You might not know that I am a certified yoga instructor. I don’t teach anymore as I found that I prefer to do yoga than to teach yoga but the experience of becoming certified to teach counts as one of the beneficial things I’ve done for myself EVER.
And since becoming certified in 2011, I have kept an almost daily (usually about 5-6 days/week) yoga routine. Nothing fancy or elaborate, but very important to me.
So when PF reared it’s ugly head, I did what I think everyone does and frantically started looking for ANYTHING that would help alleviate the injury and that included changing up my yoga routine.
My sports doc told me that it was really important to improve overall bio mechanics, not just strengthen the area that was injured. So I did my research (going back through my class notes/anatomy texts) and targeted poses that would help strengthen/stretch my entire lower body, not just my feet.
However, these poses are not just for the injured or those recovering from an injury. They are for anyone who wants a more balanced and stronger lower body-and I hope they can be of some use to you!
Please keep in mind the usual disclaimer that I am not a doctor and can’t diagnose any specific issues/injuries that you have. The links provided give a detailed description on how to do the pose (and I add my own recommendations) but if you are unsure on how to incorporate these poses into your fitness routine, I would recommend going to a class where an instructor can provide on site guidance as needed.
Okay, so let’s get started. I’m listing these poses in the order I do them within my overall routine and I’m taking you from easy to hard and back to easy again.
Downward facing dog
Stretching out the Achilles and calves, strengthening the hips-all without hard impact. This is also a fairly easy pose that most can do.
Any time you balance, your feet and ankles are required to work and are therefore, strengthened. You don’t have to start out with your hands over head. If you are a beginner, begin with your hands together at your chest. Any time you move your upper body, you are going to shift your center of balance so you can work up to hands overhead.
One thing to note about balance poses is that sometimes the inclination is to hold your breath-you don’t want to do that. However, you don’t want be taking big, deep inhalations either. Keep your breath steady and slightly more shallow than a normal breath.
I really hate this pose. But it’s one that is great for increasing overall lower body strength so I suck it up and do it. You want your weight to be in your heels, not in your toes (you can test this while in the pose-can you lift your toes off the floor?).
This is an advanced pose and you are going to be doing some major balancing. Don’t be discourage if you wobble a lot as you learn this pose-I don’t know anyone who doesn’t. However, for strengthening the ankles, arches and hips, you can’t beat this pose. I do this every day just about.
Also, I can’t do it with top leg wrapped around the bottom one. I have leg crossed but not wrapped. I find that flexing that top foot helps with my balance. Keep your shoulders above your hips.
Legs up the wall pose
Favorite pose EVER. It can totally be done without the bolster under your hips (I don’t usually use it) and is wonderful for releasing tension and relieving tired legs. My legs always feel rejuvenated after a few minutes up the wall. This is also one of those good for everything poses that seems to help with anxiety, stress, stomach issues, the immune system and is super gentle and easy. I do this every night before bed and I swear I sleep better because of it.
One thing I would suggest is lying on your side with your butt up against a wall and then swinging your legs up instead of laying down flat on your back and then trying to scoot your butt up to the wall-you can put strain on your neck or back trying to do that.
If this is your last pose, I would suggest following it by bringing your knees to your chest, taking a few deep, cleansing breaths and then rolling to your side and sitting up.
And there you go. What do you think? If you try out any of the poses, I’d love to know if they worked for you. Or if you have any recommendations-poses that you love and find beneficial in terms of running-I’d love to hear them.