I’ve had poor flexibility for as long as I can remember. I took my first yoga class years ago (like 15 years) and the instructor openly mocked me. I was by far the youngest person in the class, didn’t know anyone, and was mortified.
Obviously, I didn’t go back.
Yoga has been practiced for centuries. There are countless benefits: physical (flexibility, strength, posture), mental, psychological, neurological, and it just plain old feels good!
It’s easy to focus on your main sport and tough to find time for any other activity…triathletes already have three sports to practice. Who has time for strength training and yoga, too? If you’re a runner, why should you do anything other than run and incorporate the odd cross-training day?
Well, yoga immensely benefits runners. It aids in symmetry, alignment, and helps muscle imbalances.
Those imbalances that you don’t really notice are there until it’s too late are what cause many injuries, including most of my knee pain for the last couple years.
In the last few years I’ve finally started to incorporate a little yoga into my life.
Even though I don’t like resolutions, I said I’d like to practice yoga twice a week in 2013. It’s actually going alright so far.
Here are my five favourite poses. I think most runners, cyclists, or swimmers would enjoy them, too.
- Cow face pose (gomukhasana) – I find it stretches my hips like nothing else, although it also stretches many other body parts. According to some sources, it says that combined with hamstring and glute stretches it can relieve chronic knee pain.
- Reclining big toe pose (supta padangusthasana) with variations – Nothing stretches my hamstrings as well as this pose with a strap. However, my favourite part of it is when I cross the leg over my torso. (See Variations below the steps.) It really stretches my glutes and hips nicely.
- Knees down supine twist (parivartanasana) – I can feel serious stretch in my supraspinatus, which I had issues with last summer. I love it because it stretches that problem area nicely and my back and glutes feel amazing once I’ve finished.
- Revolved triangle (parivrtta trikonasana) – This pose stretches your legs, opens your hips, and provides a twist through your torso. It’s in my top five and is Kelly’s favourite.
- Cat/dog – I like doing cat/dog as part of my pre-workout routine. It warms up the back, shoulders, and neck. If my lower back is stiff, it does wonders.
We’re hoping to take at least one yoga class while we’re in Thailand! Once we get back and get into Ironman training, I hope to continue practicing yoga. My body and mind will need it!
Do you practice yoga? What is your favourite kind? What is your favourite pose?
(I scheduled this post to publish so won’t be responding for a while!)