Runners CAN do yoga!

I love running with people. I find it to be really beneficial and fun to delve into a more social side of running. I’m sure that it wouldn’t surprise you that on social runs, I often end up talking to people about yoga, but the conversation often goes something like this…

Runner: What do you do when you don’t run?

Me: I teach yoga.

Runner: I didn’t think runners could do yoga.

This conversation almost always sends me into a fit of rage. Of course runners can do yoga!! In fact, runners NEED yoga. Not only does it help stretch out overused and tight muscles, but the mental benefits are exactly what you need to get through the last few miles of a long run. Somehow, yoga got the rap that it is only for people who walk in ready to chill in full splits. It also got the rap of being something “extra”… not a workout, but this thing you sometimes do… like once a month… you know, if you have the time.

I promise you, consistent yoga will help your running.

This is not only because it will help keep you limber and less injury prone, but learning to quiet your mind is the only way you can beat the negative thoughts that ALL of us struggle with. Yoga teaches us about our bodies, our breath, and tendencies we might have in our thoughts. It also teaches us how to set an intension (and stick with it), it teaches us how to not fly off the handle when someone does something you don’t like, and it makes us strong. If you can do a handstand, you’ve got some serious core strength.

Check out her handstand! She is so strong!
Check out her handstand! She is so strong!

Sometimes I hear how runners probably can’t touch their toes, and that is why they can’t do yoga.

I have been running a lot longer than I have been doing yoga. I was a sprinter by the time I was 6 and I played soccer starting at 11. When I began my yoga practice (as a disgruntled adolescent that was going because their mom said they should), I could barely touch my knees. My hamstrings were like rocks. Over the years, my practice started to get more consistent and eventually, my palms were on the ground.

Standing head to knee pose took many years to build flexibility through consistency and perseverance in my yoga practice.
Standing head to knee pose took many years to build flexibility through consistency and perseverance in my yoga practice.

Am I now a better yogi because my hamstrings are loose? 

NO! Absolutely not. Nothing happened when I touched my toes, well, besides me touching my toes. No rainbows or unicorns appeared. I just touched them. No one high-fived me or threw a party. Maybe I look a little “prettier” (to Yoga Journal Magazine‘s standards) in some postures. I am, however, not “better at yoga” for it. I still lay in relaxation trying to quiet my mind, just like everyone else.

If I have not convinced you yet, here are some runner’s that practice yoga:

Scott Jurek
Shalane Flanagan
Kara Goucher
Lauren Fleshmen
Meb Kefkezighi

They practice for various reasons. Some are looking for the mental benefits, others are looking for strength and flexibility. Regardless, yoga can give you all of these things.

Elites are not the only ones! Here is a pretty awesome (AND FAST) blogger who has a beautiful yoga practice.

So, don’t let the negative talk win. All runners can do yoga. All runners should do yoga.

16 thoughts on “Runners CAN do yoga!

  1. You just made my week! Thank you so much for the shout out and for letting me be a part of this beautiful post. I had no idea that Meb did yoga! That’s so cool! I was a yogi long before I was a runner and they just go hand in hand for me. I can’t imagine my life without either one. 🙂 I wish I lived nearer to you so that I could take one of your classes. I bet you are a phenomenal teacher! ❤


    1. Haha! I’m glad my shoutout made your week! You have such a beautiful practice and you set a great example for other runners to follow.

      Some of the elites have personal yoga teachers. I would love to get that gig!


    1. Yoga can be really intimidating. The movements are so strange and take a lot of practice to master. You should keep at it! It wont take long before you feel like a total natural in a yoga class!


    1. I think the whole flow of it is really important. A lot of people feel the way you do, but time (and when I say time, I sometimes mean a lot of time) doing yoga will help you like it more. Certainly doing some forward folds and stretches at home will help, but there are just things you’ll never get to unless you do the whole class.

      Have you ever tried a heated class? Not like Bikram or something, that might discourage you more, but maybe an all levels hatha or vinyasa class in a warm room. That will loosen up your muscles and make your practice feel a lot more natural. The heat is hard to breath in, but it feels amazing for people who are tight.


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