May 28, 2010

Yoga and Running: Part 2

Wednesday night's yoga class was incredible. An hour and a half of sun salutations, warrior poses, pigeon and inversions. I felt strong and at peace after a physically and emotionally exhausting first half of the week.

On another note, I finally broke through a wall and ran for 3.5 miles at an 8:58 pace this week! BIG SMILE! Until then, my quickest pace had been 9:26 and the fact that I am seeing such major improvement reminds me that all my hard work is actually working. And so, here is I am, inspired to write part 2 of my yoga & running posts.

As I wrote in part 1, yoga has been an important part of my life for many years. Once I began running, I found it to also be an incredible way to keep my body feeling strong and injury free while training for races. Here are two more poses that have really helped my running performance.

Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
(Pigeon Pose)
Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, or Pigeon, is a pose I practice just about every day. Since my hips tend to tighten significantly from running, I incorporate it into my morning wake up stretches, as well as my pre & post run practice. I completely credit Pigeon Pose with helping me overcome a painful bout of bursitis that almost prevented me from running this year's NYC Half. This pose stretches the thighs, groin, abdomen, chest and shoulders.
  1. Start in downward dog and lift your right leg up in the air, keeping your foot flexed and your hips squared.
  2. Bend your right knee and pull it forward to your chest, sliding it to meet your right wrist, and angling your right foot towards your left knee
  3. Extend your torso forward and let it rest on top of your thighs, keeping your hips square
  4. Your left leg should be actively extended straight in back of you, with your left foot flexed and the heel pointing towards the sky
  5. Rest in this position and breathe 
  6. Repeat on the other side

Elevated Pigeon with Quad Stretch
I'm honestly not sure what this pose is called, but it's a great way to get a deeper hip and thigh stretch. I almost always perform this pose together with pigeon on each side.
  1. From Pigeon Pose, let your hands slide back towards your hips and push your fingertips firmly into the ground
  2. Bend your back leg and take hold of that foot using the arm on the same side
  3. Roll your shoulders onto your back, allowing your heart to open and melt forward
  4. Look up
  5. Your legs should be active. Do not let your torso sink into your pelvis. Instead, push your tailbone forward and lift your pubic bone off the ground. Your leg muscles should active pull towards one another, lifting you slightly from the ground.

Thanks again to Jessica for taking these pictures of my practice. I am so grateful to have you as a friend!

Namaste :)


  1. I love the poses ! Congrats on your breakthrough run :)

  2. I love all of these poses! great post =)