Five Reasons Runners Should Try Yoga—and Vice Versa

Yoga instructor and avid runner Rebecca Pacheco tells us what athletes can gain from trying both workouts.

A still from the DVD. Photo by David E. Graf/Rodale

A still from the DVD. Photo by David E. Graf/Rodale

For Rebecca Pacheco—a Boston yoga instructor and author known as Om Gal—yoga and running are the perfect fitness marriage.

“No one is meant to spend their life in a yoga studio on a six-by-two yoga mat. I love yoga as much as anyone, but running offers different benefits,” Pacheco says. “The two activities are not mutually exclusive.”

To encourage other runners to hit the mat, Pacheco teamed up with Runner’s World to make Yoga For Runnersa yoga DVD specifically tailored to runners. The DVD, available online now for $49.99, includes four workouts of varying intensity. “This DVD combines two of my life’s greatest passions: yoga and running, both of which I’ve done religiously for the past 20 years,” Pacheco says. “I’ve designed these yoga workouts to make runners better, pure and simple.”

Here, Pacheco explains why other runners should take up yoga—and vice versa—and how they can do it:

1. Cross training is good for your body.

While the two workouts each offer great benefits, Pacheco says both exercises are enhanced by the other. “Yoga can be [a runner’s] secret weapon, offering increased strength, flexibility, and focus,” she says. “If you’re a yogi who runs, you get the best of both worlds: high intensity training and reduced stress, strength and flexibility, cardio and sculpted muscles, physical fitness, and mental clarity.”

2. Mixing it up keeps you motivated.

“Your mind has to rewire a bit,” Pacheco says of cross training. “Changing your routine can obliterate a workout rut, improve overall fitness, and even lift an emotional funk.”

3. Yoga can help the body recover from strenuous workouts.

Pacheco says practicing yoga can ease soreness, decrease aches and pains, and build a stronger core. As such, the Yoga For Runners DVD specifically focuses on muscles overused by runners, like glutes and hips.

4. Finding a community makes the transition easier.

Pacheco recommends that yogis looking to adopt running seek out “a good coach, the right pair of sneakers, and a friendly running club.” The same holds true for runners when picking the right studio and equipment.

5. Remember that both running and yoga take time.

Pacheco urges runners to remember that neither running nor yoga skills come overnight. “There’s no rush to get it all right away, which might result in doing too much too soon and getting injured,” she says. “The yoga journey is a marathon, not a sprint.”