Since doing Yoga, I have had very few injuries, in fact they have been non-existent. I remember having glutes that do not fire probably, hip and numerous knee issues. I know runners, I used to be a competitive one myself and many a times I did not stretch after a run, which meant havoc with me the day after! Think of Yoga as a kind of cross-training.
Every time you do it, you will be concentrating on building your balance, core and flexibility, tension-free running, perfect posture and more than anything it will optimise your recovery.
There are soooo many yoga poses I could show you that would help with your running. These are some of my favourites, and I will always do them after I have completed a run. I would do 3 Sun Salutations A and then the following (the picture, work from the right to the left) Time wise I would do each pose for 5-10 breaths. I am well aware that you can’t see the pictures on here – Go to The Facebook page – Kaliyoga1 or Instagram – @emilyevelyn for a full rundown of the poses.
Yin Squat – Feet
A fantastic pose to stretch the feet. It’s particularly good if you suffer or are prone to Plantar Fasciitis. It’s pretty intense… In fact, it can be damn near unbearable! But try to relax and…. Breathe
Turn your toes under, spread evenly so that you are on the balls of your feet
From all fours, slowly start sitting back until the weight is on your heels
Sit with an upright spine, you can drop your head
If anything hurts, ease off the weight. This can become incredibly uncomfortable – start holding it for 5-10 breaths and work your way up
Garland – Hip, Calves, Achilles
A great pose to ease open the hips and lengthen the calves.
From a standing position, feet hip width, start squatting down until your tailbone is dropped as low as it can go – I.e. you’re not hovering!
If this is too much, or you can’t keep your feet flat, use a block or a rolled up blanket behind your heels for support. You can also lean against a wall
Bring the elbows onto the inside of the legs, hands to heart centre and lightly squeeze open the elbows – opening the chest
You can hold it still or sway side to side.
Runners Lunge – Hip Flexors
From standing lunge down, place the back knee on the ground
Gently lean forward into the bent leg, making sure the knee does not go over the ankle
Sink into the hips…Relax
This is a great one for hip mobility. Stretch the arms to the sky and keep the shoulders relaxed.
Reclined Figure 4 – Hip, Piriformis, lower back
From laying down, bend the knees
Elevate the right one and flex the toes
Put the foot just over the knee
Put your hands on the left leg and start pulling it towards you
You shall feel a slight tension in the right hip
Relax your shoulders and your head is on the ground
It is also great if you have sciatica
When I have had a long run, I love doing this against a wall
Reclined Laying Twist – ITB, Lower back
From wind releasing pose, release one leg to the ground and hug the other into the chest
Place the hand on the opposite knee and gently allow the knee to fall heavy to the ground
With the opposite arm, stretch it out straight to the side and turn the head in that direction
Relax the lower back. Make sure both shoulders are planted firmly on the ground.
This is a good stretch to relieve your ITB band and lower back. It is also great if you have sciatica
Reclined Hero, Single Leg – Feet, Quadriceps
Do not do this stretch if you suffer from knee issues
Bend the leg and place the foot face down next to your hip. DO NOT let the foot stick out like a hurdler
Gently lean back keeping the knee on the ground until you feel a stretch in the quadriceps.
This will also stretch out your ankles and the feet. It can get uncomfortable, but it’s my favourite stretch…If you do nothing else after your run – DO THIS!
Seated Forward Fold – Hamstrings
Engage the legs and flex the toes
Reaching to the sky, fold forward from the hip bringing the chest down. Do not round the spine
Find your limit and then release the hands down to the legs/feet or use a strap
Always relax the shoulders, don’t hold any unnecessary tension in the neck or head
Close the eyes and concentrate on your breath. You will find yourself naturally falling deeper into the pose
If your lower back or hamstrings are feeling particularly tight, lightly bend the legs
Wide Legged Seated Forward Fold – Adductor/Hamstrings
Widen your legs with your toes pointing upwards
Walk you fingertips forward, drawing your chest to the floor (not your nose).
Relax the shoulders, the neck and head.
If you have really tight hamstrings or lower back, you can bend the legs.
Wind Releasing Pose – Lovely, it just feels so good!!
Laying down bend both the legs and hug them to the chest.
Ensure your whole spine, including the tailbone is on the ground and the neck is long.
Have a gentle rock side to side to massage the spine, release the lower back and give your internal organs a massage.