Yoga for Runners – part I

**This post contains photos from the amazing book, “The Key Poses of Hatha Yoga” by Ray Long MD FRCSC and can be purchased here.**

In general, a regular yoga practice is very beneficial for runners in order to prevent injuries and maintain their ability to endure years of continual running.  There are also specific yoga poses that work in a corrective manner for runners experiencing chronic pain.  The biggest emphasis for a runners body should be balance, symmetry, and alignment.
For a start, here are 3 yoga poses I recommend for runners:
Muscles shown in BLUE are Synergizing or Activating (Contracting)
Muscles shown in RED are Stretching
Triangle Pose
Triangle pose for runners is more about lengthening the muscles that get tight from regular running.  Extending the muscles on the sides of the torso will help create a more fluid running gate and allow a more natural torso rotation.  The stretch to the front leg hamstring and rear leg calf will provide length and therefore work to lessen lower back tension and/or inflammation in the feet.
 Revolving Lunge Pose
Revolving Lunge pose additionally helps to develop torso flexibility and counters the 2-dimensionality of running with a progressive torso twist.  The front leg gains strength while holding and stabilizing this pose.  The rear leg also gains strength from stabilization along with encouraging an opening of the front of the rear leg hip and pelvis that are often tight on runners from over use.
 Warrior III Pose
Warrior III pose is an excellent strengthener for the muscles that stabilize the hips, knees, and ankles.  This pose works the muscles (high hamstrings and glutes) that help to propel the body over and through the planted foot while running.  This is a difficult pose and should be modified when needed by bringing the arms out to the sides like an airplane.
Creating body awareness through regular yoga practice makes it possible to prevent injuries from sneaking up on you.  If you are aware that you can’t sink into a pose as easily on one side than the other, then you learn that running with that type of imbalance is like driving your car with the wheels out of alignment…eventually, something is going to give. 
If you know you have an imbalance, or are already experiencing chronic pain, give me a call and through a thorough assessment, corrective exercises and/or massage therapy I can help you get to the source of the imbalance and get you back on the road pain-free.

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