Yoga and Running

Yoga and Running

By Lilia Wills.   Lilia is an active runner who has run distances from 5K to 55K all over the globe.  She is also a certified yoga instructor and owns Bliss Yoga on Main Street in Monroe. 

You often hear yoga is great for runners, but most runners are intimidated by yoga, especially since running is a somewhat solo sport unless one is participating in a running club and even then everyone runs on their own.

There are really no excuses for postponing, or not trying yoga. One doesn’t even need to attend a formal class, however a class led by a trained yoga teacher especially one who focuses on yoga for runners cannot only increase the overall performance and pace of a runner, also will prevent injuries and the runner will feel in optimal physical condition.

As a yoga teacher and a runner I can guarantee that running has made all the difference in my own health; I also witness it in those I have taught in the past years and currently. There are many yoga postures that are encouraged for runners to practice in order to keep their hips flexible, shoulders relaxed and open, core strengthened and overall hamstrings and legs stretched and ready for any race or run in general.

Our 27th annual Sprint for Monroe is around the corner, in fact it is in three weeks. Try yoga if you haven’t! How do you start yoga, same as running, just get going! Do you know what’s the best part, there is not need of special shoes or equipment. My suggestion is to learn a few basic yet vital postures for optimal running (see photos). Combine the postures with yogic breath (in and out the nose, long & steady inhalations and exhalations). These few poses should get you started. If you have an injury a one on one yoga session may be the best approach.

Please remember it’s the time you put in for your consistent yoga practice it is the catalyst for change in your running performance. Don’t hesitate to try a class at Bliss Yoga, located on 160 Main Street in Monroe. I offer group and private classes all week long. Check out the website at

FullSizeRender-1Yoga Postures 1-10 in order:
1. Flipping the Downward Facing Dog or Wild Thing-hip & chest opener.
2. Lil-Run time anytime I find time.
3. Side Stretch/Lateral Stretch-stretches the hamstrings, opens the hip of bent leg, opens the chest, releases the entire side of the body.
4. Side Plank-core and obliques strengthener, lengthens the body, opens the top shoulder and hip.
5. Pigeon Pose with hands in Prayer with Twist- one of the most recognized hip openers, can be done in many variations and adding foam rolling.
6. Peaceful Warrior in the run at Wed Mountain- it’s one graceful yet powerful standing pose, strengthens the front quad, stretches the back leg entirely, releases tension in the entire body.
7. Cobra is a back bucking stretch, spine lengthened, chest opener and quadriceps empowering posture.
8. Standing Quad stretch/Dancer-find your balance & strength at once, open the heart to new possibilities.
9. Side Angle Stretch with bind in Mexico-yoga in the go for stretching and releasing tightness in the body especially when traveling.
10. Pyramid with Hands in Reverse Namaste/prayer-one if the most powerful hamstrings stretching poses (while in Mexico while running and beach yoga).