Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Yoga for Runners Mini Workshop 1

Hello!  And welcome to our very first "Yoga for Runners" mini workshop!!!

The following sequence includes postures that focus on building stability and core strength, opening the chest and shoulders to expand the breath, and stretching the major muscles used in running.  Done in a flow the sequence takes about 10 minutes.  If you're new to yoga I encourage you to spend a bit of time exploring each pose, getting to know your body and familiarising yourself with your breath.  Start by holding each pose for 5-8 breaths.  

See the links to the individual poses for instructions and contraindications.  

There is a link to the sequence video at the end of this break down.

If you have questions or queries, if you have trouble with a pose and need extra guidance or advice on how to modify it, or if you have an injury, contact me and I will help you out.

And, as always, be kind to yourself

* * *

We begin in Extended Child's Pose (Balasana) with wide knees.  Take some time here to explore the pose and connect to the breath. 

When you're ready come into a table top position for a few rounds of Cat/ Cow.  These poses are done together, on the breath, inhaling as you open the chest in Cow Pose (Bitilasana), and exhaling as you drop the head and round the spine in Cat Pose (Marjaryasana)

After 5 or 6 rounds we can start to add a leg lift and tuck, lifting the leg on the inhale, and tucking knee to nose on the exhale.

Do 3 or 4 rounds with the leg lift and tuck, and then extend the leg and the opposite arm and hold for a few breaths.  This is a nice exercise to build stability in the core.  If you struggle with maintaing balance here, keep your toe and/or fingertips resting gently on the mat until you build strength and your balance improves.

Return to table top position, and then repeat on the other side.

Drop your bottom onto you heels, bring the arms to your sides, and take a few breaths in Child's Pose.

* * *

When you're ready, return to the table top position.  We will repeat a series of Cat/Cow with the leg lift and tuck this time adding a step through to a lunge.   Inhale and lift, exhale and tuck, inhale and lift, exhale and step through.

As you step through, take some time to check your alignment.  You want to make sure your ankle is resting below the knee.  You can hold the Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana) with you hands on your mat or your knee, or you can raise you hands overhead, looking towards the fingertips if it's comfortable.

Bringing your hands back to the mat we will add a twist to the lunge.  Keep the opposite hand to the front leg on the mat, and raise the other hand towards the sky so you are twisting your chest towards your knee.

To deepen the stretch bend the back leg and reach the top hand back towards your foot.

Release the hold, extend the back leg, return both hands to the mat, drop your bottom down and come to rest for a few breaths in Child's Pose.

From Extended Child's Pose start to walk the hands forward to come into Puppy Pose (Uttana Shishosana).

Return to Child's Pose with the hands by your sides.

Take hold of your heels and lift your hips up to come into Rabbit Pose (Sasakasana).

Release, return to the table top position and repeat on the other side.

* * *

Next we repeat the sequence but we add a Runners Stretch.

Start in the table top position and do few rounds of Cat/Cow with the leg lift.

On an exhale step forward coming into a Low Lunge.  Take the hands above the head and look up if it's comfortable.

Release the hands to the floor and then twist your chest towards the knee extending the top arm.

Reach back towards the extended leg to intensify the stretch.

Release and bring your hands back to the mat in Low Lunge.

Tuck the back toes under move your hips back towards the heel to straighten the front leg, flexing your foot so the toes extend skywards.

Return to table top, and repeat the Extended Child's Pose - Puppy Pose - Child's Pose - Rabbit Pose sequence.

Take a few breaths here in Child's Pose.

* * *

Bring the arms forward in Extended Child's Pose to line yourself up for Downward facing Dog (Adho Mukha Shvanasana).  Tuck the toes and lift the hips keeping your knees bent to start with.  Straighten one leg and then the other, exploring the pose.

Spend a few breaths in Downward Dog and then shift your weight forward to come into a High Plank (Adho Mukha Dandasana).  Plank Pose is great for core strength.  Stay in the pose for a few breaths working your way up to holding it for a minute at a time.  Lift the hips back into Downward facing Dog for a rest, and repeat the Plank Pose.

After a few repetitions of Plank Pose walk the legs forward to come into a Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana).  

Hold the Forward Fold for a few breaths and then on an inhale take the hands above the head in Upward Salute (Urdvha Hastasana).

On an exhale, come into Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

Inhale, Upward Salute.

Exhale, bring the hands to heart center.

Turn the toes out towards the corners of you mat and come into Garland Pose (Malasana).

Hold the pose for a few breaths and then come to sit and then lie on your mat.  Take your feet apart so they are at the width of the mat and windmill your knees from one side to the other a few times before coming to hold a Reclined Twist. Drop your knees to one side, extend the arms out and your shoulders, and look over the opposite shoulder.  Repeat on the other side, windmilling you legs from side to side a few times before coming to a Reclined Twist on the other side.

Extend the legs, return your arms to your sides, and take a few breaths in Corpse Pose, (Savasana).

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