Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Yoga for Runners *Giveaway*

Happy May Day!  Does anyone still participate in the May Day tradition?
Fill small baskets with flowers or treats and leave on someone's doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver. If they catch the person, a kiss is exchanged.  (My husband usually brings me home flowers and gets "caught" on purpose...)


I started the first day of May with yoga and it felt so good! I don't even remember when I started yoga, but it was years ago.  I don't practice daily.  I wish I did, but I'm the kinda gal who is anxious to "get busy" which usually means a high-paced activity like running or Spinning. So whenever I enter a taper period of training, I resort back to yoga to release my anxious energy.
I love starting the day with yoga
Many people view yoga as a lot of meditating and lounging around... an easy workout.  Let me assure you, it is not!  I sweat.  I usually end up opening the window or turning on the fan because I can't stand sweating while standing still.  (Yeah, hot yoga will never be for me.)  If you haven't added Yoga yet to your cross-training routine, you should seriously consider the benefits it can add to your running.

Yoga offers a great stretch.  After a hard run, lactic acid builds up in your muscles, causing stiffness, pain and soreness. The stretches of yoga release the lactic acid and help ease the tension in muscles and joints - without fatigue and overexertion.  I also like to time yoga before my run. There's a lot of debate on the correlation of running performance and flexibility. In my personal experience, I find the more flexible I am, the better I run.  Misaligned muscles are stiffer and less efficient on the run.

I love how the triangle pose digs into my inner  thigh muscle

Yoga builds strength.  Most yoga poses focus on precise alignment rather than the movement.  By continually striking poses (resembling lunges, squats or pushups) and holding them, you get a full body strength workout without lifting one dumbbell.  Your upper-body will relish in downward/upward dog and plank poses. My arms shake. The standing poses work your hamstrings, quads and glutes.  And when practiced correctly, nearly every single yoga move builds you abdominal muscles.  Believe me, you'll feel the core the next day!  Additional strength in muscles will make your running both stronger and faster.
One of my favorite poses - the side plank
Yoga improves balance, posture and breathing.  Who knew holding one-legged poses can improve your running? If you're anything like me, I tend to trip (and have even fallen a couple times) in running.  By improving your balance through yoga poses, you can more easily recover from these obstacles in the road.  As you practice yoga, your core will without question get stronger, which automatically improves your posture. Stand tall. Run tall. As you open your chest, the passages to your lungs will open as well, allowing for easier breathing. Since yoga normally requires deep mindful breathing techniques, the outcome is an improved lung capacity.  I don't know a single person who doesn't struggle with their breathing while running.

Lastly, yoga has a calming effect. Like many other physical activities, your mind is focused and clear of the daily stresses that ail you.  As you concentrate on the poses (and not falling), the endless mind chatter disappears.  Some research suggest yoga provides a boost in oxytocin hormone, which is associated with feeling of relaxation and connection to others. It certainly leaves me in a better mood and that alone is worth it.
Join me during the month of May in the 30 Day Yoga Challenge, hosted by Run to the Finish.  Even if I can't do a full yoga workout each day (say the morning of my marathon!), I am still vowing to practice yoga for 30 straight days.  Whether it be a couple morning poses to help me focus or an hour long workout to build strength, I look forward to reconnecting with yoga.

In honor of tonight's Biggest Loser finale, I'm giving away 
two (2) yoga DVDs featuring The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper.
His newest series "Inside Out Method" came out in 2010
My favorite yoga DVD of all time!
From 2008, this program lets you build your own workout.
Sometimes I only have time for Level 1 (20 minutes) and other times I do all 3 levels.

I have experimented with several Yoga DVDs over the years, but I keep coming back to Bob Harper.  I'm not a fan of the yoga instructors who talk in a disturbing quiet and mundane voice. With Bob Harper, you get great instruction and some humor tossed in.  Using Rafflecopter below, you can enter up to 6 times before May 9th.  Tweet once a day for even more entries!  Good Luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway

71 comments:

  1. I LOVE pigeon, it's how I sleep almost half the night, mainly facing left. :)

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  2. I think I should start doing yoga, it would probably benefit me!

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  3. I absolutely love practicing yoga and wish I could fit it in more regularly. My favorite poses are pigeon or triangle, depending on which part of my legs need the most attention. :)

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  4. I love yoga so much, I try to go to classes 2-4 times a week, I have never done anything more than a few sun salutations at home for fear I will do it wrong. I love pigeon and dancer pose more than most others!!

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  5. I definitely need the strengthening that yoga can give.

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  6. Downward dog.

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  7. My favorite pose is down dog! I feel it in my entire body. Yoga is the best!

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  8. I desperately want to learn to love yoga. I know it'd be so beneficial for me. Not only with running, but just relaxing period.

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  9. I have only had one demonstration. It was Saturday after a run. I LOVED IT!! Im going back tonight for a full class

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  10. Love this post! I am currently trying to work yoga into my fitness schedule and am looking for a good yoga DVD. I really like the pigeon pose. I use that as one of my post run stretches. Thanks for the info!

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  11. My favorite yoga pose is triangle :) I love the simultaneous leg stretch and torso twist it gives me!

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  12. I don't have a favorite yoga pose yet as I'm just starting.

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  13. Love yoga, it's a great balance for running. A chattaranga is my favorite move....High plank, low plank, up dog to down dog, moving with your breath. Pigeon pose is also a great one for runners, a good hip opener.

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  14. I have no core strength so this will be a great challenge for me! I do like the triangle and warrior pose!

