Dear Yoga Student,
Question from Thomas (in Maine):
“I’m a runner and I find yoga really helps me recover
quickly and prevent flare ups in my knees… but I’m
not sure if I should do yoga before or after running.
Does it matter?”
To do short hold and dynamic stretches before any
form of exercise (tennis, weight lifting, jogging) is a
great idea. These types of stretches are not about
gaining flexibility, they’re all about warming up and
preparing your body for more intensity.
For example, a runner who pulls his heel to his bum
for 15 seconds on both sides to stretch his quads is
never going to gain MORE flexibility doing this…
… but it’s still very beneficial and ACTUALLY the better
way to stretch before a workout (as opposed to doing
deep, passive stretches).
There’s a muscular component to it, but mostly it’s
a disconnect for your nervous system. In order to
do a very deep stretch (a la Gravity Poses) you have
to consciously train your nervous system to relax
the tension in your muscles.
The deeper you go, the more your nervous system
is learning to let go and soften.
But if you’re doing sprints, dead lifts, or even
hitting golf balls, you need your nervous system
to be a twitch away from full engagement.
That’s the long answer, but here’s the short takeaway:
*Brief, dynamic stretches are best before a physical
workout to prevent injury and “warm up”
*Long-hold, passive stretches for flexibility gains
are best done AFTER your other workouts OR at the
end of the day
This way, your nervous system isn’t getting mixed
messages… when it needs to, your body will be strong.
And when it’s time, your body will soften and open.
p.s. Do you have some favorite pre-workout dynamic
stretches? Wanna share? Post them down below…