I'm gonna keep this short and simple, hopefully still understandable since I worked for 12 hours today and all I can think about is my bed right now. BUT, I'm not the type of person to leave things done halfway, so this is my part 2 of my yoga stretches and tips for runners.
Here are the last four stretches for runners (of course there are more than this, but in my series this week, I have nine)! Remember, you have two legs and two arms, so don't just stretch one side ;) stay 5-10 breaths on each side.
6. Twisted triangle for your hamstring, glutes, waist and shoulders
If you're not as flexible, this pose can be challenging, but don't let that put you off trying because there are so many benefits from āsana. First, step one foot to the front and the other to the back, stand around 4-5 feet apart, pivot your back foot to a 45 degree angle (so it's not parallel to the front foot). Face forward, make sure your hips are in line with each other (like your hipbones are flashlights of a car) and twist to the side of your front foot (if you have your left foot in front, twist your body left). At this point, your front leg may not be straight, so the key is to try straighten both legs before proceeding any further. Once you feel a good stretch, place whichever arm you have at the bottom to your thigh, shin or foot, and lastly raise your upper arm straight up, open your shoulders and look up. What's important for this one is to keep your legs straight, hips squared (like you're facing forward) while you twist, and keep your spine straight.
7. Standing forward fold for your hamstrings and spine
Standing with your legs apart of together (depending on your flexibility), fold down from your hips. Try keep your hips stacked on top of your feet so you're not leaning back but its a feelings of putting your body weight on your toes. Never fold down with a curved spine, that will only cause back injuries over time. With any forward folds, always bend from your hips, so the first contact will be your 1. abdomen with your thighs, then your 2. chest with your knees and last is your 3. face to your shin. Never try touch your head to your legs when the rest of your body does not touch. Beginners can keep your torsos higher when you fold, your arms can rest on the top of your legs or even on your hips, keep your legs straight and fold down as much as your hammys can handle.
8. Cow face for your shoulders
This one should be pretty straight forward, sit up tall and swing the top of your one arm above and the other below, clasp your fingers (if you can't, hold onto a towel and pull), this will release the tension from your shoulders. The tighter you pull, the more you feel on your shoulders. Do both sides equally.
9. Plank it to win it... joking! Plank for your whole body, especially your core
Place your shoulder on top of your wrist so that your arms are vertical from the mat (don't have your hands too front or too back from your shoulders). Straighten your body to the end of the mat until you are one vertical line. Common mistakes with planks are that people stick their butts either too high or too low. Tuck in the tailbone and check your body to see if you are straight. Engage your core so your abdomen is sucked into your spine. Hold it until you feel the vibrations. Good posture comes from a strong core!
That's all for my yoga series for runners... there'll be more to come. Good Luck to those who are running the marathon this weekend!!
Until next time... Namaste xx