When you are serious about running, a casual “stretch at some point” simply won’t cut it if you want to keep your body in tiptop shape. Yoga teaches us to bend rather than break. Try using these 7 yoga poses to keep your body supple, and pain free.
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Down Dog Foot Pedal
This variation of Adho Mukha Svanasana will gently open calves and hamstrings without causing them to tense up or tighten further.
Start on all fours. Tuck toes and lift hips high, reaching sitz bones toward the ceiling. Reach heels back toward the mat. Drop head so neck is long. Make sure wrist creases stay parallel to the front edge of the mat. Press into the knuckles of forefingers and thumbs to alleviate pressure from wrists. Pedal feet out one at a time, alternately bending knees in down dog. Breathe here for at least 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Forward Fold Variation
This variation of Uttanasana will release the lower back as well as give a gentle stretch to the hamstrings.
Stand in mountain pose. Take a deep inhale to reach arms up overhead, framing face. Use exhale to engage navel to spine and swan dive over legs with a flat back and soft knees. Grab hold of opposite elbows and hang, swaying side to side (if comfortable) to loosen lower back. Press all four corners of both feet into the ground and lift your sits bones toward the ceiling. Relax head and neck, and for this variation, soften knees. Breathe here for at 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Half Chair Half Ankle to Knee
This is a gentle, yet effective hip opening variation of Utkatasana will combat the tightness running can cause.
Stand with big toes together, outer edges of feet parallel. Bend knees, sink hips back as if sitting down in a chair, and reach arms high to frame face. Transfer weight into right leg, then hug left knee into chest. Cross left ankle over right knee. Flex left foot to protect knee. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Balance : equal parts strength and flexibility. Steady, yet soft. Open, yet boundaried. I saw my friend @kiley.holliday do this stretch a couple of weeks back, and it looked like it felt soooo good, so I wanted to try. I love shapes that allow you to practice balancing strength with softness, because they are the perfect practice for life. Wishing you a fabulous Friday: going into the weekend finding your balance 💖😘
Virabhadrasana III is a great pose to stabilize the joints of the lower body as well as a great pose to work the core – all things runners need.
Begin in a standing forward fold. Walk hands underneath the shoulders and place them on the floor or on blocks. Keeping your knees soft, shift weight into the left foot and lift right leg behind you. Reach through right heel and internally rotate your right thigh down so toes point toward the ground. When you feel steady, lift your arms one at a time and take your palms together in a prayer at your chest. Pull your belly button toward your spine, engaging your core. Breathe here for 5 to 10 breaths, then repeat on the other side.
Low Lunge Twist with Quad Opener
Open your hips, quads, spine, and even your shoulders with this Anjeneyasana variation.
From high lunge, frame front (right) foot with hands for a low lunge. Tap back knee to the ground and reach left heel toward butt. Reach right hand back to grab left foot. Alternate between bringing heel closer for a deep quad stretch, and pressing foot away for more of a twist and shoulder opener. Breathe here for 5 to 10 deep breaths.
Ardha Hanumanasana translates to Half Hanuman Pose, which is a half split. In most modern day yoga classes, it is referred to as “runner’s lunge” since it targets both the hamstrings and calves, among other tight spots, in the best way possible for runners.
Begin in a low lunge with right foot forward, then release left knee down to the ground. Walk hands back as you reach hips back toward left heel and lengthen right leg, flexing right foot. Relax and fold forward over right thigh. If you need to place blocks under your hands, use them. Breathe here for at least five deep breaths. Repeat on the other side. (To find the tightest spot on your hamstring, turn the flexed toes of your lengthened leg left to right, and breathe there.)
Supported Fish on Block
This supported variation of Matsyasana will combat all of the hunching forward that running causes over time. It opens your chest and shoulders, and has an option to open hips as well.
While sitting on the ground with legs in front of you, place a yoga block on the medium-height behind you beneath where shoulder blades will lie. Bend knees and place feet on the ground, hip-width apart. Using arms, slowly lower upper back to gently rest on the block, adjusting placement until you are comfortable. Ideally, the block is where your bra line would be. Next, clasp hands behind head and allow elbows and head to release toward the ground. Keep knees bent, or for extra hip opening, keep feet together and allow knees to drop apart towards ground (pictured). Stay here for at least 10 deep breaths.
5-Minute Express Core Routine with Heidi Kristoffer
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