14-day free trial today!

     

    Photo by rishikesh yogpeeth on Unsplash

  • 4 Benefits of Yoga for Runners

    Are you a runner? Did you know that a yoga practice can actually be really good for balancing and improving your experience with running? We know a lot about yoga here at OMstars, but to help shed light on the AMAZING benefits that yoga can offer to runners, we reached out to sports enthusiast, Jane Grates. In this post, Jane will be sharing 4 benefits that yoga can offer for runners, and we think you’ll like them. So if you’re a runner who’s looking for ways to improve, or if you’re already considering yoga as a means of cross-training, check out what Jane has to say!

    When you talk to runners, it’s a near-universal truth that all they want to do is run. If given the option between running for 40 minutes or doing a 30-minute run, followed by a 10 minute full-body cross-training routine, such as yoga, I’d wager that 9 runners out of 10 would prefer to just run. This line of thinking is with good reason, too; runners think that in order to become a better runner — faster, stronger, healthier, fitter — that they have to simply run more.

    The issue, of course, is that sometimes exclusively running can set runners up for injuries and over time, if left uncorrected, they can inadvertently sideline themselves. It’s often not until  runners are sidelined due to injury that they begin to cross-train in earnest — such as incorporating a weekly or near-daily yoga routine — and it’s then, and only then, that they finally begin to see the light.

    Fortunately, as yoga has gotten more mainstream and popular, it seems that many runners are slowly becoming aware of the role yoga can play in their running. Of course, yoga can do a number for runners’ mental game — teaching them how to focus, how to remain present, and how to quiet internal doubts, among others — but yoga can also do great things for runners’ flexibility.

    Runners tend to become really strong in certain muscle groups and very weak or tight in others, thanks to the tendency to run in only plane of motion and for most runners, at only one speed. Yoga, then, has a great role to play in essentially “balancing out” runners’ muscular imbalances. For many runners, they may have quads of steel, but their hamstrings are likely extraordinarily tight and/or weak. Yoga can do wonders for this issue or for others like it.

    Below, I’ll describe in additional detail, more benefits of yoga for runners. Afterward, I’ll also include good yoga poses that runners should incorporate into their practice.

    Some benefits of yoga for runners include the following:

    Yoga can help runners learn how to focus. Yoga is often described as a meditative practice, and similarly, many people refer to running as moving meditation. It’s common for runners’ minds to go all over the place when they’re running and to sometimes give up when the going gets tough. Yoga can help runners learn how to focus by figuring out how to stay in the present moment (or the present mile, for the matter) and not get ahead of themselves or fear the future. There’s a lot of quiet downtime in a yoga practice, particularly if you practice by yourself as you move through the sequences, and it’s from these quiet moments that runners can cultivate a renewed or stronger ability to focus.

    Yoga can help runners learn how to stay calm. Closely related to the above, yoga can also help runners learn how to stay calm. Both running and yoga can be meditative and cathartic practices, but sometimes running can become extremely stressful, such as in racing environments or in really tough practices. A lot of times, you’ll hear runners complaining that their minds gave up on them before their bodies did. Sports psychologists will attribute this to a lack of mental fitness — as opposed to physical fitness — and yoga, with its associated opportunities to focus on the single, solitary moment or present — can do wonders in cultivating a sense of calmness, even amongst the cacophony of modern-day life.

    Yoga can help rectify muscular imbalances brought about by running. As I mentioned earlier, runners often become very strong athletes. More often than not, though, they become very strong in some areas — such as their quads — and very weak in others — such as their hamstrings, glutes, or iliotibial bands. An effective yoga practice can help rectify these imbalances and can essentially “even out” runners’ musculature. Runners don’t need to be as flexible as gymnasts, necessarily, but being sufficiently flexible and having a healthy range of motion will enable runners to derive as much power and force out of their foot strikes and strides throughout their runs.  That said, it behooves runners to be at least a little flexible.

    Yoga can be a powerful way to strengthen runners’ core musculature. Finally, runners often spend a good amount of time strengthening their core muscles — those found in their abdominals, back, and trunk — and yoga is a very efficient and effective way to strengthen core musculature. There are many different types of poses that target various parts of the “core,” and runners would greatly benefit from incorporating these different moves/poses into their practice each week.

    In addition to all the benefits that yoga confers for runners, it’d be worthwhile to know exactly which ones are most pertinent to runners’ needs. While there are seemingly hundreds of different types of yoga poses out there, the following poses can be especially effective for runners.

    They include the following:

    1. Triangle
    2. Low lunge/lizard
    3. Bridge
    4. Pigeon – reclining or standard
    5. Upward/downward dog

    Runners have so much to gain from yoga, and hopefully with a little insistence and urging on your part, they’ll begin to see for themselves just how much a regular routine can enhance their running.

    By Jane Grates

    Give Yoga A Try On OMstars – The Yoga Network!

    Jane Grates is a Sports enthusiast and a hiker. Making at the intersection of simplicity and function to craft delightful brand experiences.