Yoga for Runners: Where to Begin

This is a post I originally wrote for our blog at work, I figured even though this blog is primarily about running that this may be a good one to also share here in case anyone is interested in trying yoga, but isn’t sure where to start!

I truly believe in the benefits of yoga for athletes (you can read more about that HERE), and love sharing the practice of yoga with other runners!

YOGA - Where to Begin

I love teaching yoga and introducing it to beginners, but I also know that starting any sort of new fitness routine can be intimidating if you don’t know what to expect!

Here are a few tips for making it to and through your first yoga class:

Find the Right Class

There are many different types of yoga, so before you head out to a class do a little research and make sure you find the class that’s going to be best for you!

While most classes can be modified to be suitable for any level, if you’re totally new to yoga you’ll likely feel most comfortable in a beginner or foundations class where the pace will be a little slower and the teacher will break down each pose step by step.

 (**Note: I personally think a class is the best place to start vs. a DVD or online video since you have a live teacher there giving you feedback and helping you to modify poses for your ability and body!)

What to Wear

You want to be able to use your full range of motion in yoga, so be sure to wear something that allows you to move freely, but isn’t so loose that it’s getting in your way during your practice. Yoga is traditionally done barefoot, so be prepared to leave your socks and sneakers at the door!

What to Bring

Many yoga studios and gyms have yoga props such as mats, blocks and straps that you can use, but if you’re going to be practicing regularly I’d suggest looking into getting your own mat. Mats vary in their cushioning and “stickiness” (non-slip feature), so it’s helpful to find one that works best for you.

You may also want to bring a towel (especially for hot yoga!) and a water bottle to stay hydrated during your practice.

Restorative Yoga Props

Talk to the Teacher

When you arrive at class, be sure to let the teacher know this is your first time or that you’re new to yoga – it’s helpful to know when there are new students to make sure the class is paced correctly and the poses are appropriate.

Also be sure to let the teacher know about any injuries you may be working with so they can suggest modifications or alternatives to poses that may not be right for you to practice.

Make it your own

Instructors will often offer modifications or different versions of poses as they are teaching – make sure to find and practice the version of the pose that is appropriate for your body and your experience level – remember, it’s more important to make sure the alignment of the pose is correct rather than trying to do the deepest expression of the pose!

Pigeon Pose 1

Incorporating yoga into your fitness routine offers many benefits as long as you listen to your body and make your practice right for you!

I’ll be following up this post with another including some specific resources for beginners, so if you have any questions about incorporating yoga into your regular fitness routine let me know and I’d be happy to address them!  

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about specific yoga poses you can visit my Yoga for Runner’s section HERE!

Do you incorporate yoga into your training?

Any specific poses or muscles groups you’d like me to address?

Disclaimer:  This post was originally published on the Mashpee Fitness Blog. 

17 thoughts on “Yoga for Runners: Where to Begin

  1. I’ve gotten much better at getting yoga into my training. I have to use DVDs but I’ve been doing at it least once a week and I’m happy that I’m staying consistent.

    • Do you have any DVD’s you particularly like? I don’t have any and wouldn’t mind finding 1 or 2 good ones to have for when I just feel like following someone else’s lead!

  2. Good stuff! I think yoga is so flippin important for runners. It helps keep me healthy and I take lessons from it to my running – breathing, being in the moment, etc.

  3. This is really interesting! Thanks for sharing. As a runner, I definitely need to get involved!

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