Around 47 million Americans run regularly, proof we love to feel energized, strengthen our bodies, and get our cardiovascular training in.
Although running is a fantastic form of exercise, it’s even better when you round off a session with yoga. Not only does it help you stretch out your muscles but it will also boost your performance.
If you’re eager to learn more about yoga for runners, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know.
Why Runners Should Do Yoga
Before diving into the different types of yoga, it’s important to know the benefits. Regardless of whether you do Hatha or hot yoga, incorporating it into your workout can amplify your workout.
Improves Your Balance
Even running a mile puts pressure on your joints and muscles which can have harmful long-term effects. But if you do yoga, it’ll help you balance your body because you stretch and lengthen your muscles with each pose. Yoga also strengthens particular muscle groups which improve your balance, a key component in running.
You may suffer an injury if your muscles are imbalanced, tight, or weak so it’s crucial to take preventative measures. Yoga is useful for this because it aligns your body and helps correct any imbalances. Plus, yoga lets you focus on your body and how it’s reacting so you can see which parts need extra attention.
Helps You Breathe Mindfully
Apart from dealing with yoga for runners knee pain, practicing yoga also improves your breathing while you run.
Different types of yoga use special breathing techniques so you breathe with purpose. Not only does this connect your mind and body but it controls your respiration rate so you can maintain your running pace for longer.
Instead of zoning out when you run, pay attention to your breathing because it’ll help you focus on your core engagement and body positioning, both key to a successful run.
The Best Yoga Poses for Running
We’ve covered the benefits of yoga for runners injury prevention, now we can dive into useful poses. Practice these either as a pre- or post-workout and you’ll notice the benefits. For instance:
Pigeon Pose (Kapotasana)
One of the most effective yoga stretches for runners is the pigeon pose. This improves your hips’ mobility while stretching your quads and hamstrings, perfect after a long run. Start on your hands and knees then slide your left leg behind you.
Next, swing your right leg forward and bend your knee towards your right wrist as you bring the foot towards your left. Sink your hips to the ground and keep your upper body forward. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite side.
Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downard dog is fantastic for tight hamstrings, shoulders, and calves. Begin on your hands and knees, keeping your wrists directly beneath your shoulders. Then spread your fingers, push into your palms, and lift your knees off from the mat.
Gently straighten your legs and raise your hips so your body is in an inverted ‘V’. Take 10 deep breaths and feel your muscles loosen. Then straighten your legs and sink your heels towards your mat. Repeat three times.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
The warrior III pose strengthens your lower body and is great for your feet, ankles, and thighs. As runners know, these are crucial for lateral movement which is useful if you regularly run trails.
First, stand straight and keep your hands by your side. Then shift your weight to your left leg while moving your right behind as you. As you do this, hinge your left hip and bring your body parallel to the mat. If you’re struggling to balance, stand next to a wall or use a chair.
Next, bring your arms in front and reach forwards beside your head. Hold for 10 seconds then repeat on the other side.
Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Also known as the ‘Butterfly pose’, this helps release tension from your inner thighs. Sit in a comfortable position and bring the soles of your feet together, keeping your knees open wide.
Straighten your spine hold this for several deep breaths before exhaling. And if you’re also interested in hot yoga, check out this guide.
Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
Along with tight hamstrings, runners also have stiff hip flexors so it’s important to stretch them out. Practicing low lunges is the best for this as it releases the front of your hips.
Begin on all fours and keep your shoulders over your wrists, hips stacked over your knees. Swing your right foot forward so it’s next to your thumb and bring your legs together so you’re stable.
Reclined Half Hero Pose (Supta Ardha Virasana)
It’s common for your quadriceps to feel sore after a running session. Luckily, you have the reclined half hero pose to ease out any tension.
First, lay supine with your legs extended then bend your right knee. Grab your right ankle and lift it off the mat while reaching your knee to the bottom of the mat.
Point your toes and lower your right foot so it’s on the outside of your hip. To make it harder, lift your pelvis and slide your tailbone towards your toes as it’ll lengthen your lower back. Hold then repeat with your left leg.
That’s Everything About Yoga for Runners
Now you know the importance of yoga for runners and the key poses.
It’s great for pre- and post-workout to prevent injury, strengthen your muscles, and improve your balance. When you incorporate it for an extended period, you’ll reap the many benefits and see progress in your performance. Have fun!
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