Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Five favorite yoga poses

I am linking up with the lovely ladies from the DC trifecta again, Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia. This week's theme is fitness activities and I've decided to talk about my favorite yoga poses.

So, when I started running with a group, yoga kind of fell by the wayside just for scheduling reasons. But I've picked it up again by practicing yoga at home since it feels like such a good complement to running for me. All my muscles that tighten up during running feel so much better after some yoga.

1. My absolute favorite yoga pose is pigeon. It is a really deep hip opener. I hated it the first couple times I tried it at a yoga studio but I ended up loving it because it hurts so good! It's one of those poses that I can feel myself relaxing into the longer I hold it and it returns a lot of flexibility to my hips which is good for running but also just for like in general.

2. I also enjoy the warrior series of poses. They really work my leg muscles and I know this will make me a stronger runner! But more than just that, those muscles are used for so much in our daily lives and having them be stronger will help with my daily activities. According to Yoga Journal, Warrior 1 has the following benefits:
•Stretches the chest and lungs, shoulders and neck, belly, groins (psoas)
•Strengthens the shoulders and arms, and the muscles of the back
•Strengthens and stretches the thighs, calves, and ankles

3.  I've been experiencing a lot of tightness in my quadriceps since I started running and I've been turning to hero's pose to help with that.  It's a simple pose but has really felt helpful for my quads.  This is another one that is uncomfortable at first with my tight muscles but feels great after a couple minutes once I've loosened up and can relax into the pose.  This article discusses the following benefits of the pose: increases energy and blood circulation throughout the feet and body, stretches foot muscles and quadricep tendons, and helps the knee joints.

4.   I keep hearing cautionary notes from more experienced runners talking about stretching your IT bands.  Eye of the needle pose seems to help stretch the IT band for me.  I always end workouts with this and with pigeon and feel really good afterward.

5. And I'll be honest, one of my favorites parts of any yoga class is corpse pose at the end.  It feel great to just let all your muscles go and relax into (hopefully) a meditative state for at least a couple minutes.  It always signifies a job well done to me.  Here's Yoga Journal's information on this pose.

Shelby's favorite yoga pose is cat pose :) But today, she'd rather sleep on my papers and prevent me from working too much.

Several of these poses are very deep stretches so I don't do them directly when my muscles feel tight.  Pigeon especially I only do after a yoga or other workout has already loosened me up a bit. I hope everyone has a good weekend planned! I'd love to hear any of your favorite stretches or yoga poses.