Yoga is a great tool to use for reducing fatigue and for improving the resistance of a runner. Not to mention the fact that yoga improves flexibility and it creates balance and strength. Here are the best five yoga positions runners should add to their training:
Standing Forward Fold
Standing Forward Fold or Uttanasana is a great yoga pose after a run because it stretches the lower back. This pose is also a great pose for relaxation and calming down after running.
How to do the pose: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees a little bit and then fold forward. Draw our belly button in then grab the opposite elbow into your hands. Let your body hand like that for a few breaths. You can also move gently from side to side. Release the pose gently by coming back to a standing position.
Downward Facing Dog
Downward Facing Dog is a great yoga position for runners because it offers great hamstrings and calves stretch.
How to do the pose: Stand on the floor on all fours with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Tuck your toes, spread your fingers and press into your palms. Lift your knees and lift your hips up and then back. Straighten your legs gently until your body forms an upside down V shape. Try to keep your heels on the ground. Stay in the pose for a few breaths then gently return to all fours.
The Low Lunge yoga pose is one of the best yoga poses for a runner because it stretches the hips and the major muscles in the legs.
How to do the pose: Start in the downward facing dog pose and more one of your feet between your hands. The foot should be directly under the knee. Lower the other knee to the mat. Try to distribute the weight evenly between your feet. Lift your chest up. Make sure our knee is over your ankle but not too much. You want to stretch your hips not the Achilles. Hold the pose for a few breaths then switch legs.
Half frog or Ardha Bhekasana is a great stretch for the quads. Most runners stretch their quads standing up, however, lying down allows you to stretch deeper and it also creates more length in the spine.
How to do the pose: Lie on the mat face down. Lift your chest up and support your weight with your elbows, like you would do for cobra pose. Bend one of your knees and bring your foot closer to your butt. Keep the opposite arm on the ground and reach the other one back to grab the foot and to pull it forward towards the butt. Hold the pose for a few breaths then repeat the pose on the other side of your body.
Revolved Side Angle
Some runners experience tension in their torso during running and the revolved side angle pose lengthens the lower back and loosens up the upper body which relieves the tension you might feel in your torso.
How to do the pose: From the low lunge position we described earlier, twist your torso towards left or right. After twisting the torso, one arm will be naturally removed from the ground. Bring that arm up toward the ceiling. Extend the opposite hip as much as you can while keeping your core engaged. Hold the pose for a few breaths then switch to the other side.