Yoga for Runners: Improve Leg Strength With Extended Side Angle

Calling all runners and cyclists. Are you balancing out your cardio with yoga? Here is a pose I love to do after a moderate run called Uttita Parsvakonasana, or extended side angle pose.

This pose helps me feel grounded, strong, and stretched all at the same time, and it will for you too. It strengthens the leg muscles, knees and ankles while stretching the core, lungs and torso. It's also a great pose for detoxification and circulation.

More: Yoga Detox: Poses to Cleanse Your Body

How to Do Uttita Parsvakonasan

Begin in mountain pose (tadasana) with feet together pointing straight forward, palms facing outward. Begin to take your right leg back about 3 feet behind you as you turn your body to the right. Keep your left toes facing forward and your right toes facing the right wall.

Bend your left knee deeply so that the knee and ankle of the foot are aligned and perpendicular to the ground. The right leg is stretched out long from the hip to the ankle. Lift up through the torso, and then extend your right arm up and gaze up towards your right palm. Lengthen out through your entire right side as your left hand presses into the floor in front of the left ankle. Take a few deep breaths. Then switch to the other side.

More: Breathing Techniques to Improve Your Performance

Modifications:

  1. For better balance, try the pose up against the wall.
  2. For better support, you can rest your forearm on your thigh (see photo below).
  3. No need to look up at your hand if it bothers your neck. Just look straight ahead, or down at your foot.
  4. Breathing is the most important thing in yoga. If you're sacrificing breath, simply back out the pose.


Forearm on thigh modification

More: 3 Yoga Poses for Runners

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