In running and in life, taking time to recover is just as important and equally as productive as everything else that you do. For those times when you don’t have much energy for post-workout stretching, enlist your best friend for recovery: the wall.
By giving your tired muscles the support they need with yoga for runners, you can much more effectively stretch — rather than strain — stiff hips and hamstrings. In addition, inverting your legs (aka to put them upside down), further boosts recovery by draining and recirculating any excess fluid, relaxing the feet and lower back, and helping to reduce any lingering tension in your system.
Hold each pose for 10 or more deep breaths.
#1 Forward Fold at the Wall
1. Step a foot or two away from the wall, keeping your knees bent and your feet about hip’s width apart.
2. Fold forward and walk your hands down your legs.
3. Lean your butt back into the wall; if it feels hard or like you can’t lean back, bring your feet a bit further away from the wall.
4. Rest your hands on your shins or the floor.
5. Drop your head and relax your neck.
#2 Crossed-Leg Forward Fold at the Wall
1. From your Forward Fold at the Wall, cross your right leg over your left, without locking either of your knees.
2. Keep your feet flexed and your ankles engaged.
#3 Figure Four at the Wall
1. Lie on your back and put your feet flat on the wall so that your knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. If your back feels uncomfortable, move a bit farther away from the wall.
2. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, keeping the foot flexed.
3. Bring your hands onto your waist and make sure the space between your ribs and hips is even. If not, slide your left foot further up the wall, or back up until you can make the space even.
4. Rest your arms along your sides.
#4 Butterfly at the Wall
1. Bring the soles of your feet together so that the outside edges of your feet are resting against the wall.
2. Scoot as close/far away from the wall as needed so that your knees and back feel comfortable.
3. Rest your arms along your sides.
#5 Legs Up the Wall
1. Lie down and extend your legs up the wall.
2. Get your butt as close to the wall as possible, while keeping it on the floor.
3. Keep your knees bent a little and turn your feet away from each other slightly — if you feel any tension in your thighs, move further from the wall.
4. Rest your arms along your sides with your palms facing up.
5. Stay and relax for five or more minutes.
[Cover Photo by Hernan Pinera – CC BY]
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