Running is one of the most fun and liberating form of exercise, one that allows you to go out and about, enjoy the outdoors, and even run errands on the side. However, it can also be strenuous, especially on the legs, lungs, and joints. To ensure that your running habit leads to fitness and no injuries, it is important to maintain mobility and flexibility in your entire body. This is where yoga can help you. Here are some asanas and techniques that can keep you up and running –
Crescent Lunge – Open up your entire lower body from hips to toes with this deep stretch. Hold the pose for at least thirty seconds before changing sides. If your body feels up to it, remove all modifications and keep your bottom leg straight and your hands up above your head.
Shoulder Opener – Your arms and chest need to be just as open and stimulated for a comfortable and enduring run. So open up your upper body with this gentle but effective stretch. Be careful to not yank your fingers or arms – let your body guide you, and hold the pose for up to a minute.
Downward Dog – A universally recognized asana, this versatile pose can help stimulate the entire body before a run, or help stretch out and relax the mind and body after a long workout. The asana also acts on the hamstrings and the feet, areas which often bear the brunt of running.
Sleeping Pigeon Pose – A helpful pose for those with tight hips, this gentle and relaxing asana helps in increasing mobility and flexibility, thus ensuring that you do not face hip, knee or back pain as a consequence of your running.
Camel Pose – Stretch our your abdomen and open up your chest with this balance challenging pose, which also helps in improving upper body flexibility, and counters the negative impact of the hunched pose many runners assume.
Bridge Pose – The glutes have an important role to play when you run, and thus, giving them a pre-workout stretch through this asana is a very good idea. This pose also helps in opening up the hamstrings, ensuring a comfortable and enduring run.
Reclining Cow Face Pose – A comforting asana that allows you to take control of your flexibility, this asana improves the range of motions in your hips and can help in losing tight glutes and hamstrings. Hold it for at least thirty seconds to feel the impact.
Reclining Spinal Twist – An all-in-one card, this asana opens the chest, stretches the shoulders, and relaxes the lower back and glutes. Indeed, this can be the ideal post-run stretch, one that helps you bring your body back to a relaxed state of normal.
Legs Up The Wall Pose – An easy way to stretch your legs if you are low on mobility, this pose can help you release tension from your back and lower body, and also stretch your hamstrings and glutes. This is a great post-run recovery pose, and you can hold it for as long as ten minutes.
Upward Dog – The best runners know that upper body strength is just as important for good form as lower body strength, and this asana helps you build just that. It strengthens the shoulders, opens up the chest, and as a bonus, also improves concentration
Tree Pose – An ideal way to improve your leg strength and balance, this asana also helps in honing concentration and clearing your mind. Try to stretch this asana out for as long as you can without losing your balance, and you will see the impact for yourself.
Corpse Pose – One mistake even the best runners make is to transition from workout to normal life without a break. The corpse pose allows you to melt your body and mind into a relaxing state, making sure that your muscles truly recover from the run and pose-workouts stretches that you engage in.
Kapalbhati Pranayama – This breathing exercise and cleansing technique is known to reduce bloating, congestion, and improve the lung capacity, all of which can help you run longer, faster, and harder without compromising your oxygen intake.
Sheetali Pranayama – Another breathing exercise, this exercise literally means ‘cool breath’ and not only calms and soothes the body, but also activates the digestive fire of the body. Thus, you get an overall cleansed and calm body to keep you in sync with the pavement.
Mediation – Sitting still may sound counterproductive for somebody who loves to move, but meditation has tremendous benefits for runners. It can help in clearing your mind of negative thoughts and energies, and ensure that you don’t get distracted during your run. It is also a great way to cool down the body post your workout and stretches.
Running is a great way to inculcate fitness and energy into your daily life, but running itself requires your body to be in good form to prevent injuries, accelerate muscle recoveries, and prevent distractions that may sap the joy of your workout. So practice these yoga techniques above before and after your daily routine to make sure that you get the best of your workout.