If you love to pound the pavement, there is a good chance that your body could use some extra yoga lovin’. It used to be that those who were running enthusiasts rarely—if ever—found their way to a yoga mat, because yoga used to be viewed as being not very athletic.
Nowadays, those who love higher intensity workouts like running are starting to flock to the studio because of the amazing restorative and balancing elements of yoga. Yoga is especially good for runners, because running can cause you to develop tight muscles that need some deep opening.
I suggest adding the following five yoga poses to your regular stretching or yoga routine to help counteract the specific tight spots that running can create, and to help you develop deeper core strength to keep you safe while you run.
1. Low Lunge or Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Low Lunge is a runner’s godsend. In this stretch, you will be opening the whole front of the leg (the quadriceps) as well as your front hip muscles, into your lower pelvis and abdomen. All of these muscles tend to become overly tight after hours of running.
Hold this stretch while warm for at least 20 to 30 seconds per side.
2. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana Variation)
Pigeon Pose is going to work to open the whole outer portion of your hips, as well as your gluteus and lower back muscles. Again, these are three areas that can be really tight on runners, and this over-tightness can lead to injury if not looked after.
This pose can be quite intense even for the most mobile, so approach it with lots of care and compassion.
I love to recommend Plank Pose to my runner friends because good core strength is a must to prevent injury. Having good core strength and awareness is also going to help ensure you have proper form when you are running, and are not getting lazy in your upper body.
Practice your Planks (mindfully!) for 30 to 60 seconds a day.
4. Boat Pose (Navasana)
This second core posture is really great for the lower abdominals, as well as for the muscles that work to support your spine. Again, achieving great abdominal strength and awareness is going to help you run injury-free for a lot longer than if you have lazy core muscles.
Allow boat pose to help you keep your spine protected and in alignment for at least 5 rounds of 5 breaths a day.
5. Cow Face Pose (Gomukhasana)
Another amazing pose for the outer hips and buns, as well as for the upper body. Many people do get into the habit of hunching their shoulders, or really tightening their upper bodies while they are running, and this will help counter that.
I recommend that you sit in this pose for at least 20 to 30 seconds a side each day, or at least each day that you run.
What do you think runners? Are you willing to give any of these poses a go? When you do, please share your experiences with other yogi runners here on DOYOUYOGA!