Running is therapy. It is a workout on its own! To be a good athlete/runner, one needs to have a good stamina, focus, good breathing, and really strong muscles. To achieve this, we instantly head to the gym and start our muscle training. You do the usual set of squats, lunges, planks and pushups to increase your muscle strength. Well, as appealing as it may sound I, however, took a different route – Yoga. The yoga poses I followed helped me achieve my strength and stamina. I proudly combine my running with yoga and believe in advocating the same.
Also interesting: How Yoga Helped Me Finish My First 10k Run .
The Five YOGA Poses That Helped Me Become a Better Runner
A five to ten-minute run reduces the risk of cholesterol by sixty percent. A twenty-minute run alters the DNA for the better. A thirty minutes workout helps fight weight loss and obesity. If you push through for sixty minutes, you not only TOTALLY ROCK, but also increase your metabolism five to six times for that day. Well, let me share the five yoga poses that helped me as a runner.
1. Sun Salutation/Suryanamaskar:
I cannot begin to list the number of benefits that this has. Suryanamaskar is an excellent workout for increasing stamina, core strength and enhances the breathing. One round consists of two repetitions first with the right leg and then with the left. Every repetition has thirteen steps. Start with exhalation on the first step and hold your breath on the fourth step, then continue with the alternation of exhalation and inhalation.Twice a week, I would focus only on yoga, starting with thirty rounds of suryanamskar and slowly moving up to sixty. Like any other exercise, it is imperative to stretch after finishing your rounds. I could increase my stamina to run the distance because of this.
2. Crow pose/Bakasana:
Even though this pose is for the core muscles and the arms, for me personally this asana is more about increasing your focus and strengthening your mind. While running, you need to push your limits and break those mental barriers. This is one of the yoga poses that helped me achieve all that. It helped me retain my focus and concentrate on my breathing while my mind wanted me to think about the fatigue building up. While doing this pose, pick a point and concentrate on it. Keep your breathing light and the asana will happen effortlessly.
3. Warrior pose/ Virabhadrasana:
There are a number of types of warrior pose but this is my favourite. It is perfect for stretching and works on the thigh and muscles. As you take the position, exhale slowly and bend backward. Retain the position for at least ten seconds in the beginning for each leg. Make sure you incorporate them in your post workout cool down exercises.
4. Alternate Leg Stretch/Pawanmuktasana:
This is one of the most relaxing yoga stretches out there. This asana helps the hamstring muscles and the gluteus maximus. After every run, I have done this stretch without fail. It has helped my sore muscles loosen up and prepare the body for another day’s workout and running. One of my favourite yoga poses!
5. Triangle pose/Padottanasana:
This is one of the best yoga poses to strengthen the hamstring muscles. For a person like me who has always had a weak hamstring, running can prove to be dangerous if not taken care of. An injury to this muscle and I can say goodbye to my dream of running a full marathon. Incorporating it in my daily cool down stretch has made my thighs stronger.
Incorporating yoga in my training has had more benefits than I can list. While running is an adrenaline booster, yoga is a pacifier. These two may be poles apart but work in total harmony to create something that has both strength and agility, both power and flexibility.
In the words of William Wordsworth, the confluence of yoga and running can be represented ‘in earth and heaven, in glade and bower, shall seek an overseeing power to kindle and restrain.’