Thursday, December 8, 2016

Yoga for Runners

For the past year and a half, on Wednesday evenings, I can be found teaching an hour long yoga class at a local running store. Most of the participants are runners in need of an extra stretch, but some yogis are there just for the yoga and are thankful that the store has a free class for them to enjoy.

This class alternates from a vinyasa flow (think breath to movement, faster paced), to a yin class (long slightly uncomfortable stretches, probably the BEST yoga for runners imo), and some restorative (truly relaxed, supported, magical unicorn yoga) thrown in for good measure. In the past 18 months I have seen my students progress so much in their practice, and some more injury prone runners have stayed injury free as well. Surely that's not all yoga's doing, but it certainly helps.

My favorite poses for runners:
  • Pigeon.  We do pigeon every single class. Holding for 1-3 minutes on each side depending on how much time we have left. Magic. Happy, happy hips.
  • Malasana. Roll up your mat to slip under your heels to bring the floor closer to your feet. 
  • Seated forward fold. Runners tend to have tighter hamstrings. I love the variation to start with knees bent, wrap your arms under your knees and hug your chest to your thighs. If you have tighter hamstrings, always feel welcome to have a bend in your knees any time you're doing any sort of hamstring stretch.
  • Plank. I hurt my shoulder many many months ago, and have been living a chaturanga free existence since then. Many of my students are newer yogis, so I've been throwing chaturangas out the window completely. Holding plank. Engaging lower body. So strong.
  • Navasana/Boat Pose. Best core pose for runners imo. Core+psoas work, so very necessary.
What are your favorite yoga poses to counter balance your running?

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