With the warmer weather and longer days, summer is a popular time to put your running shoes back on. The sweet smell in the air and warm sun on your skin draws you outdoors, and with the endorphin kick you get from running, it’s easy to push your body further than what it’s ready for. However, by adding in a few yoga poses, you can support your body and prevent injuries to help you go that extra mile. Yoga helps to prevent injuries by addressing the muscular imbalances created by running and increasing both strength and flexibility.
While in the poses, stay focused on your breath and observe your body’s sensations. This helps to build your awareness, which is also key to preventing injuries. The more you can tune into your body, the better you’ll be able to know what your body needs before, during, and after a run to stay healthy and safe.
Incorporate the yoga poses below to keep you running throughout the summer.
Downward facing dog
Benefits: Stretches hamstrings, calves, and back muscles.
Start on hands and knees. Hug your arms into the shoulders and push the floor away with your hands. Lean back, tuck your toes and lift your hips to make an upside-down V shape. Bend your knees to bring your belly close to your thighs. Be still or pedal out your feet. Take 5-7 breaths.
Benefits: Increases balance, stretches hip flexors and quads
From downward dog, step your right foot between your hands and drop your left knee down. Lift your torso to place your hands on your right knee. Take 5 breaths. Then put your right hand on the ground. Draw your left foot towards your butt and hold your foot with your left hand or use a strap if you can’t reach. Take 5 breaths. Then step back to downward dog to switch sides.
Benefits: Strengthens the back side of the body and lengthens the front side
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width distance apart. Lift your hips and spine off the ground. Try not to overly engage your upper glutes. Take 5-7 breaths.
Supine Figure 4
Benefits: Stretches the hips, releases tension in the low back
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet hip-width distance apart. Place your right ankle on your left knee and flex your right foot. Draw your right knee to your chest, and hold onto the back of your thigh or shin. Relax your neck (place a pillow under your head if it’s off the ground). Take 5-7 breaths and switch sides.
Benefits: Releases tension along the spine, stretches the outer hip, relaxes the body and calms the mind
Lie on your back. Bend your knees toward your chest and lower them to the floor on your left. Extend your right arm on the floor and look to the right. Rest your head on the ground and relax your neck and back. Take 10 deep breaths and switch sides.
Dana Diament is a yoga teacher and teacher trainer who is passionate about blending Eastern and Western perspectives. She is 500-hour certified with Yoga Medicine and travels across the globe to lead 200-hour Yoga Medicine teacher trainings with Tiffany Cruikshank. She is also an anatomy lecturer for the Creature Yoga 200-hour teacher training program in Byron Bay, Australia, where she lives. Dana writes about yoga, meditation, health and anatomy in addition to leading workshops, group classes, and therapeutic privates. You can find her on instagram @danadiament and www.danadiament.com.