Yoga for Runners

For this month’s Yoga for Everyone partnership with Monica, the talented yoga instructor and blogger behind The Yogi Movement, we get to focus on legs! As a runner, I do my best to ensure yoga is a regular part of my training. This yoga sequence is a great one to do at home as you can do the longer, entire sequence or even just one or two of the poses. I’ll turn it over to Monica for today’s guest post! See you all tomorrow for Friday Favorites!

Monica Stone

When Ashley asked me to write a post about yoga for tired legs, I was excited. Although I’m not a runner, this is something with which I am very familiar. Even though I consider my legs to be strong, they tend to run out of energy pretty quickly. I’ve recently implemented postures in my practice to stretch, strengthen, and overcome the weakness.

The first thing I want to talk about is Sun Salutations. This sequence is the best for waking up the legs. In the image, you would move from left to right on each section. Each posture is a slow and steady breath, and your goal is to match the length of the breath with the movement. Pay attention if your rushing the movement, and then slow it down. Never speed up the breath.

Sun Salutations

This full sequence strengthens the quadriceps and gives the back of the legs an awesome stretch. When you’re in downward dog, make sure you are lifting your hips, and pushing your heels back and down. This will give an amazing stretch to the back of the legs.

When you move into Warrior One (the lunges), don’t be shy about bending the knee. You don’t wan to over extend it, but most people don’t bend it enough. Take time to check it, so that you get a nice, deep hip opening.

Do about five Sun Salutations, and then move onto the standing forward bend.

standing forward fold

This posture is my favorite for overcoming tired legs. If I ever miss a day or two of practice – my legs feel like they’re crying tears of joy! In this image, I’m bringing my stomach all the way to my legs, but if you can’t pull yourself in that much, no worries. Just try to deepen it with every exhale, and bend your knees if you need to. Also, don’t look up and smile! Instead pull the crown of the head towards the ground, and look towards the knees.

The next posture we’re going to move into is Navasana or boat posture. I know this posture looks like you’re using the core, but it does take strength in the legs to make this posture happen. Come into boat, and try your best to not touch your legs, and keep the legs straight. Hold for five deep breaths. When you’re finished, cross the legs and take a breath, but come right back into it. Repeat this five times.

Navasana

We’re going to close with Kapotasana, which is a backbend that comes from the strength in your legs. You’re going to start seated, but bend both of your knees back, and let your feet rest right by your hips. You want to push the top of your foot into the ground so that the heel is facing the sky. It might seem awkward, but just do your best. If you feel any pressure on your knees, then move them further apart from each other until it goes away.

backbend

The next step is to walk yourself back until you’re lying on the ground. This is going to lengthen and stretch your quadriceps. In the image, I’m grabbing my feet, but feel free to lay your hands wherever is comfortable. Stay here for five or more breaths, and move onto the next stage.

Bring your hands my your ears and just lift your head to the ground and look behind you. Don’t let your elbows fall out to the side. This can be pretty intense, but just try. Hold for five breaths.

The very last stage is to push your head off the ground. Go ahead and give it a try, but if you can’t lift off, no problem. Just do your best, and take five breaths.

Once you are done, sit up, and extend the legs out in front of you. Take a forward bend posture for ten breaths to slow the mind and release any pressure in the spine and legs. You’re Done!

I hope you enjoyed this runners’ sequence, and can’t wait until next time!

Check out the other Yoga For Everyone guest posts in this series:

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Yoga You Can Do In Your Car

Last month, we kicked off Yoga for Everyone partnership with Yoga For People Who Sit At A Desk. If you own a car, then this post is equally as relevant as it focuses on a few easy poses you can do IN YOUR CAR! Whether you find yourself in the car for a road trip or just trying to decompress after a long day at work, this is a perfect sequence!

If you have requests for next month’s sequence, let us know. See you guys tomorrow for Friday Favorites. Now, here’s Monica, the talented yoga instructor and blogger behind The Yogi Movement.

Monica Stone

Can I ask you something? How much time do you set aside each day to meditate or destress? If that question left you speechless because you are seriously strapped for time, then just know you’re not alone. I’ve been there.

When I left my job, things drastically changed. Going from nine to five to a constantly changing schedule has been a huge adjustment. My biggest struggle was learning to manage my time. The truth is – I’m still struggling.

The worst part was that I would get so frustrated at myself because my yoga practice was the first thing to go out the window. I felt like I never had enough time in the day. Every day I’d recommit, and then something would always come up. It’s so important to make time to quiet the mind because we live in such a fast-paced world. We take so much in, and if we don’t take the time to process it, our minds can become scattered and agitated. I could feel this happening, and knew I needed to make a change.

I was sick of struggling, so I made a little mindset shift. Want to know what I did?

1. I changed my practice. I was way too hard on myself, so I allowed myself to hop on the mat even if it meant 10 minutes a day.
2. I took my practice with me wherever I was. This allowed me to fit my practice in whenever I had some time to kill.

