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Yoga for runners

Whether you have just completed the London marathon or simply enjoy a gentle weekly jog to clear your mind, running is definitely one of the nation’s most favourite sporting pastimes.

Along with all the benefits of running, the regular motion significantly impacts your joints, ligaments and muscles, so injuries can often occur if other complimentary activities aren’t practiced simultaneously as part of your regular routine.

As well as being a fabulous recovery activity for runners, partaking in regular yoga classes can also help to improve running performance through increased core strength and stability, not to mention mental focus.

So, which poses are the most beneficial for all you runners out there?

Downward Dog

The best poses for runners are those that lengthen and stretch the hamstrings, quads and calves, and Downward Dog certainly does all three, as well as opening the hips and strengthening the arches of the feet at the same time.

Keen runners may need to begin with soft knees in their Downward Dog at the start of a class if hamstrings are particularly tight, aiming to straighten them a little further with each exhalation.

Once in the pose, ensure that your hip bones are aiming upwards towards the ceiling and that heels are aiming towards the ground to work those arches.

Forward Fold

“I can’t even touch my toes” is a phrase we hear a lot from beginners at Go Yoga, but to us this doesn’t matter one bit! Any pose that involves trying to reach for your toes is going to be great for stretching your calves and hamstrings and eventually, with ongoing practice, you will see life-changing results.

You can do forward folds either standing or seated, with one leg bent, both bent or both straight – whichever works for you. For best results, make a conscious effort to fold at the hips, elongating with a straight spine before lowering the head towards your knees.

Reclining Spinal Twist

A satisfying and rejuvenating pose, the Reclining Spinal Twist will help to relieve any lower back pains or tension and will give a much-needed stretch to your glute muscles after a long run.

Once on your back, keep your left leg straight and draw your right knee up, drawing it across your left leg and towards the ground. Extend both of your arms out to each side of your body and turn your head to the right.

For maximum results, stay in this pose for at least 10 deep breaths before repeating on the alternate side.

Legs up the Wall

Just finished a 10K race or an intense prep for your Tough Mudder? Nothing relieves tension in the legs and back like having the weight lifted from your feet – literally!

Find an open wall space and lie on your back with your hips as close to the wall as you can. Walk your feet up the wall until they are straight (or slightly bent if your hamstrings are really tight) and relax. Keep your arms by your side or spread them out like a starfish if this feels good.

This is a restorative pose, so keep here for at least 5 minutes…. even 20 if you have the time. The hardest part is trying to stay awake in the is position!

We have many amazing runners who attend Go Yoga classes and are already reaping the benefits. Isn’t it time you gave it a try?