Yoga for Other Movement Varieties

Danyal Eisenbrandt, 128 YinD

Hi y’all! Danyal here, and I thought I’d take on an interdisciplinary route and discuss how yoga can really benefit different workout methods and regiments. Thereafter, I’ll share some of my favorite yogis that anyone can check out through any of their media outlets. I’ll begin with noting that the body and all its tissues and appendages are very much interconnected: yoga practices and other forms of movement attend to this understanding to promote greater awareness of all those connections.  I’d also like to add, as a disclaimer, I certainly do not proclaim any mastery or bottomless wisdom on these topics: what I speak to will be primarily coming from experience, personal research, and what I’ve been taught through trainings with personal trainers and coaches. It’s simply my desire that this benefits some of you positively. Certainly use your better judgement prior to adapting any of this personally.        

In the spirit of developing a greater awareness for such things, I would like to share how yoga can be beneficial in many capacities of movement. I foremost identify as a runner, but over time I’ve also extended my efforts as a yogi, a swimmer, a cyclist, and a calisthenics enthusiast,  and in particular what I really grew to love about yoga is how it benefits my running by opening my practice to different types of movement. Yoga has given me the desire to mix up modes of working out and add more diversity to my schedule. I do this by incorporating yoga into my running, then blending in Calisthenics/HIIT workouts, and then weight training, as well.

Right out of the gate: Yoga for Running

Yoga is all kinds of great for running.  Before, after, in-between a run, yoga just makes sense. I’ve found yoga to be unparalleled in regards to aiding, strengthening, and recovering for/from running. It’s widely known that runners constantly deal with areas of the body tightening: places like the hamstrings or the glutes come to mind. A simple insertion of yoga – whether using it to warm-up or a little post run yoga – is an easy remedy to those tight hips.

If I’m warming up with yoga, I like to do a couple Vinyasa standing sequences or a quick Ashtanga primary series. These are great for the practice of intention, breath, and gaze that come with these kinds of practices.  These styles repetitively hold and weave through several poses to build up heat in the core. The repetition builds a mind and body connection that helps apply the practice of breathing and focus in a way that’s beneficial to running.

After a run, a little post-run yin/hatha yoga always leaves me feeling relaxed and opened up; perfect for starting the day after an early morning run.

Lastly, a fun way of thinking of running is as perpetually “falling” forward and catching yourself over and over again. Spend that extra time struggling to balance in a warrior 3; it might just help you catch yourself a little better on your next run!   

Here’s a little warm-up sequence I sometimes use:

1. Standing Warrior 2. Chair pose 3. Up to tree pose 4. Forward extended hand-to-big-toe 5. Release your toe and hold for three breaths 6. Float back with leading leg to warrior 3  7. Warrior 2  8. Half splits 9. Plank  10. Chaturanga 11. Upward Dog 12. Downward Dog 13. Hop/or step up to Standing warrior.   

Try doing this two or three time each side and see how you like it!

Next: Calisthenics & HIIT Styles

Calisthenics/HIIT exercises have many things in common and generally involve using your body for resistance to improve your muscular and aerobic condition (however, weights can certainly be introduced and applied to these kinds of movements – i.e. push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats). Both of these methods have proven to be great for my Peace Corps service, since, aside from my rings and resistance bands, my body is all that I have to work with. Like many of my friends and family, I initially got into these styles of movement with the 60 day challenge programs – programs like Insanity or p90x – a few years ago, while I was at University. I took a break from them for a time, but I’ve developed a more personalized practice since beginning my service in Thailand.

Many of the repetitions and workout routines that I move through are building towards poses, postures and being more flowy and imaginative in my yoga practice. Things like pistol squats, handstands, and other static holds that are often influenced are sought after, I think, to find that sort of ‘floatyness’ in your practice. That greatly contributes to any yoga practice!

Lastly: Yoga for Weight Training

When it comes to weight training, I used to imagine a big hulking figure using up all the dumbbells while their weight lifting buddies take up all the bench stations. I’ve since unboxed that stereotype and recognized that I really short-changed myself with that construction. Strength training isn’t just great for taking in the groceries in one trip: it increases muscle endurance, which is crucial for a runner. Yoga provides great opportunity, as postures stretch the body and open it up to a greater capacity of movement, while also improving joint strength and flexibility. Additionally, yoga is a great way to recover from post-workout soreness that comes with heavy lifting or muscle strengthening, as it’s generally low-impact, increases blood flow, and can address soreness quickly. You can also utilize yoga flow movements with weights and build strength that way, too.  

Movement of one’s body is something that I consider often, whether its dance, martial arts, running, lifting, calisthenics, or yoga. I love movement and what greater reason than the fact that we have bodies to get out and move with them? I hope that readers/growth junkies have found some insight to reading this and begin to, or further continue to, build on your practice

Books that I’ve enjoyed:

  • Susan Morrison, Yoga B****:  One women’s quest to conquer skepticism, cynicism, and cigarettes on the path to enlightenment  

“Embrace each change as if it were a small death.”

  • Datrin Kenison and Rolf Gates,  Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga

Some Yogis to check out:

  • Yoga with Adrianne:

  • Yoga with Tim:

  • Kino yoga – Ashtanga:

  • Carly & Patrick  Beach

  • Cody online fitness videos. This comes with a membership, but there are some great features and you can start with a Free 7-day trial with the app videos, and get coaching from brilliant people, who in my opinion, are some of the strongest movement “specialist” out there and are tearing it up out there in their own way including: Deepika Mehta, Jessamyn Stanley, Dylan Werner, and Megan Currie. Totally worth checking out!

Puns ‘n Poses that I’m super into now:

  • Legs up on the wall
  • Lotus
  • Pidgeon
  • Cat/cows

**For any questions about this or workouts or anything please don’t hesitate to reach out to me! Happy practicing!**


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