I know many runners, including myself, who suffer from tight hamstrings, glutes, claves…..I could go on, but generally, the muscles around the hips and the legs. Running and other repetitive forms of exercise can cause muscles to become short and strong and often referring pain to other areas of the body such as the lower back and knees.
Performing the following yoga asanas regularly will lengthen short, strong muscles and draw your awareness to any muscle and joint imbalances, which have developed.
Performing Sun Salutations is a great way to lengthen and mobilise the entire body. (see Morning Energiser post)
Hold in downward facing dog and walk through the feet. This can help alleviate sore feet.
Keep one knee bent and drop the hip. Gently ease the opposite heel to the floor. This will lengthen the hamstrings, calves and the muscles around the hips. Repeat on the opposite side.
From downward facing dog, step the foot through towards the hands. Drop the back knee to the floor and flatten the back foot. Gently lower the hip towards the floor. Gently tilt the tailbone under to prevent over arching the lower back.
|The front of the foot should be placed flat on the floor and not flexed as is shown in the picture.
|This will lengthen the hip flexors.
Repeat on the opposite side.
From downward facing dog, step one foot forward. Flex the front knee and slightly externally rotate at the hip joint so that the outside of the leg is resting on the floor.
Gently lower upper body to the floor, resting on the forearms or lying flat. Hold for a few breaths and then change the angle of the stretch by moving the upper body clockwise and anti clockwise. Holding for a few breaths each time.
Raise upper body. If flexibility in the hip flexor and quadriceps allow, flex at the knee and hold the foot. This will lengthen the hip flexors and quadriceps (front of the thigh).
If you cannot reach your foot, assist by placing a band around your foot and gently drawing it in towards the bottom. If any pulling in the knee is experienced, leave the foot on the floor. Gently tilt the tailbone under to prevent hyperextending the lower back.
End your running sessions with this series of asanas (yoga postures) to help lengthen short muscles.