As we approach the end of Marathon Month, consider this thought from Irish Olympian and Believe co-author Roisin McGettigan: "Just like the exhale needs the inhale, our bodies need relaxation after exertion."
True that! So, as you wind down from racing this fall, be sure to create some space for recovery. Restorative yoga poses that incorporate props to support the body are fab because they not only ease lingering muscle tightness, they also encourage a broader release of tension — in your nervous system, specifically — that is critical for effective recovery.
Don’t search for a big “stretch” feeling in this pose because you probably won’t find it. Instead, “constructive rest” encourages the tops of the thigh bones to drop back and down, which brings ease to the pelvis and, most noticeably, the psoas — a powerful hip flexor that definitely needs to Hit Reset after a half/full marathon, or even a LR.
As you slow down and breathe deeply, notice the way that both your body and your mind respond to the easing of tightness and the release of tension. If you feel resistant to the “slow down,” give your mind something more to focus on by counting to four as you inhale, then counting to four as you exhale — then lengthen the count to five or six. Be patient…
- Put a block lengthwise between your thighs and tightly loop a strap around your thighs — if you don’t have a block/strap, use a couple firm pillows that will keep your thighs hip width apart, and use a tie or belt.
- Once you’ve got your props set up and your strap/tie/belt secure around your legs (it should be tight!), lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor.
- Make sure the outside edges of your feet are parallel.
- If you feel any strain in your neck or your chin is higher than your forehead, roll a small washcloth or hand towel and put it beneath your head with a little extra padding to support the curve of your neck.
- Rest your arms along your sides with your palms facing up — keep adjusting your arms until you find a place where the backs of your palms can easily rest on the floor.
- Close your eyes and deepen your breathing.
- Bring your attention to your low belly/low back/hip flexor area. Notice any tightness or tension in this area and encourage release.
- Rest like this for 10 minutes…
Check out our Post-Endurance Reset blog from the summer for more of our fave recovery moves.