Yoga focuses your attention on your own body’s movements rather than on an external outcome. Runners can use yoga practice to balance strength, increase range of motion, and train the body and mind. Asanas, or yoga poses, move your body through gravitational dimensions while teaching you how to coordinate your breath with each movement, no matter how subtlek. The eventual result is that your body, mind, and breath are integrated in all actions. Through consistent and systematic asana conditioning, you can engage, strengthen, and place demands on all of your intrinsic muscle groups, which support and stabilize the skeletal system. This can offset the effects of the runner’s one-dimensional workouts.
In addition to physically counteracting the strains of running, yoga teaches the cultivation of body wisdom and confidence. As you develop a greater understanding of the body and how it works, you become able to listen and respond to messages the body sends you.
This is especially important in running, where the body produces a lot of endorphins. These “feel good” chemicals also double as nature’s painkillers, which can mask pain and the onset of injury or illness. Without developed body intuition, it’s easier to ignore the body’s signals. Awareness translates to daily workouts, too. You learn through the practice of yoga that each day is distinct, much like each run. Your energy levels fluctuate daily, even hourly, thus it’s important to have a sense of your reserves. The calmness you glean from yoga practice allows you to manage and economize your energy. You can learn to intuit where you are on a given day and what resources you have to give. Therefore, you don’t power drive through every workout mindlessly but rather respect your body’s limitations.
5 poses and explanation
If you’re not stretching immediately following a workout, I recommend a 10-minute cardio warm-up or 2 Sun Asanas before starting this routine. Warm muscles are easier to stretch. These poses are modified for people with tight hips and hamstrings, which is common among runners. A breath is one full inhalation and one full exhalation through the nose. Hold each pose for 8 breaths, or longer if you’d like.
What are the Best Yoga Poses for Runners?
1.) Adho mukha Svanasana – Lengthens and opens the hips. quads, calves and hamstrings. Also opens the arms and upper back.
2.) Forward Fold – Stretches your hamstrings and calves also strength your quadriceps.
3.) Baddha Konasana – Opens the lower back, hips, groins and inner thighs.
4.) Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Opens the shoulders and strengthens the core. Also stretches the psoas major.
8.) Urdhva Mukha Svanasana -Strengthens core and upper body to help create balance in muscles.
Pictures by Charlie W Burns