Yoga For Runners: Upper Body Strength
Yoga for runners is a topic I’m totally into. As if you couldn’t tell with my posts lately. It’s been a hot topic for me mainly because I’m a runner and a yoga teacher. I have been running for 23 years. For some reason it didn’t occur to me to focus on yoga for runners until pretty recently.
Experience as a runner and yoga practitioner makes yoga for runners a perfect fit.
I think it took me a while because I’ve been super focused on building my teaching practice and have neglected my personal practice a bit. Being a postpartum woman and runner, I’ve started to use my personal yoga practice to hep my body recover from running. I'm a huge advocate for building strength through yoga and workouts (like HIIT or body weight strengthening before, during or after running) in order to improve as BOTH a yogi and runner.
This yoga video for building upper body strength is great for runners (or hikers, skiers, snowboarders, anyone really) because it targets under used muscles for many athletes or active people. Upper body and core strength is always a huge one with most people. Why? It’s so important for proper alignment while walking, standing or sitting.
Having good alignment in the upper body will improve posture and confidence. Strengthen your core (front, sides and back of the torso) and the whole body starts to respond differently. Everything works together.
Below the video link, you can find a written sequence as well.
Yoga for Upper Body Strength Sequence
Cat/Cow (Marjaiasana/Bitilasana): From tabletop or hands and knees inhale sinking your belly down and gazing upward. Exhale bringing your chin to your chest while arching your breath.
Sun Bird/Bird Dog (Parsva Balasana): Come to tabletop or hands and knees. Extend the right leg back keeping the foot even with the right hip and the right hipbone pointing down. Engage the bellybutton toward the spine. Stay or extend the left arm out in front. Make a long line from the back foot to the front hand. Stay or exhale bringing the knee to the right and arm to the left. Engaging the obliques (side abdominal muscles). Hold a few breaths and switch sides.
Low lunge with a Twist (Parivrtta Anjaneasana): Step the right foot between the feet, left leg is extended back toward the back with toes working into the mat. Bring the left knee and top of the left foot down to the mat. Inhale lifting the torso up, reaching the arms upward. On an exhale, twist the torso to the right, bringing the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Hands can come to heart center and hold for a few breaths.
Plank Pose with Scapular Pushups: In plank pose, keep the core engaged and elbows straight (don’t lock them out, keep a slight bend in the elbows). Inhale lower the chest down bringing the shoulder blades away from the back. Exhale press the chest back up, shoulder brands on the back. Take as many sets as you like.
Chaturanga: From plank pose (top of a pushup) bend the elbows lowering the whole body down while hugging the shoulder blades toward each other. Keep the shoulder points up while lowering down. Keep the core engaged and hold for a few seconds if you can.
Bridges Cross or Reclining Revolved Triangle Pose: From plank pose, bring the right knee to your nose. Extend the leg out to the left side of the mat. Use your arms to hold the body up, scooping the hips up. Slowly lower the body down toward the floor to stretch the IT band (outer right leg). When ready slowly press the body up to the starting position.
Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III): From Chair pose, stand on the right leg, bring the left knee toward the chest and straighten the right leg. Inhale leaning the torso forward as you sweep the left leg back behind. Make a long line from the head to the extended foot. Engage the core to hold balance.
Garland Pose (Malayan): From standing, step the feet as wide as the short side of the mat. Turn the toes out, bend the knees and bring the tailbone down toward the floor. Leave your hands on the floor or bring them to heart center while pushing the outer arms against the inner knees.
Crow Pose (Bakasana): From malasana, lift the hips up enough and bring the knees to the upper arms or arm pits. Lean the body weight forward into the hands while engaging your core. Pull the low belly in while lifting one foot or both off the floor and balancing on the hands.
Reclining Twist: Come to lying on your back. Hug your knees in toward your chest, open the arms out to the sides in a “T”. On an exhale, release knees over to the right, gazing up or toward the left hand. Breathe for a few breaths and switch sides.
Savanna: Lay on your back, release all the muscles in the back, front and side body. Turn your gaze inward and relax allowing the body to restore.
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.