By Sangeetha Saran
If you are an avid runner, a regular practice of Hatha Yoga will help prevent many of the most common running injuries by keeping your muscles and ligaments flexible and strong. Running is also a great complement to a Yoga practice. Running is very aerobic by nature and will partner well with the quieter, restorative nature of many Yoga poses. It is quite difficult to practice Yoga asanas in a flowing sequence that is performed with optimal alignment and is at a quick enough pace to raise your heart rate up to an aerobic level like running can do for an extended period of time. On the other hand, running even a mile or two at a moderate pace will ensure that most of us will receive the cardiovascular conditioning benefits of sustained aerobic exercise.
However, there are common injuries suffered by runners from the repetitive nature of the movement, especially if you run on a hard surface regularly such as concrete or asphalt. Practicing Yoga asanas that help to correct any alignment issues and strengthen ligaments and muscles will help to prevent some of the most common running injuries such as torn Achilles’ tendons, calf muscles, pulled hamstrings and tight quadriceps. Downward Facing Dog is a great Yoga asana for stretching out the Achilles’ tendons and hamstrings. Dancer Pose is a wonderful pose for stretching out the entire front side of the body, including the quadricep muscles.
Preparation for Downward Facing Dog
Come to the front of your Yoga mat in Mountain Pose. Take a few deep breaths as you raise your arms over your head and back down to your sides. Raise your arms over your head as you inhale and lower your arms as you exhale. Repeat this movement two more times.
Downward Facing Dog
To practice Downward Facing Dog, place your hands on your Yoga mat shoulder distance apart from each other with your hands parallel to the sides of your mat and flat on the floor. Step your feet back three to four feet so that your body makes the shape of a triangle. Distribute your weight evenly between your hands and your feet.
If you are not feeling enough of a stretch, move your heels up and down. Peddle your feet slowly to warm-up and then hold the pose with your heels at their maximum depth for five full breaths. Be gentle, if your Achilles’ tendons are tight, you may not be able to put your feet flush against the mat. Move slowly and keep breathing. To come out of the pose, inhale and step your feet to the front of your Yoga mat. You may wish to raise your arms over your head and then come back into Mountain Pose or simply place your hands on your hips and come to the front of your mat. Repeat two more times.
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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