Indeed, yoga can be a great tool to deal with stress for most people. Additionally, it comes with several benefits for runners in reducing aches and pains as well as improving flexibility. This ensures that they can recover from marathons and short races within a short duration. However, it is common for runners to see anything of value in other workout programs other than running. But if you can incorporate a few simple poses as part of your pre-run ritual, you can avert some injuries and run with less effort.
If you would like to stay strong and balanced throughout your training sessions, here are some of the yoga poses you should give a try:
#1. Pigeon Pose
Pigeon Pose is a hip-opening pose that as a runner can use to stretch you back, hip and knees while improving your flexibility and avert joints from injuries. Ensure that you start every run and yoga with a pigeon pose.
- Lay down on your mat using your hands and knees.
- When on all the fours, twist your left calf such that your left foot is resting under your right groin.
- Lower your body down while straightening your right leg behind. You can either lie all the way down or sit up as you rest on your palms.
- Hold in this position and take a few deep breaths.
- Continue with the same process with your right leg and repeat for five times.
#2. Downward Dog
If you normally experience leg cramps, Downward Dog is a pose that stretches your muscles and improves their flexibility.
- Lie down on your fours ensuring your hips are directly below your hips while your hands are slightly in front of your shoulders.
- Engage your core and press your knees away from the floor while ensuring that your arms are straight and raising up your tail bone.
- Move your heels to the floor for a deeper stretch while ensuring that your core is in a straight position.
- You will realize that the muscles in your legs open up and improve in flexibility as you heels drop.
- First, you should focus to have a straight spine and take five deep breaths in this pose. Try a number of variations like bending your knee to look like a dog on the run.
#3. Psoas Stretch
There is a tight psoas muscle that runs along your inner abdomen. This usually causes back pain in majority of runners. The Psoas stretch is a Down Dog variation that eases tension at your hips and back.
- When to Down Dog position, bend over your right knee and lower it to the floor.
- Next, bend your left knee to 90 degrees and carefully put your hands on the left thigh.
- Lift your chest and head and breathe deeply as you rest the top of your right foot on the floor.
- Then push your hips a little bit more such that you feel your psoas open up.
- Repeat the same process on the other side.
#4. Tree Pose
Tree pose is ideal for runners in improving their stability and balance.
- On a standing position, focus on an object that is a little distance in front of you
- Lift your left leg above the right knee and extend your arms while stretching high above your head with your fingers spread out like branches.
- Lower your hands to your chest and take three deep breaths and repeat the same process using your right leg.
#5. Triangle pose
This stretches your sides as it strengthens your legs.
- Stand straight and then extend your right leg on one side a little more that your hip width.
- Extend your right arm to your right foot as you inhale and then gently exhale to grab the right big toe. You will feel a stretch on your left side as you raise your left hand freely in the air.
- Repeat the same process on the other side as you keep reversing directions.
#6. Low Side Lunge
This can be beneficial if you experience side cramps when running. It opens up the hips before and after running.
- Stand straight and put your feet aside with the toes facing forward.
- Put your both your hands over the right knee and bend your right knee as you exhale, ensuring that the left leg remains straight. Make five deep breaths while keeping your chest lifted and open.
- Repeat the same on the other side.
#7. Hero Pose
Hero poses increase energy and blood circulation throughout the feet and body.
- Simply sit on your ankles with legs folded under and hands on your knees.
- To support your weight, place your hands on the floor as you slightly open your feet out to the sides such that your lower pelvis touches the floor. Ensure that your legs are parallel on the sides, and your knees closely held together.
- Lift your spine by engaging your core and take five deep breaths.
- Hold the back of your neck with interlaced fingers and exhale your head forward to release your spine and back. Breathe in as you lift your head up.