8 Efficient Yoga Poses
If you are a regular runner, you are probably familiar with aches and pains in the back, legs, knees, ankles and hips that can sometimes creep up on you during or after a run. They can even occur as a result of consistent running sessions throughout a longer period of time.
Although running and yoga are not always thought of as being fitness partners under the same umbrella, they actually compliment each other really well. Yoga has various benefits, like increased flexibility, improved bone density, muscle strength, circulation and breathing and plenty more. Runners can benefit grately from these advantages, so you may never want to lose sight of this age old regenerative practice again.
The following 8 yoga poses for runners can help you to improve every single one of your runs and as well improve your recovery session afterwards.
(1) Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Ask anyone, yogi or not, to name a yoga pose and most likely they will mention Downward Dog. Why? Because it’s an excellent pose to check-in with your body. Within this pose you open up and stretch your arms, back and legs. You can get a general feeling for the areas which are tighter than others while in Downward Dog while experiencing sensations in the areas you should focus more on. While doing this pose, and driving your heels toward the earth, you can open up the calves and hamstrings, stretch the feet and the achilles – all excellent for runners. In addition to being extremely regenerative, this pose improves circulation throughout the body as the head is below the heart.
(2) Triangle Pose (Trikonasana)
Triangle will stretch the hips, groins, hamstrings, the muscles surrounding the knee, calves, ankle joints, shoulders, chest, and spine. It also strengthens the abdominal muscles, obliques, back, legs, knees, and ankles. This pose includes a light spine strengthening twist. This pose is great for runners because it helps to open the groins and hamstrings and improves balance by strengthening and stretching the ankles.
(3) Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
This pose is a great opener for the calves, hips and hamstrings and helps to strengthen the quadriceps and knees. It’s important for everyone to have loose and flexible hamstrings. Tight hamstrings are likely the culprit of back pain and tension which can then transfer to problems with the knees and hips.
(4) Tree (Vrksasana)
If you want to do this pose you need to think strong and balanced. This pose is great for strengthening the calves, ankles, thighs, and the spine, while simultaneously stretching the shoulders, groin, chest, and inner thighs, and opening the hips. Another benefit of the tree pose is that it can also reduce flat feet and relieve sciatic pain.
(5) Reclining Pigeon(Sucirandhrasana)
Reclining pigeon is a gentler modification of pigeon pose, and perfect for tight hips. This pose is also excellent for stretching the connective tissue that runs along your outer thigh from your hip to your shin, the so called IT band. This yoga pose is also known for being preventative for knee problems because a tight IT Band could eventually lead to issues with the knee. If you want to you can do this pose at the end of any run.
(6) Cobbler or Butterfly (Baddha Konasana)
Being a great stretch for runners, the cobbler’s pose opens the inner thighs, knees and groin, and even boosts mobility in the hips while releasing tension and strengthening the muscles of your back.
(7) Child’s pose (Balasana)
This pose is meant to be a comforting, gentle stretch and resting pose. With the child’s pose you stretch your hips, knees, thighs, low back, and ankles. It also releases back and neck strain and helps blood flow to the brain and spine. For athletes, and especially for runners, the child’s pose aids in keeping the ankles flexible and supple, while stretching the tops of the shins and the feet, which may help in avoiding shin splints. If you already have had the chance to take a yoga class, your instructor most likely reminded you to come to this pose at any time throughout the practice if you need a break.
(8) Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Well-known as an excellent hip opener, the low lunge stretches the groin and thighs. Many runners suffer from tight hips, which can lead to under active gluteal muscles, resulting in potential knee and/or low back problems. For this pose you need to focus. It can be performed with the front toe up against a wall in order to promote balance and stabilization. It’s also okay to use the wall to walk your hands up until you feel stable enough to extend them above your head.