A couple of weeks ago, we went through all the incredible ways that a yoga practice can make you an even better runner over here. Now we’ll go into a little more detail on what poses in particular are really helpful to add to your routine to support your running, keeping you safe, strong, and flexible.
1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Yep – that pose that pops up pretty regularly in almost every yoga class is there for a reason. Downward Dog is an AMAZING stretch for your hamstrings and calves, and creates beautiful length in the spine that can help with posture, making your leggies feel better and giving your running form more integrity. From your hands and knees, slowly lift up into an upside-down V shape, taking a bend in the knees and drawing your tailbone up towards the sky, shoulders away from ears. The focus here is on creating length in the spine, not on getting the heels to the mat. Take a few breaths here, then slowly come back down to the mat.
2. Baddha Konsasana (Bound Angle Pose)
Bada Konasana provides an amazing opening for your hips and groin, and a super stretch for your back and inner thighs. From a seated position, bring your feet together and knees out wide so you form a sort of diamond shape in front of you. Sit up tall, and maybe start to fold forward, keeping the spine long. Only fold as far as feels good here – ‘no pain, no gain’ is not the yoga way.
3. Toe Sit
This yin yoga move is simultaneously your worst enemy and your best friend. Come to your hands and knees and tuck your toes under. Come to sit upright on your heels and feel those footsies release. It hurts like a – insert swearword of choice – here, but if you do it for a little bit every day, it’s amazing how quickly it can start to actually feel good – yep, seriously! Make sure when you release, you do it slowly so your body knows it’s safe.
4. Tree pose (Vrkasana)
Balancing poses are great for runners – helping to strengthen the ankles, legs, and your balance, making you less likely fall when you’re running on trails. From a standing position, bring your weight into one leg and bring the other leg to balance on your ankle, shin, or thigh – anywhere on the leg just not on the knee. Draw everything in towards the midline of your body, palms come to hips, heart centre, or up overhead and find a fixed point to hold your gaze. If you feel really steady, try closing your eyes!
5. Seated Forward Fold (Paschimottanasana)
AKA my nemesis. For so long, my ego screamed at me during this pose because my tight hamstrings made it really difficult for me. But it’s this pose that I credit with making those tight hamstrings of mine, well, a little bit less tight. Come to sit with your legs outstretched long in front of you, flex the feet, and fold forward, keeping your spine long. That might mean you only fold forward two inches and that’s just fine. The more you practice, the more your body will learn to trust you, and the more those hammies will release. It can also be reallay nice to take a deep bend in the knees here and let your chest fall over your thighs.
There you have it! 5 yoga poses to help support your running practice. Are there any others that you like to incorporate? Let us know in the comments!