Are you feeling sore, tight, or even achy after a run? Then you should probably review your cross-training program and consider including yoga in your workout routine.
Among other benefits, Yoga can reduce the risk of injury, improve your strength and flexibility and help you to recover from long runs and races faster.
If you’re willing to give it a try, here are five poses you should practice on the mat to boost your performance as a runner:
Benefits: Helps prevent shin splints, knee and foot problems, and IT-band syndrome. This pose stretches the hamstrings and calves, and creates length in the spine, in addition to opening the arms and upper back.
Instructions: Start on hands and knees. Bring the hands shoulder width apart and feet hip width apart. Press your hands and feet down into the floor. Lift your hip bones straight toward the ceiling and push your heels into the ground for the best overall stretch. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
Benefits: Strengthens your core and arms, while opening the hip flexors and stretching the whole front of the body.
Instructions: From Downward-Facing Dog pose, move into low plank position, by bending your elbows and placing your hands on mat in line with your lower ribs, wrists aligned under your elbows. Roll over your toes, pull your chest up toward ceiling and lift fronts of your thighs and hips away from floor.
Benefits: This pose helps to release the tension in your hips and glutes. In addition, it stretches the hamstrings and inner thighs and allows you to open and expand laterally.
Instructions: Step your feet wide apart. Turn your right leg, including your thigh, knee and foot, out by 90 degrees. Raise your arms to shoulder level with your palms facing down towards the floor and, on an exhale, stretch your upper body to the right. Place your right hand on your shin, ankle, or a stable support and raise your left arm towards the ceiling, with your palm facing forward. Take five breaths. Inhale and allow your body to come to standing. Repeat the pose on the other side.
Benefits: This pose opens the lower back, hips and inner thighs and also helps to release tight adductors.
Instructions: Sitting, bend your knees and draw your heels in toward your pelvis. Press the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop open to both sides. Don’t force your knees down to the ground, but let them drop naturally so you feel a gentle stretch. Lie down on your back and hold this pose for 1-10 minutes.
Benefits: Stretches the thighs, groins, back, and psoas. This pose also improves the flexibility in your hips, which will lead to better running form.
Instructions: Stretch your right leg out behind you, and bend your left knee so that your left foot is near your right pelvic bone with your toes pointed. Gently drape your body over the right leg. Repeat on the opposite side.
Is Yoga one of your favorite cross-training exercises? Which poses work best for you?