Posted Nina Yu on 9/26/2018 |Wellness Tips
National Women's Health and Fitness Day provided a wonderful opportunity to jump-start a yoga practice and add yoga to any running routine! Targeted yoga poses can stretch and strengthen the muscles used during a run, as well as those muscles that aren’t activated much when running. Yoga can also increase flexibility and improve range of motion. Try incorporating yoga before or after a run to warm your body up -- or to cool it down!
Below are a few great yoga poses to incorporate into your physical activity routine. As you practice each pose, try inhaling and exhaling deeply through your nose for four counts (inhales and exhales). Training your body to breathe in this way will help you to stay present and focused.
Here are some poses to help you grow stronger:
Downward Facing Dog
Downward facing dog engages the entire body. It stretches and lengthens the backside of your legs and your spine. It opens your shoulders and engages the arms. Press your hands firmly into the ground, lift your sit bones up to the sky and melt your heels down towards the ground. You will be in an inverted V shape.
Since running primarily targets the leg muscles, use high plank to strengthen your core and upper body. Press your hands firmly into the ground and align your wrists and shoulders over your elbows. Come on to the balls of your feet and pull your abdominal muscles up and inward, toward your spine. Your body should be in one straight line from your head to your heels.
Supta Baddha Konasana
Supta Baddha Konasana stretches the inner thighs while releasing the lower back and hips. Lie down and bring the soles of your feet together while splaying your knees out towards the sides. Running encourages closed hips, so it is important to stretch out your hips to release tightness and tension.
Fish is a heart opening pose. Runners tend to have a slight forward lean which can lead to hunching of the back. Heart openers are great for expanding the chest, upper back and releasing the neck to offset the effects of hunching forward. Sit with your feet extended in front of you. Place your hands behind your bottom, palm down, and lift your chest up to the sky and arch your back.
Since running is a forward motion, try triangle to strengthen and stretch your lateral body and create an opening in the chest and back. Spread your legs wide on your mat and face your right toes towards 12 o’clock and your left toes toward 9 o’clock. Grip your right shin with your right hand and extend your left arm high into the sky. Tuck your bottom hip under your top hip. Your body should be in one straight line like you are sandwiched in between two panes of glass.
Do you have any yoga poses you enjoy? Share them with us in the comments!
Happy and healthy running!