If you are a runner like me, you know that certain areas of your body are more prone to tightness after a run. Luckily, running and yoga complement each other very well! There is nothing more satisfying than releasing the tightened muscles after a good run with some delicious yoga poses. When we take care of our flexibility, we improve our mobility and avoid injuries.
Six yoga poses to keep you flexible and strong on the track.
Downward Facing dog
Downward-Facing Dog can be done immediately after running or as part of your yoga routine. This stretch will make your calves and hamstrings feel amazing after a long run. This pose also lengthens your spine and stretches your shoulders. It is a great all-around posture for opening up the body.
Tip: Feel Free to Move in Your Downward Dog. Stretch your leg one at a time. Move your body from side to side. Find out where you need some release.
The Shoelace Pose targets the gluteal and outer hip muscles, which can be quite tight in runners. The shoelace pose is a common Yin posture that works to lengthen and release the fascia.
Try to spend 3-5 minutes on either side. You may feel the stretch in your lower back, your glutes, and your outer thighs, depending on how your body is built. Leaning forward to the extent that your body will allow you to help create a deeper opening.
Tip: Sit on a cushion or block to elevate your hips if you feel any tension in your knees.
Half Pigeon Pose
To balance out the limited range of motion in the running, you can release tension by doing hip openings.
Half Pigeon targets two legs at once; the front folded leg is rotating externally, while the back straight leg is stretching both the hip flexors and psoas. These two openings can be extremely helpful for runners because they create space, stabilize the hips, and release tension.
Tip: Keep your upper body upright with your hands. This is also a mild back bend. Or, you can do the Sleeping Swan (pictured above) by lowering your body to the ground.
Lizard Pose will help you stretch your hamstrings and hip flexors. This is a more active version of Half Pigeon and can be performed on uneven or outdoor surfaces.
Tip: Place your hands on the floor or, if you have access to it, lower yourself onto your forearms. This will allow for a deeper stretch.
When we run, the quadriceps muscle group, located on the front of our thighs, works very hard. It is one of our largest and strongest muscles. In running, it is the main muscle that propels us forward.
Regular stretching and maintenance are important to prevent injuries. The Saddle Pose stretches out the front leg from the hip flexors to the front ankles.
Tip: Be aware that this pose can be intense. Listen to your body. You can do one leg at atime or elevate yourself with a bolster or block.
Folding Forward works not only your hamstrings but also your lower back and shoulders. Allow gravity to help you. With each breath, let yourself release a little more towards the ground.
Tip: To open the hamstrings more, fold your legs down and cross them.
Running and yoga provide a balance between strength and flexibility. In order to maintain a healthy and injury-free yoga or running practice, we must take care of our bodies in many ways. We should focus not only on the strength of muscles but also on the flexibility of the joints and the recovery of the practice.