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Cross Training with Yoga and Running

by Crystal Griffiths

This may sound crazy, but Yoga and running have a lot in common. They both require practice, agility, flexibility, patience and your own breathing method. Runners who take up Yoga often begin to love running even more.

It’s all too common for runners to complain of shin splints, pulled muscles, aching knees and hips. Many of these runners have put stretching very low on their list of priorities, calling it a waste of time. Truly flexible runners rarely injure themselves and benefit greatly from combining running and stretching, especially when they take advantage of the many benefits Yoga offers.

Runners primarily work certain muscles, mainly in the legs and core. Yoga, which utilizes all the body’s muscles, including the often-neglected stabilizers, makes the runner stronger and better functioning as a whole.

Runners tend to look at running as a mission, battling the elements, challenging physical limitations and meeting personal expectations. Runners stay in touch with their abilities, developing discipline and self-control. The whole body and mind connection that Yoga provides improves a runner’s ability to achieve goals and exceed past performance levels.

Holding a Yoga pose isn’t as easy as it looks! Take a class you’ll see that Yoga can be just as difficult as running, and holding poses is a wonderful way to build up muscular endurance, one of the most important assets of a good runner.

Runners who count Yoga out as a cross training activity are really missing out on improving their technique. Aside from the many other health benefits that can be derived from Yoga, it certainly can improve a runner’s stamina, mindset and love for the sport.



Strung together, these six yoga poses form a routine that builds the abdominals, back, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and upper body while also improving balance.

Targeting these areas will give you a strong foundation—which means more power, less chance of injury. Two days a week, cut your runs just a mile short to fit in this 10-minute sequence.

Do the first three poses twice (one side, then the other). Then do the second three poses in the same manner.

You can also try these eight tips from a master yoga teacher to help make your practice flawless



Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

With your feet, knees, thighs touching, sit into a squat. Extend your arms.


Twisting Chair

Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

While in chair, press your palms together, and rotate to the right.


Twisting Lunge

Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

Step your left foot back while holding the twist. Keep your knee over your ankle.


Warrior III

Builds: balance and overall strength

Balance on your left foot. Fold forward, lifting your right leg. Extend your arms.


Arrow Lunge

Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms

Step your right leg back into a lunge, keeping arms extended.


Extended-Leg Balance

Builds: posture, balance, legs

Swing your right leg up and hold it extended in front of you.

Active logoGain flexibility and strength at a yoga class.


Crystal Griffiths  is currently going to Salt Lake Community College for her Marketing Management Degree. Her personal blog is “I live life by balancing what I want with an honest appreciation for what I already have. Living outside the realm of what's normally considered acceptable or appropriate”................