Continuing with the Yoga for Runners series, this time we have a video blog on two things we runners on mass levels ignore the most – working on the upper body and our foot balance (I covered it last week with the tree pose).
The reason I chose to demonstrate this set of exercises is that as a runner, I realized, I am doing a lot of leg work even when I am not running. Most of my strength and yoga practice is for making my legs stronger as a result I am overusing the lower body muscles running or no running. But it was last Saturday, during a long run at the hilly Gurgaon Faridabad Express (GFR) my shoulders started aching and I wanted to stop midway to give them a nice stretch! My foot balance becomes a matter of concern especially when I run uneven trails.
So I came back running to my Yoga master, Ritu, looking for a basic solution! And here you go with some of beginners’ level workout for us runners.
PS – Watch the Video (In End) to see how to get into the poses along with the right breathing technique . Practice with caution and work gently without causing any pain. Initially when you start practicing, these poses help to relax the upper body and gradually with repetitions they help to strengthen the upper body. And there is no denying that this has to go on for weeks and not one single session for you to feel the results.
- Triangle pose ( Trikoasana asana)
Running is all about backward and forward movement! So here this is – a stretch that works wonderfully to stretch the side body given all the forward and backward movement that running puts us through! Do it on both sides and do 3-5 repetitions. Inhale as you raise your arm and slowly exhale as your arm goes down. The first noticeable thing about this asana is that is gives me increased flexibility in my torso. I feel stronger in my highly ignored lower back and more agile in my hand movement while running.
- Half spinal twist (Ardha Matsyendrāsana)
This is one of those asanas that you have to really get into the action to believe the nice stretch it brings in to a stiff runner body. It relaxes the shoulder, neck, back and also the hips. Almost feels like a massage. It hugely increases the elasticity of the spine. As you make the twist while keeping your chest open and avoiding bending forward, that’s when it increases the oxygen supply to the lungs. Always and always remember to work on your breathing, while in the pose. Breathe normally and hold this posture for 20 to 30 seconds. After practicing you can hold this posture for 3 to 5 minutes. Don’t forget to repeat the posture on the opposite side too.
- Bhujang asana (Cobra Pose)
I credit this asana for taking away the stiffness and figue gained from long hours of running. Apart from being a mood elevator and helping lower stress levels, it relieves pressure from the back and opens up the shoulders – It stretches muscles in the shoulders, chest and abdominal region. Remember to inhale nice and proper as you push the chest forward. It also opens the chest and strengthens the spine. Hold here for 5 to 10 breaths. As you exhale, gently release your body back to the floor. Keep your belly on the ground and your arms bent. Pull or squeeze your shoulder blades together. Shoulders stay soft.
I feel extremely bright after doing this pose.
- Tree pose (Vrikksaasana)
Read in detail about this here.
This one is about the foot balance. Many of us, runners, hardly even think about working on balance till we have to run that one uneven trail. The tree pose stretches the upper body in a gentle mild way. Remember to plant all 4 sides of the foot nice and proper into the ground.
Written by Tanya Agarwal for Wellthy.Fit
(Practicing Yoga since 2010)
All inputs by Ritu Govil
(Yoga Acharya from the Shivananda Tradition)