Since the start of the pandemic, more and more people have started running outdoors. Adding running and yoga into your weekly exercise regime can offer a number of physical and mental benefits during these strange times. Whether you are an avid runner or you have recently got back into it, here are some easy yoga poses that can help to stretch out those muscles and keep any stiffness at bay.
The Seated Forward Bend
This is a nice and easy yoga pose that really helps to loosen any tight spots and improve flexibility over time. If you run regularly, you may find that you experience tight hamstrings and this stretch is perfect for targeting this area and gives a deep and intense stretch. Like any pose, don’t feel deflated if you can barely touch your ankles. Start in a seated position and slowly fold the top half of your body over your legs and aim to secure your hands at your ankles. Remember to breathe and flex your feet. With practice, you will soon be able to anchor your hands around the soles of your feet, increasing the depth of the stretch as you progress.
The Spinal Twist
Running is an impact sport and as a result, this can mean that you are prone to lower back tension from time to time. The spinal twist pose is a superb stretch for the back and shoulders. Begin lying flat on your back and raise one knee in towards the chest. Take that knee over to the floor keeping your arms stretched out to your sides. Turn your head to the opposite side of the folded knee to intensify the stretch.
Downward Facing Dog
This classic yoga pose comes in handy when you want to stretch out tired and sore calves. This popular pose targets the calves, hamstrings and hips for an all-over lower body stretch. Start in a kneeling position and place your palms on the floor in front of you. Spread your fingers and bring your knees off the floor, pointing your hips to the sky and press your heels into the mat. Bring your gaze up towards the middle of your palms and enjoy this deep stretch.
Low Lunge Pose
If you suffer from tight hip flexors, this pose is a great one to try and it also stretches out the glutes, a key area that is worked when running. Lower one of your knees to the mat and put your weight on the front bent knee until you feel the stretch in your hips and groin. To deepen this stretch, bring your hands into a prayer position above your head. Keep your gaze fixed straight ahead and keep your core tight.
Keep these four yoga poses in your toolbox for rest days and bring them out when you need an intense stretching session to aid with your recovery. Have you got back into running during lockdown?