What makes yoga and running the perfect combination? They both benefit the body in completely different ways; they're the yin and yang of exercise. The cardiovascular benefits of running are unmatched, while the centering and sometimes vigorous practice of yoga not only strengthens and sculpts the muscles, but also brings the mind to a sweet, comfortable place, keeping that "runner's high" going all day long.
As the feet pound the pavement, running compacts and contracts the muscles, setting the stage for tight muscles, pain and even injury.
Runners, don't fret—just a wee bit of yoga is perfect for lengthening tight muscles. Many articles for runners address the ever-popular hip openers and knee strengtheners (which are very important), but tend to neglect some other crucial areas affected by avid running. Yes, you can still do your "runner's stretch," but follow it up with these three poses to loosen and strengthen the other important muscles.
As a runner, this is one of my least favorite poses. It's just plain uncomfortable. However, we yogis believe that the most uncomfortable poses are often the most needed. The good news: The more often you do a pose you hate, the easier it gets. Additionally, quad stretches can help prevent a slew of injuries associated with running.
- Come to the floor on both knees.
- Step one leg out in front of you and come forward enough so you're not resting on top of the knee.
- Reach behind you to grab the foot of the resting leg, using the same hand as leg.
- For an added "twist," you can try a twisting quad stretch by reaching behind with the opposite hand.
- Another fantastic option is to try this against the wall. Come on your knees as close to the wall as you can. Creep forward on one foot to come into a lunge while keeping the back of the shin against the wall. Remember to come forward enough so your weight isn't directly on top of the knee. Take 5 to 8 deep breaths.