Stretch into Spring!

By 6 April 2016News
Yoga pose on the pavement

Did you miss our Runners’ Workshop last weekend?

Maybe you just need a little bit more of a strettttch… Today as we are blowing the dust off our trainers ahead of summer (we defy you, rain!) we have been looking at some of the best postures for those post exercise cool-downs. If you’re anything like us, the journey from hibernation to international athlete is sure going to need a little yoga! Strengthen, improve your flexibility and prevent injury, huzzah!

Warriors (Virabhadrasana)

Work on getting down low into Warriors I and II in order to alleviate tight hips whilst stretching the thighs and glutes. Then transition into Warrior III to lengthen running muscles, strengthen ankles and core and improve balance and posture. And don’t forget to channel your inner Warrior vibes!

Forward Standing Bend (Uttanasana)

Stretch the hamstrings and straighten the spine. Take hold of either elbow and rotate from side to side to release out of the hips and lower back.

If you are warmed up you can take all 10 fingers behind the backs of the heels and bring your forehead to your knees and belly to your thighs; use the inhalation to pull and exhalation to relax the upper body down.

Pyramid Pose (Parsvottanasana)

Strengthen and lengthen the legs. Step one foot back about 1m (front foot facing forward and back foot 45 degrees), inhale and lean forward with the straight spine. Interlace the fingers behind the back or bring them together in reverse prayer as we all do in FG! Little mico-mm adjustments to keep on lengthening.

Garland Pose/Squat (Malasana)

Free up the front and back torso and stretch out the groin and ankles. Keep your feet as close together as possible then as you exhale lean forward and press your elbows lightly against the inside of your knees.

From here, you can always take it FG style into Crow to work on your balance, focus and confidence!

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

…And breathe… Although this foundation posture can sometimes be a challenge on tired muscles, the yoga favourite Downward Dog is immensely restorative. It’s great for stretching the entire length of the spine and legs. Pull in the belly to simultaneously strengthen the core.

Cobblers’ Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Opening up the groin, hips and inner thighs. With every exhalation take the body a little further forward to release tension in the back.

Seated Wide Angle Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)

Similar to Cobblers’ but with your legs straight out, this is a great stretch for the hamstrings and calves. Maintain a straight spine and with every inhalation lengthen up and pull in the belly to keep your front and back core engaged. With every exhalation continue to deepen until you comfortably reach the maximum point of your stretch.

Reclining Pigeon (Sucirandhrasana)

Stretches thighs, groin, hips, psoas and IT band. Deeply stretches glutes preventing sciatica. Increases circulation into these areas and stimulates abdominal organs.

Top tip: Relax into this as much as you can and breathe: your body will respond best to the stretch and allow you to open more deeply

Cow-Face Fold (Gomukhasana)

This can be a little tricky to get at first but it is an absolute winner in getting into those deep hip muscles. It works into the IT band and the piriformis, a hard-to-reach muscle in the glutes which gets tighter with exercise such as running. If one or both hips start to come up off the ground you can always use a block. Too much? Stick with Half Cow Face and breathe!

Spine Twist: Half Lord of the Fishes Twist (Ardha Matseyendrasana)

After a long run, twisting that spine can feel incredible! A healthy spine will help with your posture and mobility whilst running. Maximise the benefits by focussing on twisting through the belly rather than just the neck.

You can learn more about these postures in our series of inter-connected classes here and you can also book in online.

Enjoy!