Yoga for Runners: Miraculous Pose to Repair Your Body

by Karli Taylor

You plan your whole week around your long run. When it’s done, your training week is over, right? Unfortunately, if you are using that method, you might find yourself dragging two days later and having to revise your training for the next week because of lingering fatigue.

Completing your long run is the first step of a two-step process. The second step is making choices for the rest of the day that encourage recovery. Nutrition, hydration, rest and active recovery are all important components of your training plan.

After you refuel and rehydrate, an easy way to speed up your recovery is to take 10 to 20 minutes and elevate your legs in Viparita Karani, or Legs up the Wall pose.

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Find an open wall space, and align one short edge of your mat up to the wall. Start seated beside the wall, with your feet on the floor in front of you and your left side body in contact with the wall. Gently lie down on your back and pivot yourself so that the backs of your legs are pressing against the wall and the bottoms of your feet are facing up. You may need to wiggle around to find your way into this position.

Your bottom should now be pressed up against, or slightly away from the wall, and your back and head are rested on the floor forming a 90-degree(ish) angle in your body. If you feel any tension in your neck or lower back, you can rollup a towel or blanket and place it underneath you for support. Let your hands rest either on your belly or down by your sides, palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and breath.

A pose that seems extremely simple has so many benefits! In addition to giving your tired aching legs, feet and hips a break, it allows the circulatory system to get some rest as well!  Think about how hard the circulatory system works to pump blood back up to the heart from the feet on any given day- then multiply that by at least 10 on a long run day! Legs up the Wall pose allows the body to rely more on gravity for this process instead of working against it.

In case you still need more reasons to give this a try, benefits of Viparita Karani include:

  • Relief from sciatic pain
  • Relaxation of the nervous system
  • Gentle stretch of the hamstrings and lower back
  • Improved digestion
  • Prevention of varicose veins

Though this pose is appropriate for all levels, those with glaucoma or taking medication for high blood pressure should opt for a more gentle inversion by lying flat with your legs propped up on a pillow or bolster.

Time to get a leg, or both legs, up on your competition by speeding your recovery!

Yoga For Runners Archive

Mukha Svanasava-Downward Dog-Relieve Back Tension

Vajrasana or Thunderbolt Pose

Balance For Runners: Tree Pose or Vrksasana

Strengthening Your Back: Baddha Hasta Uttanasana, or Ragdoll

Combating Runner’s Butt - Ardha Matsyendra

Exercises to Help in Stability - Ananda Balasana

Stretching Hip Flexors – Anjaneyasana & Setu Bandha Sarvangasana

Yoga for Runners Intro

Karli’s classes at Fleet Feet have been changed to Keep Fit on Carmen Road now on Wednesdays at 7:30.

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