The more you run, the more you need yoga. Running stresses the body — your feet pound on the ground sending shock waves up your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, trapezius and deltoid muscles) affecting your joints, muscles and tendons with every mile. Whether you run once, twice or seven times a week, you should be doing something to combat all of that discomfort. Yoga is the perfect complement to running; it does everything from decrease stress to improving your mood, posture, flexibility, blood flow and balance and coordination — all in addition to helping you strengthen the muscles you need for running. The best part about it is that, if you’re a runner, you likely already have a lot of the gear you need to get started.
All the Gear
“A Jade Travel Mat or Manduka eKO Super Lite Travel mat are non-slip and can easily be folded up inside a gym bag,” D’Amato says. If you’re driving to the studio, the weight of the mat doesn’t matter a ton, but if you’re going to carry it, pay attention to how much it weighs. “Wicking capacities will help to keep sweat from pooling on the mat and becoming slippery, while also helping to keep the mat free from odors,” Arnold says. “Grip is of obvious importance: you don’t want your mat moving under you while you’re mid-workout.” Color-wise, it’s anything goes in most yoga classes.
While you don’t need to bring your own yoga blocks to a studio, it’s a good idea to have some on hand if you’re practicing at home. “They are really, truly helpful. I recommend the 4″ Hugger Mugger foam blocks. They are sturdy and feel good,” D’Amato says. You want blocks that will hold your weight if you need to lean on them while holding certain poses.
“Blocks come in a few different materials and sizes. Cork and wood blocks are eco-friendly and sturdy but are more expensive and usually heavier. Foam blocks, on the other hand, are generally lightweight and high-density, and easy to clean,” Arnold says. “The Reehut Yoga Block is non-toxic and non-slip, light but strong and moisture proof.”
Yoga Mat Carrier
For those with cars, you don’t really have to worry about lugging your mat around, but if you depend on public transportation, it can be annoying to have to hold your yoga mat. A carrier is an easy way to throw it over your shoulder. “Lululemon makes a men’s Loop It Up mat carrier that is pretty basic and looks nice,” D’Amato says. Some mats come with basic straps, which is the easiest way to carry your mat. If you really want to carry all of your own gear to class, the Yoga Hustle leather sling is a sleek way to keep a mat, towel, block and strap organized.
You likely already have a water bottle at home, and truly any style or shape will do — unless you’re heading to hot yoga where it’s a necessity to bring a water bottle over 24 ounces.
“As for clothing, there isn’t really one right answer. Wear whatever you’re comfortable in — be it a t-shirt and shorts or a form-fitting top and pants — just bear in mind that certain materials are better at wicking away sweat and keeping you cooler than others,” Arnold says. Depending on how much you want to spend, D’Amato recommends Gap Body, Prana or Lululemon. If you’re more comfortable in shorts or joggers, do that — as long as you can move around. You’ll need something that allows you a full range of motion — you should be able to pull your knees to your chest and do squats comfortably.
The same rules that apply to your pants and shorts apply to the top — “Something not too baggy, since you might find yourself upside down,” D’Amato says. Tanks work just as well, or long sleeves if you’re more comfortable in that. Look for something that is sweat-wicking and lightweight.