In one of my previous articles (read here), I had requested Radhika to point out basics to remember while practising asanas. My second session with her was about the asanas which will benefit us runners. I will break this article in to couple of parts as it seems like there are far too many we can benefit from. No wonder, I was exhausted by the end of it.
1. The Chair Pose for quads
Builds: core, legs, glutes, arms
Instruction: With your feet, knees, thighs touching, sit into a squat, just like sitting on a chair.
Hence the name. Extend your arms. Go down as much as you can, while keeping the spine straight. Try lowering as much as you can.
2) The downward facing Dog for hamstrings
The cornerstone of any yoga routine. This is a must.
Instructions: Start on hands and knees. Place your palms a handprint’s distance in front of your shoulders. Tuck your toes under and lift knees off the floor. Pull your hips up and back away from your hands. Press down into your hands, pull up on your arms — then shift your weight onto your legs. Begin to lift thighs up as you reach your heels back and down, which will straighten your knees. Hold for five to 10 breaths.
a. Stretches the hamstrings and calves, and creates length in the spine.
b. helps with those annoying leg cramps
c. Helps with flexibility
d. Opens up the arms, shoulders and upper back
Initially your hamstrings will feel very tight. Your shoulders will hurt the first couple of times. Your spine may not be completely straight and your heels may not touch the ground. But with time and some regular practice these things will improve.
3) Dolphin Pose for shoulders
Lower the forearms to the floor, tuck the toes under and lift the hips up towards the ceiling. Shoulder width apart. Press the forearms, fingers and the palms into the floor, and press the hips up and back.
Keep the spine straight and long, reaching up high through the tailbone. Keep the feet hip’s width apart with the toes facing forward. The legs are straight, or you can have a small bend at the knees to keep the back flat. Let the head and neck hang freely from the shoulders; the forehead can rest on the floor.Breathe and hold for 2-6 breaths.
This is a good shoulder strengthening exercise that can later aid in your inversions.
4. Bridge Pose for the back for glutes, back, shoulders, hips, stomach, thighs
Lie down on your back with your hands stretched sideways now fold your knees, spread them out.
Raise your body up from your pelvis area. Take support from your hands and hold the position. Try touching your nose to the chest whilst lifting your chest.
All pics courtesy Arun Bharadwaj. Thank you for your patience.
Thanks Radhika for a great session. Her blog is http://www.yogasini.com