The spring running season is moments away! We can feel the blush of spring occasionally. We leave one layer at home for our daily run as the heat of the sun brushes a bit warmer against our cheekbones.
Spring races are scheduled and training plans are well underway for the NYC Half and Brooklyn Half Marathons. It’s a good time to look at how yoga can support our running by building mental and physical strength and flexibility.
Here are the five all-around, good-for-the-running body, bang-for-the-buck poses that have kept my body flexible and strong while training:
Opposite Arm/Opposite Leg Balance: Helps develop our sense of proprioception, or where your body is in space. It’s a great place to explore how hard our limbs work in relation to the core/spine and vice versa.
Try this for a stronger feedback loop of where your body is in space: place a rolled up yoga strap on your low back, then lift the arm and leg up without letting the strap list to one side or fall off.
Plank: Perhaps the hardest working pose in all of yoga, plank is great for your core, arms, mental focus – and most other things we can think of. Just do your planks.
Parsvottoanasana/Intense Side Stretch: This pose builds on finding symmetry among asymmetry, like we did in opposite arm/leg balance. It opens our hamstrings and low back.
For some, it is a big stretch in the calf of the back leg. This is a great pose to train our legs to live in their sockets – a must if you’ve got hip flexor issues or go snap-crackle-pop in your hips.
Shalabasana/Locust Pose: It’s up there with plank in terms of effectiveness. You can work many of the same actions as plank, but using the resistance of the floor will fire the deep muscles along the spine.
Key tip: Make sure your knees don’t bend, but keep the muscles around your knees pinned taut and move the thighbones to the sky from the hips.
High Lunge: We’re back to asymmetry in lunge, which is a great stretch for the back hip and strengthener for the front hip. Place your back heel into the wall for resistance to further integrate that thighbone into the socket. Bonus: great for corralling wobbly ankles as well!