These yoga poses are great for runners looking to stretch the IT (illio-tibial) band and the muscles that put tension on the IT band; the outer hips and quadriceps.
Before you begin, be sure to gather your props - Today you’ll only need a block.
1. Begin on your back. Hug your right knee into your chest, left leg stays long. Bring knee to 90 degree angle then drop right knee over left leg until knee comes to the ground. Let your left toes fall over to the left. Take 5 long deep breaths here. Repeat on other side.
2. Come to Runner’s Lunge with your right foot at the top of the mat. Drop the back knee to the ground. Walk your hands back, straightening your right leg, foot is flexed (toes point up to the ceiling). Plant your left hand on a block, reach your right arm up (see image). Take 5 deep breaths and release your right hand down.
3. Walk both hands to the outside of your right leg and fold over. Take 5 deep breaths here before repeating #2 & #3 on the other side.
4. Come to Down Dog. Kick your right leg up and back for 3-Legged Dog. Bring right knee to left elbow, shifting forward so your shoulders are over your wrists (see image).
5. Extend your right leg out straight. Hold for a breath and then drop your foot down to the floor (see image).
6. Drop right hip to floor, keeping back toes tucked. Come down onto forearms and take 10 deep breaths here. For a greater stretch, bring the right leg forward. For less of a stretch, bring the right leg back (see image).
7. To come out of the pose, slowly come back up onto your hands, lift your R hip up and make your way back to Down Dog. Repeat #4-6 on the other side.
8. Slowly come onto your back. Bring both feet up in the air and cross the right knee over the left. Lift your head and shoulders off the ground and with each hand; grab the outside of each ankle. Slowly lower your head and shoulders back down to the ground. For a deeper stretch, pull your shins in. Take 5 deep breaths here and then switch sides – left knee over right.
Are there any stretches that you find helpful?
What I love about yoga is its ability to provide your body exactly what it needs. Whether its relaxation or energy, focusing a few minutes on your breath, connecting your mind & body can bring you to a new state of bliss.
Try these 5 poses to nourish your body:
1. Child's Pose
Begin on your hands and knees in Table Pose. Bring the tips of your big toes to touch, your knees out wide (the width of your yoga mat), sink your sit bones back toward your heels. Fold forward, extending your arms out in front of you, resting your forehead on the ground. Take several long, deep breaths here (filling your entire chest, all the way up to your sternum). Exhaling slowly, release your belly back towards your spine. Stretch your right hand out in front of you as far as possible, feeling a stretch along your entire side body. After a few breaths here, switch sides, stretching your left hand out.
2. Low Lunge
Beginning in forward fold, step left foot back in a low lunge ensuring your right knee is directly stacked over your ankle. Drop your back knee to floor and bring hands to hips. We hold a lot of stress and tension in our hips so this pose helps you open up and release. Focus on breathing through any sensations and practice "letting go." After 5 breaths, switch sides.
3. Wide-Legged Standing Forward Bend
Step feet out wide, toes slightly pointing inward and hands on hip. Slowly begin to fold forward bending at your hip creases. Drop your hands to the floor, shoulder-width distance. Letting the top of your head drop to the floor, release any tension you may be holding in your neck or jaw. Knees can be slightly bent. Take 10 long, deep breaths focusing on releasing more with each exhale. To come up, place hands on hips and using your legs, come up nice and slowly.
4. Goddess Pose
Step feet out wide, point toes slightly outward and begin to lower into a wide-legged squat. Place arms out to the side at shoulder height and bend at elbows creating field goal post arms (fingertips pointing toward the ceiling). Squat a little lower maybe doing a few pulses up & down or side to side, working your inner thighs. Coming back to neutral, exhale your breath completely and draw your pelvic floor in and hold. Hold as long as you can, release and take a round of breaths before trying again. Continue to practice the pelvic floor raises to improve the muscles of your vagina, great for before or after birth.
5. Reverse Process
Begin sitting on the floor with one shoulder blade touching the wall. Keeping your bottom up against the bottom of the wall, swing your legs around and up the wall, legs extended, until your back is resting on the floor. Place arms down by your side, palms facing up. Relax here for approximately 20 breaths. Breathe gently making your exhale twice as long as your inhale. Legs can be slightly bent. This pose is great if you are having trouble falling asleep or have been on your feet all day. It may be uncomfortable for those who are pregnant.
Thank you for sharing your practice with me today. Best of luck on your journey to relax & renew!