Love to run? Then make sure you add these eight yoga poses to your training program.
Running is the perfect way to keep fit, but constantly pounding the pavement can start to put strain on the body and lead to injuries. However, by including yoga to your training program you can improve flexibility, increase strength, improve balance and prevent injuries. Not convinced? Try including these eight yoga poses after your runs and take note of how it benefits your running.
1. Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Start on your hands and knees, with your knees directly below your hips and your hands slightly forward of your shoulders. Spread your fingers wide and press your hands firmly into the ground. Tuck your toes under and lift your knees as you exhale taking your sitting bones up towards the sky. With every exhalation, take your heels closer towards the ground. Firm your shoulder blades against your back and draw them down toward your tailbone. Keep your head between your upper arms. Hold for 1-2 minutes.
2. Low Lunge with Chest Opener (Anjaneyasana Variation)
From downward dog, step your left foot forward in between your hands and ensure the ankle is directly underneath the knee. Bring your back knee down and untuck the toes. With bent elbows, interlace your hands behind your back. Keeping your palms together, as you exhale work to gently straighten your arms as you lunge into your left knee. Breathe deeply and hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
3. Lizard Lunge (Utthan Pristhasana)
From downward dog, step your right foot between your hands to a lunge position. Make sure that the knee stays above the ankle (not in front). Gently walk your right foot out, bringing both your hands to the inside on the right foot. Either stay here or as you exhale, bring both forearms to the floor inside your right leg. Press back through your left heel, keeping this leg active. Open your chest to lengthen through the spine. Breath deeply and hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat on the other side.
4. Low Lunge With Quad Stretch (Anjaneyasana Variation)
From downward dog, step your right foot forward in between your hands and ensure the ankle is directly underneath the knee. Bring your back knee down and untuck the toes. Place your left hand flat on the mat inline with your right foot, placing a block under the hand if you need. Twist your torso open towards the right knee and reach your right outstretched arm back to grab your left foot. If you cannot not reach or if the stretch is too painful, use a strap to grab the foot. Breathe deeply and hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
From downward dog, inhale your left knee towards your left wrist and turn your toes out to the right. Slowly walk your right leg back to help you settle down further into the pose. Inhale to lift and lengthen through the spine. As you exhale, fold forward, walking your hands forward and lowering your torso towards the ground. Either stack your hands and rest your forehead on top of them, or strength your arms out in front and rest your forehead on the ground. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 1-2 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
6. Half Lord of The Fish Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
In a seated position on the ground, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the ground. Take your left heel to your right buttock, laying the outside of your left leg on the ground. Place your right foot over the left leg, placing the sole of the foot onto the ground. Place your right hand on the ground behind you and as you inhale, lift your left arm towards the sky. As you exhale, twist from the waist and take your left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Press your right foot, sitting bone and hand into the floor. Breathe deeply and hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
7. Head-to-Knee Pose (Janu Sirsasana)
Sit on the ground with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and place the sole of the right foot towards your inner left thigh, laying the outer right leg on the ground with shin at a right angle to the left leg. Inhale and lift both arms above your head, turning your torso slightly to the left. As you exhale, slowly lower your torso towards your left leg, taking your hands down towards your left foot. Breathe deeply and hold for 1-2 minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.
8. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Sit with your legs out straight in front of you. Draw your soles of the feet together, dropping your right knee to the right side and your left knee to the left side. Keep the outer edges of your feet grounded and sit up nice and tall. Breathe deeply and hold for 1-2 minutes.
Photo Credits: Scott Ehler
About the author
Caitlin Reid is a unique health professional with qualifications as an accredited nutritionist, accredited exercise physiologist and yoga teacher. Caitlin is passionate about all things health and wellness, and keeps up-to-date with the latest health research, which she uses when contributing expert advice to health, fitness, lifestyle and food companies. She is also the nutrition expert for the Women’s Fitness magazine, the dietitian for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and ambassador for Papaya Australia. Follow Caitlin on Instagram @caitlinareid or visit her website.