Do These Yoga Moves Now to Prevent Running Injuries Later

Do These Yoga Moves Now to Prevent Running Injuries Later

While static stretching before a run is a big no-no| yoga is a whole different ballgame because it involves movement-based stretching. These four exercises will get your blood circulating throughout your bod. Slowly loosen up typically tight areas such as the hips| hamstrings| and lower back with these dynamic stretches. They just feel so darn good and prep your body for a great run.

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| Circling Three-Legged Down Dog

Benefits: Opens hips and hamstrings; increases circulation in legs| ankles| and feet.

  • Begin in Downward Facing Dog with equal weight on the hands and feet. Flare the heels slightly wider than the toes so the outside edges of the feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Spread the fingers wide| and press into the palms to push the hips away from you. Work on lowering the heels to the floor without rounding the spine. Relax the shoulders and head| and gaze at your navel as you breathe for five breaths.
  • Inhale to step both feet together and raise the right leg into the air| holding Three-Legged Dog for five breaths. Circle the right foot in both directions| and point and flex the foot to loosen up the ankle joint.
  • Take a breath in| and as you exhale| slowly lower the right foot toward the floor beside your left foot| but before it touches the ground| swing it back up to the right| making a circle and coming back to Three-Legged Dog.
  • Repeat| circling the leg for a few breaths in this direction| and then switch the direction of your circles for another few breaths.
  • Lower the right leg back to the floor. Hold here for one complete breath| and then raise the left leg into the air| repeating on this side.

| Arching Down Dog to Knee Into Chest

Benefits: Opens hip flexors| hamstrings| and lower back; strengthens core and upper body.

  • Begin in Downward Facing Dog with equal weight on the hands and feet. Flare the heels slightly wider than the toes so the outside edges of the feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Spread the fingers wide| and press into the palms to push the hips away from you. Work on lowering the heels to the floor without rounding the spine. Relax the shoulders and head| and gaze at your navel as you breathe for five breaths.
  • Inhale to step both feet together and raise the right leg into the air| coming into Three-Legged Dog. Bend the knee| and hold Arching Three-Legged Dog for five breaths.
  • On your next inhale| draw the knee forward into the chest| keeping the abs engaged and the shoulders directly over the wrists.
  • Exhale to lift the knee back into Arching Three-Legged Dog.
  • Continue flowing between these two poses eight or more times.
  • Lower the right leg to the floor| coming back to Down Dog. Hold here for one complete breath| and then raise the left leg into the air| repeating on this side.

| Down Dog to Tuck-Toe Up Dog

Benefits: Stretches hamstrings| calves| lower back| neck| and chest.

  • Begin in Downward Facing Dog with equal weight on the hands and feet. Flare the heels slightly wider than the toes so the outside edges of the feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Spread the fingers wide| and press into the palms to push the hips away from you. Work on lowering the heels to the floor without rounding the spine. Relax the shoulders and head| and gaze at your navel as you breathe for five breaths.
  • On your next inhale| shift weight forward into your hands as you scoop the chest between the hands| coming into Upward Facing Dog with the toes tucked.
  • Exhale to lift the hips up| and press the chest back| returning to Down Dog.
  • Flow between these postures five or more times| pausing in either pose to spend a little more time opening areas that are tight for you.

| Dolphin Dive

Benefits: Stretches backs of the legs; strengthens core and upper body.

  • Begin in Quarter Dog with the forearms parallel. Press your hips and shoulders back toward your feet| lengthening through your spine. Tilt your tailbone up slightly to feel a stretch in your lower back.
  • With fingers spread wide| take a deep breath in| and as you exhale| dive forward| lowering the chin so it’s barely touching the floor in front of the fingertips. The shoulders should hover over the wrists| and the elbows should remain in line with the middle fingers.
  • Inhale and press back to Quarter Dog. Complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps.