With fall races close on the horizon, now’s the time to get back onto your mat (okay, you don’t even need a mat) and do the little things that will help keep your bod in balance and optimize your running.
Whether you’ve been Hitting Reset — using yoga to sustain balance — or not over the summer, this set of fundamental poses targets some of the most common running imbalances. Think of each of them like a secret weapon to help you achieve your goals, because balance = winning (aka goal crushing).
Hit up at least one of these poses every day, whenever you have time to fit them in, or practice the set as a sequence. Remember, your body is engineered for balance — it wants to be there — so any small adjustment you make to remind yourself where that is will go a lonnnggggg way!
Note: This is not prenatal yoga (don't be fooled by my baby belly) however this set of poses is beneficial for pregnancy. Prior yoga experience recommended, hit me up on Twitter @jasyogaUK if you have questions!
Single Leg Balance
Why: Activates glutes and core, helps to align your stride
When: Pre-run or cross-training (or sneak it in while you’re brushing your teeth)
- Bring your feet hip's width apart and keep your knees bent slightly and bring your hands to your waist.
- Exhaling, engage your core as you draw your navel toward your spine (as if you’re cinching up your waist).
- Keep your core engaged as you lift your right knee up to waist-height, bending your knee to a 90-degree angle, while keeping your hips level (try not to side bend or lean back)
- Focus on pushing down strongly through your left foot and engaging the bottom portion of your left glute.
- Hold for 5–10 deep breaths.
Crossed Legs Side Bend
When: Pre- or post-run/recovery — as often as possible!
Why: “Unsticks” the chronically stiff and habitually neglected side body
- Bring your feet hip's width apart and keep your knees bent slightly.
- Turn your palms forward and reach your arms overhead.
- Cross your right arm in front of your left, bringing the backs of your palms together.
- Cross your right leg over your left, keeping your feet flexed and knees slightly bent.
- Bend your torso toward the left as you reach your crossed arms to the left — feel the bend coming from the middle of your rib cage aka the middle of your spine.
- Hold for 5–10 before switching sides.
Hammy Time Point & Flex aka Calf Pump
Why: Relieves stiff hammies, increases circulation and pliability through the calves/lower legs (your feet will also benefit!)
- Lie on your back.
- Extend your right leg toward the ceiling and interlace your fingers around your hamstrings, as if you’re making a hammock for that leg to rest into.
- Your arms should be straight, shoulders on the floor — bend your right knee as much as needed to make that happen.
- Bend your left knee and put your left foot on the floor, helping you to maintain a more neutral spine.
- Point your right foot.
- Flex your right foot.
- Continue for about 30 seconds.
Legs Up the Wall
When: post-run/recovery or before bed — make this part of your daily routine
Why: The most powerful pose for recovery — recirculates the blood and any excess fluid in the legs, relaxes the feet and low back, helps to reduce any lingering tension in your system
- Lie down and extend your legs up the wall.
- Get your butt as close to the wall as possible, while keeping it on the floor.
- Keep your knees bent a little and turn your feet away from each other slightly — if you feel any tension in your thighs, back further from the wall.
- Rest your arms along your sides with your palms facing up.
- Stay and relax for 5+ minutes.
Join us this fall for Jasyoga Into 26.2, a 5-week yoga plan to optimize your marathon (or any race) training. Subscribe at jasyoga.com/blog or jasyoga.co.uk/blog to get each week’s plan delivered to your inbox and share your journey to the start line with #jasyoga262…
Photos by Claire Pepper.