Yoga has many health benefits, including building muscle strength, regulating your adrenal glands and improving your posture amongst other things. For the fitness fanatics of our modern day society, yoga can help us sustain great breath control and help runners and cyclists improve their flexibility whilst also helping injuries heal faster.
Tight hamstrings are a very common problem for those that run often and this is also a common side affect for those of us who have hyper-mobile joints including myself. Regular yoga can help loosen the tightness in the hamstrings and also help us prevent injuries happening from tightness in the leg muscles and joints and nerves around the hamstrings. Yin and restorative yoga can be particularly beneficial where props can be incorporated to deepen stretches and intensify asana poses such as Supta Padungusthasana (Reclining big toe pose). This is also one of the best poses for loosening the tightness that running creates in the legs.
Yoga can help runners manage their breathing better through learning various Pranayama techniques. Yoga practice helps oxygenate the body and create energy. Deep inhales and exhales that are taught in yoga can increase lung capacity which can increase endurance and in turn enhance performance. This is particularly beneficial for long distance runners, especially those that run marathons.
Overall the mental clarity that yoga helps to create along with the postural alignment tips that are taught during a yoga class can be highly helpful and counteract the excessive damage to the knees and hamstrings that can be a side affect of running. So go on, give it a try! You may just pick up a habit of a lifetime and those hamstrings will thank you for it!