Disclaimer: Please be aware that information in this article is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding an injury or medical condition.
Helful Yoga Poses for Runners
Written by: Melanie Talastas-Soriano BA-Kin, CAT(C), ISSA-CPT
Athletic Therapist, Personal Trainer
Yoga have been known to be around 5,000 years and was originated from India. The word Yoga means union or yoke; bringing together of the mind, body and spirit. It has been popular worldwide where you can find yoga studios or people practicing yoga anywhere in the world. Aside from the familiar yoga poses (asanas), breathing is a huge part of yoga. Pranayama is the breath control. Focusing on the breath while performing the poses helps with concentration and calm the mind. (*Fitflow yoga teachers manual)
In all of the yoga poses, isometric muscle contraction must be present to be able to hold the posture/poses correctly. Isometric contraction means the muscles are in full tension without shortening and lengthening. This specific muscle contraction is what makes the muscle or muscle groups stronger in yoga practice.
These helpful yoga poses are injury prevention specific for runners. If you haven't performed any of the poses, I recommend that you start introducing new routine to help maintain your strength and flexibility all at once. With all of the poses in this article, we will be using control breathing to hold the positions/poses.
Downward dog: This pose targets glutes, hamstrings, calves, lats flexibility while engaging the core. Keep your shoulders down towards your back pocket to maintain neutral spine and bring your heels towards the floor to feel the stretch on the calves and hamstrings. Being on your hands will keep your upper body challenged as well. Hold this position for 5-10 slow deep breaths.
Warrior I: The front leg in a lunge position helps with strengthening while the back leg helps with the hip flexor stretch. Having the arms up is a challenge for the balance. You must hold this position for 5-10 slow deep breath to achieve a good stretch.
Wide stance forward fold: This pose targets the hamstrings, calves, glutes and inner thighs. When you add a twist, it helps loosen the spine as well. Hold this position for 5-10 slow deep breaths. This pose is a relaxing one and can also target a bit of the lower back while it's in neutral position.
Warrior II: The front leg in a lunge position helps with strengthening that leg while the back leg helps with stretching the adductor (inner thigh) stretch. Having the arms out also helps strengthens your shoulders by isometric holds. Core is engaged at all times and forces you to have good posture. Hold this position for 5-10 slow deep breaths.
Pigeon stretch/deep quad stretch: One of the most challenging pose that needs practice to perfect. This pose targets the glutes, inner thigh, IT band on the front leg and hip flexor and quads on the back leg. Bending the back knee towards your glute and holding your ankle will target the quads for a deeper stretch. For beginners, hold this position in 3-5 breaths.
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