8 yoga moves for time-pressed runners

In an ideal world, runners would balance their bodies and minds by practising rejuvenating, rebalancing yoga for at least an hour twice a week, says physiotherapist and yoga instructor Diana Zotos. For most of us, who are forced to live in the real world, that is almost certainly not possible – let’s face it, it’s a major struggle some weeks even to fit in enough decent training runs. However, any asanas (that is, poses – if you’re going to learn yoga, you may as well learn the lingo) you can squeeze into your schedule can improve your running performance, reduce your injury risk, relieve stress and increase mindfulness. Practise this post-run routine (or as much of it as you have time for) from Ann Mazur to help release tension in your hips, quads, hamstrings and other areas that are often tight in runners.


IF YOU HAVE JUST A FEW MINUTES, DO...

1/ Pigeon pose

 

Bend your left leg and drop the knee to your left. Then, extend your right leg behind you. Press your right hip towards the mat. Inhale, then exhale as you walk your palms as far forward as is comfortable. Hold for at least 45 seconds. Repeat on the right leg


IF YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES, ADD...

2/ High lunge quad stretch

 

From a standing position, step your left foot back to come into a high lunge. Then exhale, gently bending your back leg until you feel a quad stretch. Inhale to lift back to the start. Raise and lower three or four times. Repeat on the other leg.

3/ Revolved low lunge

 

Start in a lunge with your right knee forward and your left knee and foot on the floor. Bring your hands into a prayer position, then cross your left elbow across your right knee for a twist. Hold for three to seven breaths, then repeat on the other side.

4/ Lizard pose

 

From a low lunge with your left knee forward, place your palms on your mat. Turn your left foot out to a 45-degree angle, then roll it onto its outside edge. Press gently on your left inner quad. Hold for three to seven breaths. Repeat on the other side.


IF YOU HAVE 20-30 MINUTES, ADD...

5/ Double pigeon

 

From pigeon pose, bring your right leg to the front, stacking your right shin on top of your left. (Use a blanket or block if there is a big gap between your right knee and left leg.) Inhale, then exhale and fold forward. Hold for one to two minutes, then swap sides.

6/ Bound angle pose

 

Sit and press the soles of your feet together as best you can. Now grab your feet, inhale and fold forward as you exhale, bringing your head towards your feet. Hold for one to two minutes. (For a less intense version, place blocks or blankets under your knees for support.)

7/ Bridge pose

 

Lie on your back, feet flat on the floor. Roll up from the bottom of your spine until your hips are lifted. Tuck your shoulder blades to clasp your hands under your body. Press into your heels to send your hips up and round your chest towards your chin. Hold for three to seven breaths.

8/ Legs up the wall

 

Sit sideways next to a wall, then swivel your legs up the wall while keeping your torso on the floor. Keep your legs straight. Tuck your shoulder blades under your back and allow your arms to relax at your sides or rest on your stomach. Hold this relaxing position for at least five minutes.