Incorporate these four yoga poses into your running schedule and become a better runner.
By Amanda E. Etty
The physical benefits of yoga appeals to athletes, many of whom gravitate to the practice. According to Lea Amaral, owner of Energia Athletic, her athletic clients, runners and cyclists, for example, use yoga to stretch out and strengthen problem areas, which sometimes tend to be tight and stiff. Carly Simpson has run the Toronto half-marathon two years in a row and is enthusiastic to qualify for the full marathon in 2010. She says that yoga has “improved her distance, endurance, and general fitness.” A specific yoga designed for runners allows Simpson to work on flexibility, breath, core strength, and mental focus.
Runners often complain of sore feet, knees, hips, and backs. Yoga can alleviate these pressures and help build a better run. Here are four poses to try before or after your run.
1. Downward-facing Dog (Back, arms, hamstrings, calves)
Start on the floor, your knees underneath your hips, and your hands slightly in front of your shoulders. Curl your toes under and press your hips back and up. Your body should look like an inverted-V.
2. Forward Fold – Lunge (hamstrings, quads, hips)
Stand with your feet underneath your hips, bend your knees, lift your belly. Fold forward with your head and chest leading the way. Let your arms fall to the ground, stretch through the backs of you legs. Step right leg way back to lunge. Ensure that your left knee is over your ankle, hips are low, and press back with your right heel. Repeat, left leg steps back.
3. Triangle (leg strength, back, hips)
Stand with your feet wide apart. Turn your left foot in 30 degrees and your right foot out 90 degrees. Be sure that your right heel is in line with the arch of your left foot. Bring your hands into a T position, move your pelvis toward the left as you extend your torso to the side and over your right leg. Place your right hand down on your shin and stretch your left arm vertically overhead, palm forward. Hold for three breaths. Release by coming back to standing and practice on the opposite side.
4. Bound Ankle Pose (hips)