I’m bad about stretching after running. That might seem strange to some of you considering the amount of Yoga I do, but my home practice of Yoga isn’t always about stretching. I’m usually working on balancing postures (Dancer’s Pose), strengthening poses (various arm balances) or core work,or all of the above.
I do, however always seem to gravitate toward a few poses and stretches post run that just feel good after pounding the pavement or skipping over rocks and tree stumps. It is by no means a routine, just goofy looking poses that I do in a parking lot to embarrass my running buddies- actually they are usually doing them right next to me.
So this week, I have decided to put myself through a little Stretching Challenge, if you will. I will perform a stretching routine each day of at least 10 minutes. If it is on a day that I am running, I will do the stretching sequence post run. If it is a day I am not running, I will do it at some point throughout my day. Easy as that, right?!
Here are some great stretches for the hot spots that we runners tend to get. It is in the order that I do them, but feel free to change it up, add or omit any postures.
Frog Pose: This is usually the first pose I do after a run, especially a big run. It feels so good on my hips. I use my elbows to press my knees back too to get to my inner thighs. It also tends to help me gauge the creakiness of my knees an ankles. *Check out Stella looking for rabbits in the front yard.
Forward Fold: This is another one that feels so so good to my hamstrings and lower back. I really bend my knees a lot in this pose to stretch out my lower back. Just let your neck hang too.
Forward Fold with a Twist: From my forward fold, I walk my feet about hip width apart and place one palm on the ground (bend your knees as much as you need to) and then I reach the other hand up to the sky twisting at my torso. I also try to let my gaze follow my hand up. Repeat this on each side.
Pyramid Pose: From my bend with a twist, I stand back up to Mountain Pose and get myself into Pyramid Pose. Now, when I’m first getting into this posture, I have both hands on the ground on each side of my foot because I usually don’t have good enough balance quite yet. Once I feel stable in the posture, then I advance it to placing both hands at my shin or ankle. Alignment check- both of my toes are pointing forward and my back heel is on the ground. This really gets after that front leg’s hamstring – Yowsa!
Triangle Pose: This one I have a love/hate relationship with. This is the pose that tells me when I have pushed my hip too far (during the run or training) and will scream at me. I have a tendency to sink in my hips during this pose. I know this because during class, the instructor will always pull me up by my raised arm and help me to think about the oppositions at work in this pose. Alignment check- front toe is forward, back toe is now at a 45 degree angle. This pose can be modified by using a block or something to support your hand at the bottom.
Runner’s Lunge or Kneeling Crescent to King Pigeon Pose: I like to start in a kneeling crescent, to warm up my hips first and then will attempt to pick up that back foot (depending how tight my quads are). Repeat on each side. I like to push back into a downward facing dog position to help me transition into the next pose.
Pigeon or Sleeping Pigeon: From down dog, I will position myself into pigeon and work on opening up that hip. Once I feel I can go a little deeper into that stretch, I will go onto my forearms or all the way down for Sleeping Pigeon. Lots of modifications for this one.
One Leg Seated Forward Bend: Keeping just a slight bend in the knee, go ahead and fold over onto your knees. Yep, that’s about as far as this girl can go. So sad.
Happy Baby: I don’t recommend doing this in the middle of the gym or a parking lot, although me, Mary and Alyssa may have at one time or another sprawled ourselves out in the middle the parking lot at Table Mesa doing our embarrassing poses (this one included). Happy Baby just feels so so good on my back after running, after stretching, watching tv, whenevs! Lay on your back, lift your feet up, bend your knees as much as you would like, grab those feet and pull down. Your back will thank you.
And there you have it folks, my post-run Yoga Stretching Sequence.
What stretches do you like to do? If you don’t usually stretch post run want to join me in this little challenge for the week??