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Put a Spring in Your Step: Yoga for Runners

runner's yoga

3 Yoga Poses to Open Up the Hips

Tight hips can make running more difficult. If hip tightness keeps you from achieving your best time, try one of these exercises.

Bound Angle Pose

Sit on the floor and place your legs out in front of you without bending your knees. As you exhale, bend your knees and then let them drop to either side of your body. Keep your heels as close to your pelvis as possible. Hold your big toes or your ankles, if you can't reach your toes. Remain in the pose for up to five seconds, then inhale and bring your legs back to the starting position.

Happy Baby Pose

Start this pose on your back. Bring your knees to your chest, but keep your feet aimed toward the ceiling. Grasp the outsides of your feet and pull down on them slightly. Hold the pose for 30 seconds as you feel your hips and lower back loosen.

Frog Pose

Start on all fours, then lower your forearms to the floor. Move your knees to either side as far as you can, maintaining a 90 degree angle with shins and thighs. Hold the pose for five to 10 seconds, making sure to keep your waist long and open.

Looking for something to jump-start your running performance? Try yoga. The ancient practice offers a variety of benefits for runners who have hit a training plateau and need a boost to reach their goals.

Yoga Improves Imbalances         

Every time your foot touches the ground when you run, your muscles react by becoming tighter and shorter. If you don't also devote time to loosening those muscles, an imbalance can occur. Imbalances stress your muscles, bones and joints, and make it difficult to run well. They also impact your body's ability to absorb shock. While some muscles just get tighter and tighter, others become weak. Yoga involves plenty of stretching that opens up, lengthens and loosens your muscles. Once you achieve the proper balance, you just might find that your performance improves.

Strength and Flexibility Increases

Yoga helps you keep the muscles you use for running flexible and strong. Poses work your core, hip muscles, quads and hamstrings. When those muscles are flexible, injuries may decrease, since it's easier to tear or strain tight muscles than flexible ones. When you practice yoga, you may be asked to hold a pose for several seconds. Although you might not realize it at the time, holding a pose is a simple way to strengthen those running muscles and increase your range of motion.

A Slow Start is Essential

Yoga is more difficult than it looks. Just as in running, proper technique is essential to avoid injuries. If you're new to yoga, start off with an introductory class, and don't advance to the next level until you have mastered the basics. If pushing yourself has resulted in injuries or poor performance in the past, now is the time to embrace the power of listening to your body's signals before you move on to something a little more difficult. When you are in tune with your body, you will be able to better recognize when you are overdoing a training session and can stop before you experience a serious injury.

After you become adept at performing yoga poses, you can try more demanding poses. Poses that increase your heart rate, deliver much-needed oxygen to your muscles, allowing you to run longer.

Take a Deep Breath

During your yoga class, you'll also concentrate on deepening and controlling your breathing. Breathing exercises help purify your body and promote self-discipline. After you master these exercises, you may notice that your concentration has improved. In fact, it may be much easier to ignore distractions when you run. Breathing exercises can also help decrease stress and pain. When you become proficient at yoga, you will learn how to coordinate your breathing with your movements, which can help improve endurance when you run.

It's All In Your Head

Success in any sport involves a combination of physical and mental strength and abilities. Yoga is a very contemplative practice that uses meditation as a way to focus and quiet your mind. Incorporating meditation into your daily activities can help you destress and conquer the demons that may be keeping you from excelling.

Improve your performance with one of our convenient yoga classes. Give us a call to find out when classes are offered.

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