Most avid runners do not have yoga at the top of their exercise list and notoriously, they find yoga a little hard for them as they generally tend to have tight muscles that make the deep stretches difficult and a little painful to do.
Exercisers who love to pound the pavement understand that a lean mass, endorphin rush, and increased cardiovascular endurance are great, but this also comes with a few downsides, such as sore muscles, decreased flexibility, and tight hips.
Now, the easiest way to combat these downsides is through yoga. Yoga is excellent for runners because it counteracts the tightening, pounding, and shortening of the muscles that they constantly experience. Read on to learn more about yoga for runners.
Downward Facing Dog
This is an excellent pose that can be done immediately after an intense run. It can also be incorporated into a yoga routine, and what it does is stretches your calves and hamstrings, which will make you feel heavenly after a long run.
Start by being on all fours, with your hips way above your knees and shoulders. Bring your hands forward before your shoulders, and spread your fingers with your middle finger pointing forwards.
You can stretch one leg at a time, and move your body from side to side so you can experiment where there needs to be a release on that day.
This helps to create compression in your hip joints and also targets your gluteal muscles and outer hips. These areas can be quite tight while running, and therefore it works very well at lengthening and slowly releasing your muscles.
Start from a seated position, and line your right knee up and in front of your navel as much as you possibly can. Try and bend your leg to the right so the foot relaxes at the side of your seat.
Next, try and stack your left knee on the top of your right one as much as you can and then relax your left foot on your side. If they are not properly stacked, then it’s okay.
In case you feel some tension, or some pain on your knees, simply sit on a block or a pillow so you can elevate your hips.
The Half Pigeon Pose
For runners, their legs are always moving in a limited motion, and in order to balance this, it is good to ensure that you release the tension with some deep hip openers.
How to Perform the Position
Start in a downward dog facing position, and then bring your right foot toward your right wrist and set your shin and knee on the mat. Straighten your left leg back and your legs should resemble the shape of number 7.
For most people aligning their shin parallel to the front edge on the mat is not always easy. Instead, they will work with their level of flexibility by placing their heels at a comfortable distance to the groin.
Then, align your right knee with your right hip. Flex your right foot. Next, walk your hands forward to lower your forehead on the mat. Square your hips tight towards the mat.
Release this pose, and then walk your hands back to strengthen them, and then step back to the downward dog facing pose and switch sides.
A Quick Tip for This Pose
If you want to keep your upper body upright and still support yourself with your hands, which is a moderate backbend, simply go for the sleeping swan version which means you lower your upper body to the floor.
As runners, you really must take care of your bodies, especially your muscles and hamstrings that are mostly at work while running. Yoga is a great way of relieving the pressure in your body as a result of running, and the above poses can work great for you.