This month, I demonstrate four simple postures you can do in your car. Yes, you read that right! You can do yoga in your car. Next time you’re waiting to pick up your kids at school, or waiting in a long line at the Starbucks Drive-Thru, you’ll feel good in your mind because you’re practicing patience, and you’ll feel good in your body because you took the time to stretch. You just have to be creative.

Yoga You Can Do In Your Car

Watch the video before to see each pose and some explanations! The first posture is a simple twist. Then, I’ll demonstrate a hamstring stretch. I’ll show you a simple way to get a nice backbend, and we’ll close with quick meditation while you open your hips at the same time!

 

How creative have you gotten with your yoga practice? Have you ever tried to fit yoga in on a road trip? Tell me if you tried these postures, and where you were.

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Yoga You Can Do In Your Car

Last month, we kicked off Yoga for Everyone partnership with Yoga For People Who Sit At A Desk. If you own a car, then this post is equally as relevant as it focuses on a few easy poses you can do IN YOUR CAR! Whether you find yourself in the car for a road trip or just trying to decompress after a long day at work, this is a perfect sequence!

If you have requests for next month’s sequence, let us know. See you guys tomorrow for Friday Favourites. Now, here’s Monica, the talented yoga instructor and blogger behind The Yogi Movement.

Monica Stone

Can I ask you something? How much time do you set aside each day to meditate or destress? If that question left you speechless because you are seriously strapped for time, then just know you’re not alone. I’ve been there.

When I left my job, things drastically changed. Going from nine to five to a constantly changing schedule has been a huge adjustment. My biggest struggle was learning to manage my time. Truth is – I’m still struggling.

The worst part was that I would get so frustrated at myself because my yoga practice was the first thing to go out the window. I felt like I never had enough time in the day. Every day I’d recommit, and then something would always come up. It’s so important to make time to quiet the mind because we live in such a fast paced world. We take so much in, and if we don’t take time to process it, our minds can become scattered and agitated. I could feel this happening, and knew I needed to make a change.

I was sick of struggling, so I made a little mindset shift. Want to know what I did?

1. I changed my practice. I was being way too hard on myself, so I allowed myself to hop on the mat even if it meant 10 minutes a day.
2. I took my practice with me wherever I was. This allowed me to fit my practice in whenever I had some time to kill.

This month, I demonstrate four simple postures you can do in your car. Yes, you read that right! You can definitely do yoga in your car. Next time you’re waiting to pick up your kids at school, or waiting in a long line at the Starbucks Drive-Thru, you’ll feel good in your mind because you’re practicing patience, and you’ll feel good in your body because you took the time to stretch. You just have to be creative.

Yoga You Can Do In Your Car

The first posture is a simple twist. Then, I’ll demonstrate a hamstring stretch. I’ll show you a simple way to get a nice backbend, and we’ll close with quick meditation while you open your hips at the same time!

How creative have you gotten with your yoga practice? Have you ever tried to fit yoga in on a road trip? Tell me if you tried these postures, and where you were.

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Yoga for Everyone

Happy Monday!

Today, I am thrilled to share with you a new partnership I’m launching with Monica Stone – Yoga for Everyone. Monica is a yoga lifestyle coach who blogs at The Yogi Movement. She loves coaching busy and overwhelmed individuals on how they can find time for yoga and health in their busy day. Her mission is to help as many busy people around the world stress less, find clarity and happiness by giving simple tips to integrate the practice of yoga and meditation no matter how much time you have.

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 1.02.47 PM

As soon as we started talking about her goals, I realized they lined up perfectly with so many of my readers AND myself. So many of us are busy each day but finding just a few minutes in our week to invest in yoga can help clear our minds, relieve tension & stress, sleep better and help us think clearer. Each month Monica will share a 20 minute routine on the blog which will allow you to integrate yoga into your life while focusing on different body parts and ailments. This month’s installment is focused on yoga to help people who sit at a desk all day

So now I’ll turn it over to Monica, our teacher for today’s 20 minute yoga class!

The work day is over. You’ve been looking forward to some sort of exercise to work out the knots in your shoulders and release the tension in your lower back. The problem is, you worked later than usual, and now you’re hungry, exhausted, and drained. You know some form of exercise would make you feel better after being scrunched in front of a computer all day, but you just can’t seem to motivate yourself to make it to the gym.

You say, "I’ll do it tomorrow." Will you? Didn’t you say that yesterday?

I’ve been there.

Take a deep breath because I can help with that.

Yoga for People Who Work in an OfficeWhat if I told you that you could a yoga sequence in 20 minutes or under that would ease the tension in your mind and body, and it would feel like you got in a mini workout for the day?

I’m stoked to be writing this new series for Ashley because I have the perfect sequence of postures that will help release all of the tension and stress from sitting at a desk all day. Let’s get started.

