With the weather cooling down for the fall, it’s marathon season for many. Training for a big run can be tough, but yoga provides the opportunity to crosstrain on important skills. If you’re looking to put feet to the pavement in the upcoming months, yoga can help you become a better runner, mile after mile. We talked to Kate Lombardo and Lindsay Monal, Yoga Directors at YogaRenew Teacher Training (yogarenewteachertraining.com), to learn how a regular yoga practice can help improve your running abilities, as well as which specific stretches will boost your runs.
Crescent Lunge (Anjaneyasana)
HOW TO DO IT:
- Starting in a tabletop position, step your right foot forward in between your hands.
- Align your knee over the ankle.
- Keep your hands down on the ground, or on blocks to start. Once you feel stable, you can bring your hands to the top of your right thigh or sweep your arms overhead
- As you inhale, lengthen up through your crown and as you exhale, allow your hips to release further to deepen the stretch.
WHY IT WORKS: This pose stretches the hip flexors, chest, ankles, and quadriceps. It also strengthens the hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps.
HOW TO DO IT:
- Begin in crescent lunge with the right foot forward
- Step the right foot out in front of you, rooting down through your heel with your toes pointing up
- Straighten the front right leg as much as you can while flexing your toes back toward your face
- Shift your weight back in your hips and breathe into the hamstrings, and calves
- Slide blocks under your hands, under your shoulders, for more stability here
- For a deeper stretch, begin to hinge forward from the hips, folding your torso over the extended front leg.
- Hold for several breaths. To release, shift your hips forward, and step your right foot back
WHY IT WORKS: This pose stretches the hips, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and spine.
Wide Leg Standing Forward Fold Pose (Prasarita Padattonasana)
HOW TO DO IT:
- Begin in standing tall, walk or jump your feet wide about 3 and a half feet to 5 feet apart. How wide your stance is will depend on your level and flexibility.
- Turn your toes in slightly
- Engage your core muscles to protect your lower back.
- Bring your hands to your hips and slowly begin to hinge forward into a fold down towards the mat. Allow the fold to come from your hips and not your torso or lower back.
- Keep your back straight as you fold down and keep the crown of your head lengthened.
- Allow your fingers to find either the floor beneath you, blocks, your ankles, shins, or toes.
- Engage your quad muscles and draw your kneecaps slightly up.
- Hold for several breaths. To release, place your hands on your hips and lift up slowly with a flat back.
WHY IT WORKS: This pose strengthens the ankles and lower back and stretches the hips, groin, hamstrings, calves, ankles, and spine.