Yoga can benefit anyone, but it is especially valuable to runners. It works the whole body, increases flexibility, rejuvenates connective tissue, and improves the cardiovascular system through regular practice of Pranayama.
It is also a great tool for the growing community of barefoot runners. Why? Because barefoot running is actually quite a different practice from running in standard trainers, and it demands a level of fine-muscle strength and mobility that yoga delivers.
Here are three expert barefoot runners/yogis on their go-to yoga poses.
“Downward facing dog is a fantastic yoga posture for runners, especially those in the throws of Barefoot Exuberance Syndrome with tight calves and tender achilles. The inverted ‘v’ shape, lengthens through the calves and hamstrings, decompresses the spine and lower back and opens shoulders that can become tight and uncomfortable.
“The downward dog and triangle stance are two typical postures I had done for years which helped me build strength in my ankles. Classic, one-legged balancing poses like the Tree and the Eagle both can help build ankle stability and shear leg strength.”
“Toe-breaker pose [toe squat]
Why: Tight, weak foot muscles are the main cause of plantar fasciitis. Keeping your toes strong and flexible is a key part of keeping your feet healthy.
How: Sit down with your feet tucked underneath you and your toes flexed. This can be pretty excruciatingly painful at first. You can lift your butt up off your heels for less intensity, or even lean forward and put some weight on your hands.”
Questions about running and yoga? Ask in the comments!