1. Downward Facing Dog

The first posture is called Downward Facing Dog. You’ve probably heard of it. This is the best posture to start with because you’re waking up and stretching each part of the body. Press your hands down and forward while spreading your fingers. Think of your fingers as the roots of a tree. Bring your feet hip width apart and push your heels down and back. No worries if your heels don’t touch the ground – just make the movement to get that nice stretch on the back of your calf muscles and heels. Engage your quadriceps to protect your hamstrings, and drop your head looking up towards your naval to give your neck a nice stretch. Hold this for five to ten deep breaths.

downdog

2. Crescent Pose

From Downward Facing Dog, bring yourself into Crescent Pose by stepping your right foot forward into a lunge, and dropping to the back knee. Lift your arms overhead, and slightly lean back to stretch and strengthen the spine. You’ll feel a nice stretch in your hips too. Look up towards the thumbs, and hold for five deep breaths, and then bring yourself back to Down Dog and switch legs. Hold for five breaths on each side.

crecent pose

3. Triangle Posture

When you’re finished, bring yourself back to Down Dog, and then bring both feet to your hands. Come to a standing position at the front of the mat. Step your feet apart, and bring yourself into Triangle Posture. See the feet and hand positioning below. The full expression of this posture is to reach down and grab the big toe, and then reach up with the opposite hand and arm. What you want to achieve in this posture is the stacking of the hips and shoulders, and then an opposition of force between the arms and fingertips. Press down with your big toe as you pull up with your fingers, and really reach and extend through the fingers of the upper arm. This creates a really nice stretch between the shoulder girdle releasing any tension in the shoulders. You’ll also experience a nice side stretch on the stomach.

If your hamstrings or lower back feels tight, and you have trouble keeping the legs straight  – go ahead and use a block or stack of books like I demonstrate in the picture below. Just don’t let the lower arm collapse. Press strong into the block as you reach up. Hold for five breaths on each side.

trikonasana

4. Upward Facing Dog

Bring yourself back to a standing position, and transition down to the mat by bring the hands down to the mat next to your feet in a standing forward bend, step back into a plank position and lower down.

Upward Facing Dog starts on the belly. Place your hands next to your shoulders, and start to straighten the elbows as you arch your back. It’s important to not throw the neck back here, but just slightly lift the chin up. Bring your gaze towards your nose to avoid throwing the head back. Roll your shoulders back, and press your big toes into the ground to avoid your heels falling outward. If you want more of a challenge, really strengthen your legs and lift your knees off the floor like the picture below.

Hold for five to ten breaths. When finished lower the body back down, and push back using the knees bringing yourself to a seated position.

upward dog

5. Seated Twist

Sit up with both legs extended, and bend the right knee up. Position the heel in line with the hip. The foot should not be touching the opposite leg, but rather a good amount of space between the thigh and the foot. The knee should be right over the ankle, and don’t let the knee fall to either side. Bring the left hand to the knee, and twist the body towards it. Bring the hand that’s behind you close to your spine, and twist as look over your opposite shoulder.

This postures creates a nice release on the lower back and hips, and opens the shoulders while stretching the chest. Hold this for five breaths on each side, and twist a little deeper on each exhale.

seated twist

6. Cow Face Posture:

I know. This posture has a funny name, but it’s supposed to look like a cow face. From the seated twist; cross the right knee over the left and then stack the knees. Reach over your head with the right arm, and bring your hand towards the center of the upper back. Then bringing the left arm up from the bottom. You’re going to reach each hand towards the center of the spine, and try to clasp hands.

Once hands are clasped, start the push the head back and chest forward. Then, try to stack the elbows. If done correctly, this is becomes a really nice heart opening posture. You’re opening the shoulders, stretching the chest, and strengthening the spine.

If you’re not able to bring the hands together – no problem. Just use a strap like I show below. You can also grab onto a towel or your shirt.

Hold for five breaths, and repeat on the opposite side.

shoulder stretch

7. Fish Posture:

Bring yourself to the ground, but this time laying on your back. The best and easiest way to come into this posture is to sit on your hands with the palms face down. Straighten your legs, squeeze your legs together, and point your feet.

Here’s the tricky part, so listen carefully. The first thing you need to know is to never lift your head off the ground. It’s tempting to lift up, but don’t. All you need to do is press your forearms into the ground and lift your chest as you squeeze the shoulder blades together. The head stays on the ground and simply slides up so that the crown of your head is on the ground, and you’re looking behind you.

If you want to kick this posture up a notch, bring your legs into lotus and grab onto the feet. When you do this, press your knees towards the ground for a little extra hip opening and spine stretch. 

If any of this feels too intense, just grab a block to place under your back, and mimic the posture that way.

Fish Posture

8. Supine Twist

Lay all the way down on the ground, and then hug the knees into the chest. Bring the knees over to the right as you use your hand to press the knees towards the ground. Look over the opposite shoulder. Engage your lower belly, and work to draw your shoulders down towards the mat. This will  create space in your lower back, and reduce upper back pain, neck pain and can help to strengthen upper back muscles while opening tight chest and shoulder muscles. Hold this posture around 10 deep breaths on each side.

Supine Stretch

When you’re finished with the supine twist, lay all the way down by extending your legs and arms. Close your eyes and return to a normal breath. This postures is called Savasana, and should be done at the end of every yoga practice to relax, restore, and absorb all of the energy you just created.

You’ll be surprised how a short practice like this will make you feel lighter in your body, less stressed in your mind, and create a pattern to help you through difficult situations daily.

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