Running and yoga – they make for a really great couple! You have, on the one hand, the endurance sport, and on the other body movements that penetrate all the way down to the deep muscles and connective tissue. Yoga is thus the perfect balance to your regular running workouts.
Part I will introduce you to five poses you can do directly after your run while you are still walking to cool down. You don’t need a mat or any other yoga equipment.
(1) Little Dancer: Natarajasana
The Dancer, or Lord of the Dance, is an excellent heart-opening and balancing pose. But this version of the original can be a great stretch for your upper thigh muscles.
Choose your standing leg. Make sure your foot is firmly planted and that you have your balance. Bend your other leg and grab it with your hand. Remain standing straight and gently pull your heel towards your buttocks. Stretch your upper body upwards while you push down with your standing leg. Hold this pose for about 5 breaths and then switch legs.
(2) Wide-Legged Forward Bend: Prasarita Padottanasana
The Wide-Legged Forward Bend is a great pose for stretching your hamstrings. It’s perfect for beginning and advanced runners as well as yogis!
Open your legs into a wide stance and place your feet parallel to each other with your toes pointing forward. Inhale and lace your hands behind your back. Make sure to keep your spine straight and long. Exhale and bend forward. Your arms will come forward over your head.
You can use your arms as a lever, so you can bend your upper body even deeper. Hold this pose for 5 breaths.
(3) Wide-Legged Side Stretch: Prasarita Padottanasana Side Stretch
If you want to take the Prasarita Padottanasana pose to the next level, try stretching to the side rather than the front.
Turn your body towards your left foot and bend down over your straight leg. This not only stretches your leg, but your side as well. Hold the pose for 5 breaths and then switch legs and repeat the exercise.
(4) Eagle Arms: Garudasana
Of course, we should stretch other body parts besides our legs. One area that is often neglected is the shoulders. The Eagle Arms pose is an excellent shoulder-opening pose that you can do while you are walking.
Cross your arms so that your right elbow is above the left. Interlock your arms and press your palms together. If you can’t manage this, then just press the backs of your hands together. Now raise your elbows to shoulder level. Try to hold your palms in the middle of your face. Of course, you can also place your thumbs between your eyebrows if you can.
Inhale and lengthen your spine. Exhale and arch your back a little. Hold this pose for 5 breaths. Slowly unwind your arms and repeat the pose on the other side.
(5) Cow Face Arms: Gomukhasana
Another great shoulder-opening pose is the Cow Face Arms. This one fits in perfectly on the way home after your run.
Inhale, bring your right arm over your head, and place the back of your left hand on your back. Straighten your spine and stretch yourself long. Exhale and bend your right elbow so the palm of your right hand is touching your back. If you can, grab your left hand and pull yourself up more.
Make sure to keep your shoulders far away from your ears and keep your spine straight. Hold this pose for 5 breaths and then slowly switch sides.
As JuYogi, the 23-year-old Ju travels the world, sharing her culinary, exercise and spiritual adventures with her readers. Besides yoga, Ju’s blog also discusses topics like sustainability, veganism, joy of living and happiness.