Yoga is your friend. If you are running, you should be yoga-ing. As most of you know, I love yoga and am a longtime Iyengar Yoga practitioner. Tonight I will share the one pose that I truly believe can change your life if you do it every day. Drum roll please…
Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle Pose).
Yes, I know it has the reputation of being a common, simple…perhaps even a boring pose; but that is merely it’s secret identity. It has the power to transform the whole lower half of your body (beginning at the waist) from aching, stiff, and weak (and perhaps over-sized) to pain-free, flexible, and strong (maybe even sleek).
This pose is perfect for stretching your legs and loosening your hips, waist, and sides. It has fixed my issues with sciatica and helped me avoid and heal from severe IT Band syndrome. I try to do it before and after every run and believe you will thank me if you do too!
The following are some simple instructions that will guide you through this pose perfectly taken from the article Finding Balance: Yoga for the whole family:
- Stand in Tadasana (Mountain Pose — standing tall, feet together, arms by your sides). With an exhalation, step or lightly jump your feet 3 1/2 to 4 feet apart. Raise your arms parallel to the floor and reach them actively out to the sides, shoulder blades wide, palms down.
- Turn your left foot in slightly to the right and your right foot out to the right 90 degrees. Align the right heel with the left heel. Firm your thighs and turn your right thigh outward, so that the center of the right knee cap is in line with the center of the right ankle.
- Exhale and extend your torso to the right directly over the plane of the right leg, bending from the hip joint, not the waist. Anchor this movement by strengthening the left leg and pressing the outer heel firmly to the floor. Rotate the torso to the left, keeping the two sides equally long. Let the left hip come slightly forward and lengthen the tailbone toward the back heel.
- Rest your right hand on your shin, ankle, or the floor outside your right foot, whatever is possible without distorting the sides of the torso. Stretch your left arm toward the ceiling, in line with the tops of your shoulders. Keep your head in a neutral position or turn it to the left, eyes gazing softly at the left thumb.
- Stay in this pose for 30 seconds to one minute. Inhale to come up, strongly pressing the back heel into the floor and reaching the top arm toward the ceiling. Reverse the feet and repeat for the same length of time to the left.