Yoga provides not only flexibility and alignment within our bodies, but also mindfulness. And mindfulness is something every runner needs. While it may be hard to justify driving to a yoga class amidst an already busy life, you can easily sneak in a 20-minute yoga sesh on your own time. Here are five poses we recommend to keep your body limber, open and injury free:
Why? It stretches key muscles that are often tight from running: calves and muscles in the feet. If you don't stretch these areas enough, you're likely to end up with shin splints, IT Band problems and potentially even the nagging Plantar Facsciitis to name a few.
OK, this may not be a yoga term. But nevertheless it's a good pose. If you sit with your legs straight out in front of you, toes curled back and you bend from your waist and reach out toward your toes, you're in a helpful position. This is another calf stretcher and also a good pose for getting deep into your hamstrings.
This is a pose where you lay on your back with one leg crossing over the other. Softly pull your legs toward you to feel a deep stretch in your glutes and hamstrings.
The most commonly known backbend is a bridge. You lay on your back with your feet shoulder width apart and on the ground a little away from your knees. Lift your butt and hips toward the ceiling keeping your core engaged. This opens your chest and shoulders, areas easily overlooked by a leg-focused runner.
Balancing poses like tree for example-when you stand on one leg with the other leg bent almost frog-like on the inside of your standing leg, arms reaching up to the ceiling-helps strengthen your balance (of course!) but also your stabilizer muscles.
[Side note: If you're a trail runner this is especially important because you spend a lot of time navigating tough terrain; You need your ankles to be sturdy!]
Do you already practice yoga? Comment and tell us what your practice is like and how it's helped you. Additionally, tell us about your favorite poses.