Additionally, holding challenging poses builds tenacity that'll pay off on the road. Yoga poses give runners more than just foot strength, they can help build mental endurance.
How to start practicing yoga
Time it right - Your yoga practice should have a converse relationship with your training: When you're ramping up mileage and churning out hard workouts, stick with relaxing sessions. When your training eases up, you can increase the intensity and frequency of your yoga workouts, says Sage Rountree, yoga instructor, triathlon coach, and author of The Runner's Guide to Yoga. If you take on a rigorous practice in the midst of a monster training month, "you'll interfere with your body's recovery and risk hurting yourself," Rountree says.
Be humble - It can take years to master run better with yoga poses, so don't go to your first class (or your first 20) expecting to be the star pupil--no matter how many races you've run or how fast your PRs are. "Focus on yourself, not what the person on the mat next to you can do," Rountree says. And realize there's plenty to gain from a less-than-perfect practice.
Avoid injury - Runners' high pain thresholds coupled with their competitive natures can make them more prone to injury. Rountree sees this in her own classes. If you have a troublesome or tight spot you'd like to target, talk to your instructor about ways to modify poses so you can get a gentle--and safe--stretch.