Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yoga Poses for Runners

If you search for yoga poses for runners online, you'll see countless sequences. I would argue that pretty much any yoga pose is beneficial for runners. But each runner yogi has his or her favorite poses to work out the kinks.

My favorite poses to do before or after runs are:

  • Downward-facing Dog with a twist.  Afterward, I also bring my right foot behind my left ankle and then shift to the left to get a side stretch. Repeat on the other side.
  • Pyramid pose. This pose gives just the stretch I need after running. You can clasp your hands behind your back, let your hands come down to the floor, or even bring your arms out like wings.
  • Low Lunge (Anjaneyasa B) to half split. First I hold a low lunge for a few breaths, and I might raise my arms up or clasp them behind my neck. Then I bring my hands down next to my feet and shift my hips back to straighten my front leg. I am gentle at first and may not fully straighten my leg. I flow back and forth from lunge to half split. 
  • Lizard pose. Sometimes I lower my back leg all the way down; other times I stay on my forearms and keep my back leg off the ground.
  • Pigeon pose. Nothing feels better after a day of sitting at a computer desk than this hip opener. I like to fold forward first for a couple of minutes before attempting to grab my back foot for the full variation.
  • Wide-legged fold with folds and twists. Folds are great for stretching out the calves, hips and hamstrings and calming the nerves. I love to incorporate twists into the pose as well.
  • Malasana. This hip and groin opener, while intense, also feels great after a day of work. It also helps work on steadying the mind and the breath because I have to really focus on my inhales and exhales.