by Sally Drake
Each month, I will feature a yoga pose, breathing technique or guided meditation that is beneficial for runners. Yoga helps improve flexibility; increase strength; enhance balance and stability; provide stress relief, better breathing and faster recovery. Even just a few minutes of yoga added to your pre or post run routine will positively impact not just your athletic pursuits, but all areas of your life.
Pose of the Month: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Downward Facing Dog is one of the most recognizable yoga poses, and very popular for good reason. It has full body benefits, stretching much of the lower body, strengthening the upper body, relieving tension in the head and neck. Runners often love Down Dog because it is a deep stretch for the back of the legs, from the glutes to the hamstrings to the calves.
Tips: Your heels do not have to touch the ground! Simply send your heels toward the mat. Keep your hands shoulder width apart, and feet hips distance apart–this alignment helps you create space. Protect your joints by keeping a slight bend in the elbows and knees. Keep your head and neck relaxed–gaze toward your navel or back edge of your mat. And, remember to breathe while you are in the pose.
Modifications: Downward Facing Dog pose can be taxing on the shoulders and wrists. A shorter stance will reduce pressure on the shoulders. And, if staying on the hands becomes too tiring for the wrists, it is an option to use blocks or come to the forearms. To relieve tension in the hamstrings, bend the knees as much as you need and lift the tail to lengthen the low back.
Sally Drake has been a runner in the Capital District community for over twenty years. In May 2023 she received her 200-hour yoga teacher training certificate from Styles Yoga at the Hot Yoga Spot. You can find her this summer teaching a weekly Yoga in the Park class at Tawasentha Park in Guilderland, every Tuesday evening June 6-August 8 from 6:30-7:30pm.
Follow her on Instagram at @sdrakeyogi for more yoga inspiration.
N.B. There will be no Yoga in the Park session on July 4 and August 1