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Yoga is often touted as a workout routine for those who like to take it slow. With fluid movements that are performed in sync to one’s breathing, some methods of practice can certainly be good for those who like to meditate and relax. However, as something that has been around for centuries, yoga has developed into more than a set of meditative movements.
Yoga is an excellent way to build strength and stability throughout your body. By holding particular poses, you can target each region of the body for a complete workout while controlled breathing helps you to be better in tune with how your body reacts to certain movements.
Even those who generally focus on cardiovascular workouts, like runners, can greatly benefit from taking up yoga. You might be surprised to learn that you can burn a fair few calories during a yoga practice while at the same time improving your strength, mobility, and stability. The movements that you perform, combined with deep breathing, increases circulation. By wearing compression yoga pants during your session, you can promote a great deal of blood flow throughout your body.
Whether you are looking to ramp up your stretching routine, or if you are interested in taking up a true yoga practice in order to aid in recovery and to make you an overall better runner, here are a few yoga poses that you can try out.
One of the most well-known yoga poses is that of downward facing dog. To achieve this pose, start in a high plank position. Then, push your hips up high so as to create an upside-down “V” shape with your body. By lengthening the legs and pushing your heels into the floor, you can enjoy a deep hamstring stretch. Make sure to push through your shoulders as well to help stretch out and open up your back.
The counter-pose to downward dog is referred to as upward facing dog. You can choose to flow into this pose from your downward dog or begin again in a high plank. Tuck your toes under and bring your hips almost to the floor, keeping your arms fully locked out. You might choose to glance upwards as you enjoy this deep abdominal stretch.
One pose that is particularly good for targeting one’s lower back is the child’s pose. Begin in a tabletop position. Your arms should be stacked under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Then, sit back onto your feet with your arms extended out in front. Your forehead should naturally come to the floor. You can take this pose to the left or the right to target both sides of your back individually.
If you are looking to target your hips, the reclining pigeon is a great post to try. While lying on your back, bring your knees to your chest. Cross your left leg over your right so that your left ankle is resting on your right thigh, and then link your hands around your right thigh or calf to gently bring your legs closer to your chest.
If you want to strengthen your legs, stand your feet apart, ideally hip-width, raise your arms and reach up right through to your fingertips. Then, at the same time as exhaling, lower yourself down as if you were sitting on a chair (just don’t forget there isn’t actually a chair). Shift your weight onto your heels and up through the spine and then lift yourself back up into the start position. Repeat for the best results.