Let’s start off with a tidy little disclaimer: I am in no way a yoga expert. I’ve been practicing yoga off and on for about fifteen years – off more than on; however, I have been fairly consistent over the past year. I practice on my own with the help of Rodney Yee’s DVD’s, so without an instructor checking my form, I’m never quite sure how I’m doing. Over the past couple of days I’ve taken pictures of my ten favorite yoga poses for runners, and looking at my photos was an eye-opener and helped me see several areas upon which I need to improve.
As an avid runner, I know which areas of my body get consistently tight from running and know which yoga poses feel particularly good in both stretching and strengthening my running muscles. When I coached for my gym’s marathon training program, I hired a yoga instructor to teach my runners which poses would best enhance their running program. Over the years I’ve added and subtracted poses from my runners’ routines, always looking for the perfect combination. The following are my ten favorite poses that I feel best compliment my running…
1. Lightning – stretches quads, knees, ankles, and feet
2. Reverse Prayer – stretches pecs and anterior deltoids
3. Low Lunge – stretches quads and groins, and open hips
4. Warrior 3 – strengthens leg stabilizers, posterior deltoids, back, and core; stretches hamstrings and groin; improves balance (Note: My body should be parallel to the floor with a straight line running from my fingertips to my toes, but tightness in my shoulders makes that impossible.)
5. Reclined Pyramid – stretches hamstrings and calves
6. Cobra – opens hip flexors and stretches front of body
7. Downward Dog – stretches hamstrings, calves, and elongates the spine (Note: My back shouldn’t be rounded, but that’s as straight as I could get it – again tightness in my shoulders…)
8. Cobbler or Bound Angle – stretches inner thighs, groin, and knees
9. Half Pigeon – opens hips and stretches hip flexors
10. Legs Up The Wall – stretches hamstrings; aids in relaxation, recovery of the legs, and reduction of fluid retention
As a perfectionist, I could go back through each picture and find something wrong with my form. For example in the above picture, I should have my feet dorsiflexed to get a greater stretch in the backs of my legs. Taking pictures with my phone on a ten-second timer made getting into the pose a challenge, and believe me, I had zero time for finesse (my hubby took the first and fourth pictures, though). Just remember, the most important thing is to try…
As I mentioned earlier, I currently practice yoga by making up my own routines and using the following Rodney Yee DVD’s:
- Rodney Yee’s Complete Yoga For Beginners (affiliate link)
- Rodney Yee’s Intermediate Yoga (affiliate link)
- Rodney Yee’s Yoga Conditioning For Athletes (affiliate link)
- Do you practice yoga?
- If so, what are your favorite poses?
- Do you spend more time with general stretching, practicing yoga, or foam rolling?
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