Running is amazing cardiovascular work and is also great for calorie burning and stress release – the only downside is, it can make you very tight! After running or training intensively, you may well end up less flexible than when you started. Here are 5 yoga poses that will stretch your tight muscles and will feel so good, you will want to do them again and again!
Tips: Try to stay in each pose for 10 – 15 long slow breaths (or 1 minute) and feel free to use a strap if you can’t reach your feet with your hands!
1.Butterfly Pose – Inner thigh stretch
Bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees drop outwards towards the floor. Gently press your elbows into your inner thighs.
2.Twisted Heron Pose – IT band and glute stretch (outside of leg and bum)
Sit with both legs stretched out in front of you. Bend one knee and hold the outside of that foot (or loop the strap round the ball of the foot) with opposite hand. Straighten your leg and pull your foot diagonally across your body. Twist your body the opposite direction for extra yumminess! You can use the other hand behind you for support and try to keep the chest as lifted as possible.
3.Half Hero Forward Bend – hamstring stretch (the Sanskrit for this posture is “Triang Muka Eka Pada Paschimottanasana”! Quite the mouthful!)
This pose is not recommended if you have any knee or ankle problems!
With both legs stretched out in front of you, lean to one side and tuck the opposite foot back towards you bum cheek, make sure the top of your foot is on the floor. Try to balance your weight evenly between your bum cheeks. Inhale, lift the torso as much as possible and then as you exhale lean forward and reach for the foot or use your strap. Try to keep your shoulders down from your ears and flex your toes (pull them towards your face) to give the calf a stretch whilst you are there! If taking the foot back brings any pain in the knee or ankle, just keep both legs stretched out and reach for the toes.
4.Half Hero Pose – quad and hip flexor (front of thigh)
This pose is not recommended if you have any knee or lower back issues!
Keeping your legs in the same shape they were for the stretch above, slowly start to lean back. Tuck the pelvis under and imagine you are trying to put your lower back on the ground (this will take any strain off the lower back). If you want to feel more, imagine you are pressing your hips upwards towards the sky and then you have the option of leaning back on to your elbows or even lying on your back. Try NOT to arch your lower back! Breathe deeply and move SLOWLY.
5. Pigeon Pose – hip and glute (bum)
Start on your hands and knees (all fours), take your left knee outside your left wrist and using your right hand, pull your left foot up towards the top of the mat. Then slide your right foot down your mat, keeping your hips square to the floor. You can stay upright on your hands or relax down onto your elbows. Enjoy the post- run sweat, increased oxygen and blood flow all round your beautiful body 🙂
Running and Yoga can be a wonderful combination! Enjoy the movement, enjoy the stillness – there is just as much happening in both. You may not see it, but you will feel it. The focus and awareness of the breath that we focus on in Yoga may also bring more ease to your running. It always comes down to making your body as efficient as possible. Have fun and mix it up!
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