Friday: The Running Yogi Edition

Now that I'm starting to push the "pushing it" territory of my half marathon training, my body is really starting to pitch a fit. With no rhyme or reason either, it seems. This week's long run in the training plan I'm following is seven miles, which I managed last night, but let's not forget about how awful I felt on Tuesday when I attempted a measly four miles and had to call it quits at two. Running is weird, guys.

But one of the reasons I even wanted to take up running was because it's obviously a great way to stay fit {HAH it's really hard to feel "fit" when every joint in the lower half of your body is mocking you, but it's all part of things sometimes} that doesn't have to cost me the price of a monthly gym membership that I won't use. I'm sorry, I just won't. I've been down that road before and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with weight training in a gym, it's just not for me. I prefer a bit of a more natural approach I suppose. Running was intended to be a nice complement to my years-old yoga practice.

If you've been around here for a while you probably know by now that I'm a yogi. And if I haven't talked to you personally about her yet, consider this your recommendation to get to know Erin Motz, the #badyogi who keeps me moving every morning and who makes yoga accessible to everyone, at every level. I'm a bit of a fan girl — and I get to see her in two months! Anyway, moving on, I got off topic, surprise surprise.

So anyway, for me, running and yoga have gotten along famously, as I do my cross training with pure body weight and get deep into muscles I didn't even know existed before. And after some runs, there is absolutely no better way to soothe my body and recover from owning it #likeaboss on the road than with a couple of key yoga postures. Here are my favorite asanas* for a post-run deep stretch, but you can do these any time.
Please excuse the photo quality — I'm poor and don't have a DSLR so these all came from the ol' Macbook.

Inversion 
My favorite is a headstand because it doubles as a core workout and helps me really clear my mind. But Legs up the wall is a great way to spend 15 minutes pre/post-run when I want to kill birds with stones and I settle into the pose with a book. {Don't try to make sense of things I do.} I'm also a big fan of shoulder stand and the related plow pose, and apparently did them all the time as a kid before I even knew what yoga was, just because I was flexible and weird and the postures felt good. I know, I'm insane.
Yep, boobs right in the face.
Bringing your legs up over your heart offers a gentle hamstring stretch and helps to calm angry muscles as you release the blood flow from tired legs.

Ah, down dog, the butt {heh, no pun intended but kinda intended a little bit} of many a non-yogi's joke about doing butt stuff, the apple of many a straight boy's eye, and one of my absolute favorite yoga postures at any time. Done right, this pose gives a good stretch to the shoulders, low back, hamstrings, and calves. A runner knows the importance of stretching that calf all the way through the Achilles' tendon too, and this pose helps you do that safely and slowly. Variations on this pose can help you really open up those hips as well as work the core.

Seated Figure Four Pose
Over the past five or six weeks my right hip has been extremely vocal every time I go out for a run. My hip alignment isn't perfect, says Dr. Dreamy {my chiropractor, duh} and we're working on it but I notice a significant reduction in the  hatred my hip feels for me when I open up my hips before and after a run. You can also do this posture standing up, but after a run I prefer to do it from a seated position. The deeper you go into this stretch the more you'll feel it in your hip which is a good thing, as long as you don't cross the boundary into actual pain.

I love pigeon pose for getting deep into the hip joint while also working the lower back and hamstring of the extended leg. When I go into pigeon, I tend to hold upright for a few breaths and then come down onto forearms and bow my head for a good minute or so, sinking deep into the stretch and beginning to really let go.

And speaking of letting go, there's really no better pose for that than child pose. Whether I extend my arms out ahead of me, lengthening my spine and feeling a stretch through the arms and shoulders, or tuck my hands behind the feet until I'm in a perfect little egg shape, this pose helps me come back to center after an intense run and deep stretch. Since I'm a totally normal person who gets shoulder pain while running {??}, this pose helps to calm that and is just a nice restorative posture for the end of a practice. And since I tend to run in the evenings, holding child pose for a couple of minutes helps me transition out of my day and into my night and get ready for a refreshing sleep.

Hey other runners, and other yogis, I'd love to hear your favorite postures or best stretches for after a run!

*Before we forget the disclaimer: I am not a licensed yoga instructor and this shouldn't be construed as professional advice. I've been practicing yoga for years and these are just the poses that I like best for post-run. Please never exceed your comfort level and be sure to take all necessary precautions when beginning a yoga practice! Disclaimer #2: I'm not just trying to be sassy with that wardrobe. You'd typically wear more clothing than this in a practice and definitely to a studio class, but my apartment is a sauna and pants are not an option in August.

And that's gonna do it for me around here this week. I'm super pumped to visit my cousin over the weekend and indulge in some live music, good crowds, and the best corn on the cob ever. But more about that on Monday. What are you up to this weekend?

{ Linking up all over town this Friday || Amanda | Sarah | Lauren }

Comments

  1. i love yoga as well. i've also started up with pilates again which i love too. it's too bad that the yoga studios around me charge ridiculous prices for classes (like $20/class!) and for some reason, everyone is into hot yoga when all i really want is power yoga (ashtanga) in regular temperatures :(

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  2. Great post, Alyssa! I can't believe how many of my runner friends don't do yoga. I'm like, how do you live?! My outer hips are always right and achy and nothing helps like seated four figure. Hurts so good ;)

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  3. I'm so bad at yoga - I can never center or quiet myself long enough to fully embrace the pose!! I'm pretty much only good at child's pose lol! You're so good at it though!

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  4. oooh you get to see her? how exciting!
    downward dog is really good-hard for me, it's the one I really feel working. Also I am pretty sure other than that, out of all these poses, I could maybe do the legs up on the wall and that's it. Maybe one day ;)
    Pigeon pose is the one that gives me knee trouble. ok, not trouble, and it doesn't hurt it just makes my knee say 'why are you doing this? do you want to dislocate me again?' but i think its because i never ever do anything to stress out my knee because i'm scared of dislocating it again, and hopefully yoga is helping it because it really does feel like its getting better. have a great weekend girlfrannn!

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  5. Pigeon Pose is my jam!!! tight hip flexors will be the death of me.

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  6. Love this! I just started yoga a few months ago and really WHERE has pigeon pose been all my life??

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  7. Teach me your headstanding ways. Immediately. Gah I miss yoga. And running. Wow, I've been a lazy sack of poop lately. Can I blame it on major life changes? Probably not XD.

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  8. bahahahahah I really love your disclaimer # 2

    Amazing girl! Such a great resource!!!

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  9. I'm a new runner, but I've never gotten into yoga. But, I'm thinking it may be time to give it a whirl.

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  10. Seated 4 I do to stretch out already. Pigeon pose is awesome. I need to stop slacking and start doing yoga regularly.

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  11. I want to be that flexible!!! Damn youuuuuu haha. Seriously I stared at these pics and now I will go back to that yoga class I've been ducking for weeks. Wish me luck!

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  12. I am so glad I didn't miss this post! Love it!! Your form is so good. Pigeon pose is also supposed to be good for the libido, one of my yoga instructors said. Along with eagle pose. So I always throw those in during the 8 minutes of yoga my kids let me do each day :)

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