Friday, August 16, 2013

How Running Changed My Yoga

It's no secret that yoga helps runners. Most runners know some basic asanas to help them warm up and cool down, and yoga is one of the best activities to complement running.


Since running though, I've also realized that my yoga practice has begun evolving. I don't really think of it as for better or for worse, because a yoga practice is just that. A practice. There are no "good" or "bad" practices, each practice is unique in its own right. But my yoga practice is so different now to what it was two years ago.

For starters, I'm no longer as flexible as I used to be. Running does that to you apparently. I used to see runners in my yoga class struggle with forward bends and have no empathy. Well, empathy I have now, and lots of it! However, being less flexible means that I'm no longer pushing myself in the asanas. I'm letting myself just be, I deepen into poses and I'm in each and every moment.

This shift to more self-awareness and mindfulness is a big step in my yoga practice. I have a lot of trouble with self-regulating, and with holding back. I use running to expend all that energy, and I use yoga to centre it all back.

I bring yoga into my running as well. Both are melding into each other in a way. When I run, I practice pranayama, and when I'm in the zone, I'm almost in a meditative-like state. I can't imagine one without the other, so I'm glad I have both.

Because running is such a high intensity activity, my yoga is all about gazing inwards. I focus on nurturing poses like child's pose, forward bends, supine twists... I hardly ever do backbends anymore and when I do, they are gentle.

What is most important is that I feel that I am now truly practising yoga and not just an aspect of it, which is what I've wanted all these years. Strangely enough, gone are my aspirations of becoming a yoga teacher. My practice has become something intimate and dear to me that it's so personal. Sharing it with others just doesn't feel right.

I look forward to reflecting on my practice again next year to see how it has further evolved. Chances are, it's not going to be the same, but I'm also ok with that.


  1. Hui. A beautiful post! And I know you speak the truth because the balance and centeredness you say you've found emerges in your writing. This piece reads like a lullaby. Loved it.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Anne. I do feel like my approach to yoga has changed for the better. :)

  2. What a beautiful post, Hui!!! I think you're at a "happier place" when it comes to your yoga now :) Such a beautiful and personal post to read! Catch up soon!!! xx

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Salihah. I'll have a look at your blog :)