We made it through another crazy week! Yesterday, we discusses how runners can benefit from a regular yoga practice. With all of those benefits, I know we are all dying to start adding yoga into our regular workout routine. Even if your not ready to dive head first into a full yoga class, you start by simply adding a few yoga poses to your regular stretching routine. Here are my favorite yoga poses for runners:
Bound Angle/Cobbler Stretch
This pose opens the groin and the hips, as well as stretches the inner thighs.
Tip: Avoid bouncing your legs (i.e. flapping your wings). For a deeper stretch, gently apply pressure to your legs with your elbows.
Cow Face Pose
This is by far one of my favorite poses, it stretches your chest, triceps, glutes, hips, and IT band. It is also a great stretch for your piriformis, a small muscle deep in your glute which often tightens up in runners.
Tip: Make sure you keep both hips firmly pressed into the mat throughout the stretch. To intensify the stretch in your hips, release your arms and lean forward over your legs.
Standing Forward Fold
This pose is perfect for stretching your hamstrings and your back. I could seriously stay in forward fold until my face turned bright red (from all of the blood running to it of course)!
Tip: Keep your knees slightly bent if your hamstrings are tight. If you straighten your legs, be careful not to lock your knees.
Pyramid stretches and strengthens the legs, especially the hamstrings.
Tip: If you can not reach the mat, you can place your hands on your shins (being careful not to lock out your knee) or on a block. To intensify the stretch, interlace the fingers behind your back and roll the shoulders back and down before leaning forward.
Figure Four Pose
This pose stretches the outside of your hips and your inner thighs.
Tip: To deepen the stretch, flex your feet and press your elbow against the bent knee to feel a deeper inner thigh stretch.
Seated Forward Fold/Staff Pose
Stretches the spine and the hamstrings.
Tip: If you can't reach your toes, you can bend your knees slightly or wrap a towel around your feet and use it to work your way forward.
Revolved Triangle Pose
I absolutely love revolved triangle pose. I try to incorporate it into the majority of my classes because so many students are tight through the hip area. Revolved triangle pose, stretches the hips, chest, abductor, piriformis and IT band. I feel like the more miles I log, the more time I need to spend in revolved triangle!
Tips: Focus on rotating through the rib cage and opening up the chest. You can also place your hand on a yoga block to help you rotate into the stretch.
Childs pose gently stretches the hips, thighs and ankles. It can also help alleviate back pain.
Tip: To release your shoulders and stretch your upper back, bring your hands back by your feet (see picture 2).
Give these poses a try and let me know what you think! Even if you think, "I'm not a yoga person," I think you might be surprised by how much a little yoga can benefit your running!!
Food for thought:
What is your favorite yoga pose?
What fun activities do you have planned for this weekend?
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