09 Feb Yin Yoga For Runners and Cyclists
Yoga is obviously a large part of our life. But it’s not all that we do to move and strengthen the body. And we bet there are other things you do too. But it’s nice to remember that our yoga practice can complement any other physical pursuits that we do. Especially running and cycling.
One of the great things about yoga is that it allows the body to find balance. And when you run or ride a lot, yin is a beautiful way to not only balance the physical body but to balance out the yang energy that comes with these fast paced activities. Both running and cycling can have a tendency to tighten hips, hip flexors, and hamstrings.
What kinds of poses should you include in your practice to help balance out the body after a long run?
Sleeping swan (aka half pigeon)
Half pigeon is the yang version of this deep hip stretch while sleeping swan is the name it’s given in our yin practice. Place your right knee behind your right wrist, with the right shin as parallel to the front of your mat as feels comfortable. The left leg extends long behind you. Lower as far down as feels good for you, maybes hands, elbows, or your forehead if you feel really open. This pose allows us to go deep into the hips, outer thighs, and the glutes. Hold this shape for around three to four minutes on each side.
This pose gets its name because you literally make your body into the shape of a ripe banana. Lying down on your mat, keeping your hips in the center of the mat, take your feet and legs towards the left side of the mat, while also taking your arms and upper body to the left, with your arms overhead. This shape lengthens out the whole side body, including the IT band in the outside of the legs. Repeat on both sides for around three minutes.
Half butterfly is a gentle forward fold, focusing on one leg at a time. Seated, extend your right leg straight, and then bring the inside of the left foot to the inner right thigh. From there fold forward any amount over that right thigh. This shape allows us to target the hamstring on the extended thigh while also targeting the inner hip on the bent leg. Repeat this shape on both sides, holding for around three to four minutes.
Dragon (aka lizard lunge)
Our dragon lunge is a nice deep lunge, known as lizard in our yang practice. Starting from a low lunge, walk the front foot out as wide as your mat, then if you have the space, move your back knee further back, deepening the stretch. Here you can stay on the palms, or come onto your elbows to find more sensation. Repeat on both sides, holding for around four minutes.
Whether you have the time to add all these poses into your regular routine or use it every now and then when the body needs some rejuvenation, yin will help you create a more supple and open body.