Running and yoga are a great compliment to each other. Running keeps my heart rate up, burns a ton of calories and is a great cardio workout. Yoga compliments running very well in that as we run we shorten our muscles. Yoga helps lengthen the muscles, keeps us loose and limber, but most importantly keeps our head clear, our heart open, and works our muscles like a good cross training session. Cross training is essential to running and keeping a runner strong and yoga is a great cross training activity!
Here are a few great yoga poses for runners:
First, start by lying on your mat, closing the eyes and getting yourself ready for practice. One good way to start is in Hero’s Pose. Here I am all the way on the ground, but you can do this sitting up, partially down, with blocks and bolsters, being mindful of your knees! Click here to see how props can help the pose.
After you have been in Hero’s Pose for a few breaths, slowly rise up and bring the soles of the feet together in Bound Angle Pose. Don’t place your hands on your thighs, let gravity do the work of pulling your knees down. Fold over you legs and stretch your hips, inner thighs and lower back. You can round down to also stretch the spine or fold with flat back. Hold for a few breaths.
Next, roll onto your knees. Line one foot up with the opposite knee. Make sure your knee is in the midline of the body, lay your chest on the leg and lean forward slightly. You will feel a nice stretch through the heel, Achilles, and calf. This is a great stretch if you are on your feet all day as well. Do both sides.
Next, tuck your toes, lift your hips and come into Downward Facing Dog. Feet should be hip distance apart, hands shoulder distance apart, drop chest to thighs and lengthen your spine while tilting your sits bones up. Pedal your feet out, rise up on toes, etc. Warm up and wake up your dog while enjoying a great hamstring stretch.
Step one foot forward and drop the back knee down. Slowly bend the back leg towards your glute. Reach same arm as bent leg back and grab outside of the foot and slowly pull towards your glute as you lunge forward in the front leg. Feeling a nice deep stretch in your quad. Switch legs.
Step your feet forward towards the front of the mat and fold over in Utanasana. Hang heavy for a few breaths. Chin is tucked, weight in the fronts of your feet. After a few breaths, sweep hands to small of your back, interlaced your fingers and lift your arms while folding and pedaling out your legs. Feeling a nice deep stretch in your legs, lower back, upper back and shoulders. Release hands and rise up.
Slowly release into chair pose, taking the weight into one foot, while the other leg crosses over the opposite knee. Sink back like you are sitting in a chair. Feeling a deep glute and hip stretch. Hold for several breaths before switching.
Finally, lie on you back. Feet flat on the mat. Cross one ankle over the opposite knee. Lift knee into the chest, while threading your hands around the lifted leg. As you exhale, draw the knee into the chest. Feeling a great stretch through the lower back, glute, and upper hamstring.
Finally, lie back on your mat, close your eyes and come into your savasana for a few minutes.
Do after your runs or add in some sun salutations for a quick but fulfilling yoga practice!
How is your week going?