by Elizabeth Manne
The human body is an amazing vehicle, and we get to choose how we use it.
The answers to these questions are all based on the choices we make. As with all things, finding balance in the way we use our bodies is advisable. When I set out to explore the ways that the athletic energy we use when we run compares to the energy we use when we do yoga, I was surprised to learn that research shows many similarities between the two, physically as well as mentally and spiritually.
Both yoga and running help to build strong bones, strengthen muscles, improve cardiovascular fitness, improve self-esteem, fight depression, sharpen focus, improve mental stamina and boost the immune system. Yoga is union of body, mind and spirit. Running, swimming, bicycling, hiking and dancing also bring this kind of union.
There is a different kind of exertion used in yoga as opposed to running. Maybe one takes more mental effort to get you to commit to doing it. Maybe one of these activities causes you to sweat more. Once you make a commitment to exerting either kind of energy, however, the benefits will show up in your life. Each is useful in its own time and in moderation, each can bring joy and lasting good health.
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Elizabeth Manne, vice president of Retreat Center of Maryland, is a devoted runner. A Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, RYT500, she has been teaching yoga for four of the 10 years she has been studying yoga.