The Benefits of Yoga for Runners

Yoga is a great compliment to running as it helps to restore balance and symmetry to the body. It’s easy for runners to forget about movements that will improve their performance. With different terrains in Edmonton, yoga can be an essential tool for the Edmonton runner’s weekly training.

Benefits of Yoga

There are many benefits when it comes to yoga for runners.

  • Improved flexibility
  • Increased strength
  • Improved balance
  • Improved stability
  • Improved mobility
  • Improved breathing
  • Re-energizing

Yoga Movements for Runners

Ula Kaniuch shows you a few basic movements that you can do on your own:

Downward Dog (Adhomukha Svanasana)

  • Stretch one muscle group while strengthening the opposite
  • Opportunity to stretch back of legs
  • Reduces stiffness in shoulders
  • Releases tension in lower back
  • A mild inversion that supports reducing stress and calming the nervous system

Downward Dog Alignment

  • Set body up in V shape
  • Feet hips distance apart
  • Hands shoulder distance apart, firmly planted
  • Feel all your fingers connect to the ground, including the thumb
  • Bring body weight back allowing sit bones to go higher towards ceiling
  • Work heels towards the ground
  • Bend knees as needed allowing the chest to come closer to thighs, then straighten legs. Feel free to peddle the heels.
  • Allow shoulder blades to come apart on the back, feeling the back broaden
  • Move shoulders away from ears, letting the head drop, gaze towards navel
  • Refrain from collapsing forward into your shoulders
  • Focus on an elongated spine
  • Breath

Low Lunge/Crescent Lunge (Anajaneyasana)

(video moves from 90/90 Lunge to Humble Warrior to Lunge)

  • Intense hip flexor stretch in back leg
  • Backbend in Crescent Lunge
  • Chest opener based on arm variation
  • Can relieve sciatica pain

Low Lunge/Crescent Lunge Alignment

  • Front knee is in a 90-degree bend
  • Back knee is soft on the floor, aligned behind the hip
  • Choose arm variation
  • Allow your hips to settle forwards and down until you feel a stretch in the front of your back leg and psoas.
  • Draw your tailbone done towards the earth, lengthening your lower back
  • Be mindful of entering and exiting this stretch slowly and carefully

Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

  • Stretches and strengthens the thighs, knees, and ankles
  • Stretches the hips, groins, hamstrings, and calves; shoulders, chest, and spine
  • Relieves backache
  • Can stretch side of waist and side of hip
  • Strengthens core muscles

Triangle Pose Alignment

  • Step feet apart to land approximately under outstretch hands
  • Front foot faces forward, back foot is pointing to the side or at 45-degrees
  • Both legs stay straight, resist hyperextension, keeping a slight bend in the front knee will help the spine to stay long
  • Lengthen the spine, keep the torso long
  • Bring arms up beside you and with a straight spine begin to reach forward with front hand
  • The body will begin to tip forward, allowing you to take the front hand to the shin, floor, or foot.
  • Backhand lines up above the bottom hand, imagine a straight rod from the bottom hand up through the collar bones to the top arm
  • Hips, chest, and shoulders are square
  • Feel free to sweep top arm forward in arm variation to increase side body stretch

One Legged Pigeon (Eka Pada Kapotasana)

  • Stretches the buttocks
  • Stretches the thighs, groins, and psoas on the opposite leg
  • Stretches abdomen
  • If there is any pain the front bent knee, come out and try Thread the Needle

One Legged Pigeon Alignment

  • Keep pelvis level, use a blanket under the hip you are stretching if you keep falling to the outside of it
  • Slowly work towards the front knee getting to a 90-degree bend, heel further from the pelvis, and shin parallel to the top of the mat
  • Stretch your back leg as far as possible behind you, knee right behind the hip
  • Keep a long spine, avoid over extending the lower spine

Practice Yoga With Us

Whether you’re new to yoga or have been doing it for years, we invite you to come practice yoga with us on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm. We’re located in Downtown Edmonton, on 105 Avenue and 115 Street. We have a wide selection of group classes in addition to yoga, hope to see you soon!

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