I realize that yoga is an ancient, sacred practice. Each pose has meaning and is meant to bring you toward a meditative state of enlightenment.
So is it wrong for me to have a few favorite poses?
I think not.
These three poses are my favorite parts of any yoga class. They’re the ones that I want to show off and do over and over again.
And they always seem to work their way in to my post-run stretching routine — even if I’m not intentionally “doing yoga.”
I remember coming home after my second yoga class ever, and showing my mom all of my new moves. I had learned Triangle Pose that night and I was so excited.
I love the way it stretches out my side body, and also that it looks and feels the way you would expect a yoga pose to look and feel — like a challenging release.
It stretches and strengthens the muscles of the legs and core, benefitting the muscle groups used most in running.
I love doing Triangle Pose outside after morning runs so that when I turn my head to face toward the sky, I can see the sun shining through the branches of the trees above me.
It makes me feel balanced, relaxed and strong.
This was the first pose that I ever impressed El Profesor with when we first started dating. I’m not sure if it was a favorite before, but it has become the subject of many post-yoga class conversations since then, and a few jokes too. El Prof often asks whether we did pigeon in class.
I love when my instructors make Pigeon Pose extra challenging by adding a twist, or walking us through the progression in to King Pigeon Pose.
It increases flexibility and range of motion in the hips, an area where many runners are prone to injury or strain. It also offers a deep gluteal stretch and helps to alleviate piriformis and sciatic pain. (so this pose is coming in pretty handy right about now)
Sometimes I stay in Pigeon Forward Fold for as long as five minutes. I used to take a Yin Yoga class on Sunday nights where the instructor always had us do that. She would play Ben Harper’s Happy Ever After in Your Eyes over and over as we relaxed deeper and deeper in to the pose. I loved that.
This pose is all about balance. But when properly executed, you can’t help but feel graceful, too.
It’s my go-to quadricep stretch after running, but it also helps with plantar fasciitis, ITBS, knee pain and hip pain.
It improves balance and stability in the muscles of the legs and core. And it doesn’t hurt that it also looks so beautiful.
To learn more about the benefits of yoga for runners, check out these links:
Yoga (Runner’s World)
Yoga for Runners: 3 Poses You Should Practice (Active.com)
How Yoga Can Help Your Running (Runner’s World)
Simple Stretches for Endurance Athletes: 9 Yoga Poses For Runners (EverydayHealth.com)