I have written plenty of times in the past on the benefits and practice of yoga for runners. Core yoga, strength yoga, flexibility yoga, restorative yoga are all beneficial when you pound the pavement on a regular basis.
This time I thought I’d zero in on Yin yoga and why it works very well for releasing tightness, increasing flexibility, and deeply relaxing both body and mind.
In today’s post, we’ll look into what yin yoga is all about, as well as some of the best Yin poses to add to your cross-training plan to optimize flexibility and recovery.
Let’s get started.
Pained joints, sore muscles, injured limbs…if you’re a runner, then you’re no stranger to these. When logging in the miles, the risks of experiencing some type of discomfort or injury is inevitable at one point or the other.
Here’s the good news, though. There are many practices even the most elite runners could adopt to minimize injury and prolong performance.
Enter Yin Yoga. This practice is one of the most efficient and least well-known and trendy styles of yoga that runners can add to their performance and recovery boosting toolkit.
So what is it all about?
Yin yoga consists of gentle, yet challenging, practice that allows you to dig deep into your own body, both physically and mentally.
During a yin yoga session, you hold the poses for two to five minutes in order to bring more mobility to your muscles, joints, and ligaments, and the pacing and transitions are much slower. By doing it consistently, as a runner, you’ll be able to dive into your muscles and transform the way your body functions.
The goal is not only to stretch out the muscles but to go deeper, relaxing, and elongating the body’s connective tissue, especially within the joints, which other styles of yoga can’t properly address.
Yin Yoga Benefits For Runners
I know most runners would rather spend their time pounding the pavement than sit still for several minutes at a time, but I promise the benefits of yin yoga are too good to ignore.
The fact is, yin yoga is the ideal complement to running and one of the best practices for your physical and mental well-being.
Here are a few of the benefits.
Improved range of motion
Yin yoga poses also helps release the tension that builds in your body, helping improve your mobility and range of motion. It mainly targets both the deep connective tissues between the muscles as well as the fascia throughout the body.
Yin yoga also works very ell for getting the blood moving through the muscles, which aids with recovery after hard runs. The increased flow eventually helps your muscles repair themselves faster, which improves your recovery rate between runs and workouts.
The boosted circulation also helps in the removal of waste products from tissues and carries in oxygen and nutrients.
Improved Health & Well-Being
According to reported by PLOS One, a regular one-hour practice of yin yoga a couple of times a week for five weeks helped subjects reduce anxiety, improve sleep quality, and reduce their levels of adrenomedullin (ADM), which is a biomarker linked to chronic conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
A Yin Yoga Routine For Runners
To help you get the most out of yin yoga, I created a 40-minute yin yoga sequence for runners that I’d like to share with you today. The routine consists of six runner-friendly yin poses that can help you stay flexible and strong on the track.
Let’s dig in.
1. Inside Dragon
Begin in a low lunge, then walk the front foot out as wide as your mat. For a deeper stretch, move your back knee further back, only when possible. Then plant your hands or forearms inside your right leg on the ground. Hold for two minutes, then change sides.
Pay attention to any pain if you’ve injured ankle or knee as this post can put a lot of compression on the front ankle.
2. Diamond pose Forward Fold
Start in a seated position, with the soles of feet connected.
Next, slide your feet as far away as possible while soles of the feet still staying comfortably connected. For extra comfort, stack up blankets or cushions immediately behind your heels.
While letting your back round, fold forward, lightly resting your hands on your feet or on the ground in front of you.
Hold the pose for three to five minutes.
3. Legs Up The Wall Middle Split
Begin by setting up a comfortable space near a wall. You can start with support roughly five inches away from the wall.
Next, move your hips as close to the wall as you can, then walk your feet up the wall until your body ends up in a somewhat L-shaped position. Keep your head and shoulders lightly down onto the floor
Next, let your legs drop out to the sides into a middle split. Pause for three to five minutes, then slowly press your heels back together to exit the post and come back to regular legs-up-the-wall.
4. Half Butterfly
From a seated position, extend your right leg straight and then move the inside of your left foot to the inner right thigh.
Next, fold gradually over your right leg, letting your head and your upper back and knack relax. Hold your head upright if this gets too intense.
Feel free to also fold forward at any angle that target areas of your back body.
Hold for two minutes, then change sides.
5. Sleeping Swan
Begin in half pigeon, then bend forward from your hips, with the hands on the floor and outstretched in front of you.
While letting the left leg extend long behind you, lower as far as possible, maybe placing your hands, elbows, or forehead on the ground if you feel really open.
Take your right knee forward, externally rotating your thigh. For extra support, feel free to place a planked or block under your thigh, near your knee.
6. Supine Spinal Twist
Begin by lying on your back, bringing your arms out to the sides, palms facing down in a” T” position.
Bend your right knee and cross it outside of the left foot. Use your hands to apply pressure on the bent knee to push down toward the ground. Keep your core engaged and shoulder pulled down toward the floor the entire time.
Let that leg gently fall across your body to the left side. Extend your left arm in the opposite direction. Keep your shoulders rooted into the ground the entire time.
Extend your left hand and gaze toward it. Straighten right leg for a deeper stretch.
There you have it. To improve your recovery and performance odds, add this yin yoga for runners routine to your cross-training plan. It’s not that complicated. Just get started now and never deviate.
What about you? Do you have any favorite yin yoga poses you would like to share? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.
In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.
Keep running strong.