Yoga comes with multitude of benefits for your mental and physical health. From relieving stress, alleviating anxiety and depression to boosting heart health and brain health, there is no end to the benefits you reap once you enroll in a Yoga programme. One of the few changes you will notice when you start with your Yoga practice is improved flexibility, strength and also sleep.
Yoga is also beneficial for runners as it allows them to stretch properly preventing them from injury. It improves blood flow around your muscles and also works on the range of motion for your joints. Yoga also strengthens lower body, upper body and core which helps you to run more effectively.
“Yoga is a wonderful practice that can help runners to stretch correctly and thoroughly. Stretching before and after the run helps to maintain flexibility avoid injury and allows the body to recover. Runners tend to use the same muscle groups repeatedly causing the muscles to become tight, knotty and exhausted,” says renowned Yoga Guru Grand Master Akshar.
“To combat this, yoga can help to increase the range of motion. When you practice yoga, it allows for the combination of static and dynamic stretches which leads to improving strength and integrity of muscles and joints. As running requires weight bearing it can lead to issues like runners’ knee. Yoga helps do improve bone density, bone strength and bone health, yoga helps to encourage the growth of new bone cells. As a runner, you can achieve greater stability as the entire body is strengthened in yoga,” adds the Yoga guru.
Here are 5 Yoga poses every runner should practice:
Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian pose)
* Start with your feet together
* Step your right leg back and place it towards the rear end of the mat
* Ensure that your toes touch the floor and your heel is pointing upward
* Gently lower your right knee and place it on the floor
* After you press your toes down, extend them out
* Your left knee should be in line with your left ankle
* Maintain a 90 degree angle at the knee joint between upper and lower leg
* Lower your pelvis and place palms beside your foot
Ashtavakrasana (Pose Dedicated to Sage Ashtavakra)
* Begin in Adhomukha Swanasana
* Jump and bring your left foot in between your palms and right foot outside your right palm
* Tuck your right elbow under your right inner thigh firmly
* Slowly lift your right foot off the floor and lean your upper body forward
* Shift your body weight to your palms and lift your left leg off the floor
* Cross your left leg over your right and create a firm lock
* Straighten your legs and look forward
* Ensure that your arms are bent at an angle of 90°
* Focus at a point and hold this asana
* Repeat the same on the other side
* Begin in Samasthithi
* Exhale and fold forward with your upper body
* Drop your head and keep your shoulders and neck relaxed
* Try to bring the trunk closer to the legs
* Place palms on either side of feet
* Try to keep the legs and knees straight throughout the practice
* Hold this asana for a while
Paschimottanasana (Seated forward bend)
* Begin in Dandasana where your legs are stretched out forward
* Keep your knees slightly bent if needed
* Lift your arms up and keep your spine upright
* Exhale and bend forward
* Try to grip your toes with your fingers
* Hold the posture for 10 seconds
Utkatasana (Chair Pose)
* Begin with Samasthithi.
* Join palms to form Namaste at your heart chakra and raise your arms up
* Bend your knees and slowly lower your pelvis
* Ensure that your pelvis is parallel to the floor with a 90 degree bend at the knees
* Align your ankles and knees in one straight line
* Focus your gaze towards your Namaskar
* Ensure that your spine remains erect
“Yoga builds muscular endurance which pushes the runners’ capabilities when it comes to strength. An important aspect of yoga is that it improves your breathing quality which can be very helpful during an activity such as running,” says the Yoga Guru.