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  15. Downward facing dog!

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  16. I love P90X yoga- downward dog really helps me stretch my calves!

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  17. I have two favorite poses . . . the down dog and warrior. And I also like the pigeon pose . . . so good to stretch my IT band!!

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  18. I really want to get into yoga this season during my second attempt at a marathon. I've heard so many good things about how it helps running. I need to try it!

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  19. I'm new to yoga so I'm not quite sure of my favorite pose. I like the one where we lay like a snake! :)

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  20. Downward Dog along with Sun Salutation. Love those two.

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  21. Very new to yoga (I have done only 2 yoga workouts). I think it was Warrior that I liked? I would like to do more this month and going to try to get hubby to do it with me. We'll go back and forth with yoga and Pilates. That is his favorite!

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  22. Im gonna try some yoga for my IT band it needs strengthening.
    amandamdaley at yahoo dot com

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  23. This is perfect for me! I have an item on my bucket list that involves a yoga pose, a beach, and a camera! This would so help me!

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  24. I've been dying to try either of these - I love Bob's demeanor and calmness. I really want to get back into a yoga routine, it just makes me feel so strong and confident!

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  25. I am so excited about this. I am trying to get into yoga and I think Bob would be a great guide. :)

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  26. I teach a yoga/pilates class twice a week. LOVE IT! I have a lot of favorite poses. I definately do some downdog every day!

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  27. Child's Pose! Can use that right now!

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  28. Sun salutation! It always makes my back feel soooo good! I started yoga a few years ago on Wii Fit, of all things, and although I don't practice often, it always makes me feel good when I do it!

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  29. I am new to yoga. I love doing several poses but don't know what they are called. I would love to win a Dvd so I can continue to learn ,ore!

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  30. I have never tried yoga, but it sounds like a great complement to running. Thanks for the article! I will have to try it soon.

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  31. It used to be downward dog. I know, so hard right? Then it was side plank. BUT since getting pregnant, I have to do preggo yoga and haven't started that yet. BUT now's a perfect reason to start (The 30 day yoga challenge!)

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  32. I am doing the 30 day challenge. Here goes nothing

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  33. Downward dog and plank.

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  34. Pigeon pose is my favorite - even though I don't like pigeons in real life.

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  35. I'm in...did a thirty minute walk and run with my middle son. I usually go alone, but I'm hoping to get him into it too.

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    1. Jess: I made a mistake, I'd like to do this, but I'm unable to at this time.

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  36. Signed up early for this challenge. I haven't practiced yoga in a long time so I was very stiff doing some of the poses. My favorite is both Warrior Poses. I am out of practice so 10 min was all I could handle..:)

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  37. I know very little about yoga (hoping to change that) but I have used the pigeon pose to help stretch my hips out. And like Liz who commented before me, I don't like pigeons (or birds) either =)

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  38. Love it, great article, very timely! I am recovering from an injury and was told no cross training cardio, but yoga, yoga, and you guessed it - yoga!

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  39. Warrior 2 is my daughter's favorite pose. She always turns her hand over and waves it in a "bring it on" gesture because she feels so strong in that position. I love doing yoga with her. She's 12. My favorite pose is Sun Salutation, but I like moving through positions smoothly (or as smoothly as I can).

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  40. My oldest daughter and I were just talking about yoga and it helping to stretch me out! I think she gets tired of stretching me out when I am sweaty after a run! I am not sure if i can commit to 30 days of yoga but I will check the challange out! Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

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  41. The one pose that starts out as warrior and goes down to runner or something of that sort. I don't know the names as I ultimately suck at yoga but its really stretches out the legs and I do it after runs all the time.

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  42. My favorite pose (which is hard sometimes too!) is the Tree pose. I love how it works my core balance, single-leg balance, and just feels awesome!

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  43. Does child's pose count as my favorite?! :) Great giveaway girl! I have just recently gotten into yoga and it has helped my running so much!! I am a firm believer in it!!

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  44. my favorite is tree pose. I've only recently gotten into yoga, but I love it as a slow-paced exercise!

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  45. Oh I would love this! I haven't done yoga in years but have been reading more and more about the benefits of it with running. Now, that I just completed my first half and have my sights set on much more....I know I could use it! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

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  46. I dont have a favorite pose yet that is why I need this DVD!!1 :)

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  47. The warrior pose is a favorite of mine

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  48. I'm usually to lazy t get going, but I definitely see the benefits of yoga.

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  49. I used to do Yoga a few years ago and loved, need to get back to it for my Back, Loved downward dog!!

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  50. I'm getting into yoga now because I'm recently injured and unable to run :( But I'm learning to love yoga and its been good for my flexibility!

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  51. I love childs pose.... I could stay in that position all day, lol :)

    I <3 yoga!

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  52. My favorite yoga pose is warrior 3

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  53. I would love this, I am trying to get into other fitness aspects to be a well rounded runner and this would be great!

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  54. I don't know any poses, but I'd love to learn!

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  55. Pigeon hurts so good. And I know I should do it more often.

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  56. I don't do a whole lot of yoga (yet!) but my favorite are the warrior poses.

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  57. Have only done a few times - but the warrior poses are top of my list!

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  58. So glad you reposted this. I NEED to win. I'm getting old, tight and have several yoga dvds that stink! However, rafflecopter says it's closed so I'm guessing I missed the boat! :o(

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    1. Whoops! Ended a day early. I fixed it! Enter until midnight on May 9.

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  59. downward dog the only one i know

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