In an exclusive class conducted by Pure Yoga, Run Singapore readers learnt first-hand about how yoga can complement a runner’s routine.
The hour-long yoga session was designed for people who spend a lot of time running, and with endurance sports in mind. The specialised class focused on strengthening weak areas that may not always be activated while running, such as the core and upper body, whilst restoring flexibility to areas like the lower back.
During the warm up, Pure Yoga teacher, Anya, eased everyone into the poses gradually while explaining the benefits of each pose. She emphasised that the Yoga For Runner class is tailored especially for runners, stretching areas that are usually tight, including the hamstrings, IT band and hips.
Anya made sure poses were manageable and concentrated on stretching exercises that runners would normally not think of attempting. The poses were not difficult, but the stretches that the poses delivered were quite eye-opening, as they loosened up the tighter areas of our bodies.
A consistent yoga practice that complements your running programme, will surely benefit you in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, stamina and all-round flexibility.
Here are some of the stretches that were done in the class. These stretches will help to ease your tight muscles and are especially helpful for long distance runners. Please take note that if you have an injury, do not continue to work on these poses. These poses may make you uncomfortable, but pain should not be felt.
Kneel down, knees feet together if possible.
If you already start feeling the stretch in the ankles (in front), Option 1 is to stay in that position. Option 2, if you feel nothing in that area, start lifting knees off the mat/floor as high as you need to start feeling the stretch in the front ankles.
Hold for 1.5 minutes.
Legs Up the Wall- For tired legs and lower back. Could be done at the end of the stretching session or by itself at any time.
Find the place on the wall. Sit with one of your hips close to the wall. As you swivel around, lie down on your back and lift the legs up against the wall. Please make sure that your hips are touching the wall while you are relaxing your legs up the wall. Remember – knees soft, legs relaxed in that shape. Arms over the head or by your sides.
Hold for 2-5 minutes.
Runners’ Lunge- For hip flexors
From downward dog with feet apart hip distance, step forward with your right foot in between your hands. Bend your right leg while keeping the left straight. Make sure that your right knee is in line with the right heel. Hips are square and feet remain parallel. Use 2 blocks on each side of your right foot to support the stretch.
Keep pressing your hips down towards the floor, maintaining your back leg as straight as you can and the other leg bent. Press with hands on the blocks to sink hips down more as you lengthen through your torso/your sternum bone.
Change sides/legs. 2-3 minutes for each side.
Hamstrings Stretch- For tight hamstrings
Grab 2 yoga blocks (or a pile of books if you do not have blocks). Step one foot on one block and the other foot flat on the floor. Hip distance apart between feet. Bend forward at the hips, shifting the weight on the toes and trying to keep both legs as straight as possible. Back and neck is relaxed. You can use the second block to put your hands on it in front of you.
Hold for 2-3 minutes.
RUN Singapore and Pure Fitness are holding a Roller Release workshop for runners next! Register here