5 Pre-Run Poses for Better Running

yoga - run

Whether you’re donning your first pair of trail kicks or training for your fifth marathon, adding a little yoga to your routine is a great way to amp up your run. Seattle University Village store ambassador, Erin Jasmine Taylor, shows us a five-minute, pre-run Jasyoga sequence that will help warm you up, align your stride and prevent injuries.

five pre-run poses to warm up your engine

For maximum benefit, complete the entire sequence in order and hold each pose for 5–10 deep breaths, engaging the muscles you need and relaxing the ones you don’t.

interlace and fold


opens chest and shoulders, stretches hamstrings

• start by standing hip-width apart. On your inhale, bring your arms overhead.
• exhale as you reach your arms out and back, interlacing your fingers behind you—use a strap or towel between your hands if it’s a struggle. Take a few breaths here to broaden the chest.
• fold forward, taking your arms up and overhead, keeping bend in your knees.
• shake out your head and relax your neck. Eventually release the interlace and drop your hands toward the ground for the last few breaths.

high runner’s lunge

(from forward fold)

trains the knees to stabilize, strengthens and lengthens stride

• take a long step back with your left leg and come into a lunge with your front knee at 90 degrees, tracking directly over the ankle.
• keep your back leg straight and your front knee stable over the ankle as you raise your arms overhead.
• find your balance, relax your neck and shoulders and breathe deeply—think less effort and more ease!

high runner’s lunge with side bend

(from high lunge)

lengthens side body, stretches top of the IT band and improves balance

• place your right hand on your right hip, bend your torso to the right and reach your left arm overhead and to the right—stretching the left side of your body.
• remember to keep that right knee stable over that ankle!

warrior III

(from high lunge)

strengthens ankles, legs, core and improves proprioception

• balance on your right leg and lift your left leg behind you as you drop your torso parallel to the ground.
• keep your arms out like airplane wings, or reach them forward.

low lunge twist

(from warrior III)

stretches hips and twists spine

• step your left leg back into a lunge, dropping that knee to the ground and releasing your hands to the ground.
• put your right hand on your right thigh as you rotate your chest to the right, while keeping your left hand on the ground.
• reach your right arm up and look skyward.

and repeat…

Return to your standing forward bend and repeat poses 2–5 with the opposite foot forward…

Now you’re ready to get sweaty and hit the ground running!

Erin Jasmine Taylor is the owner and head coach of Jasyoga, a mobile yoga studio that helps athletes around Seattle—from rec soccer players to NBA basketball players—find their flow. Special thanks to Nate Burgher for all the amazing photography!

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Food for thought

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Last March I had a baby, and like many new moms I was eager to get back to my pre-baby shape. So, last summer I joined Weight Watchers to help me get back on track and better understand my nutritional needs as a new mom. This was the first time I had ever officially gone on a diet and I was really surprised with what I learned. When I’m hungry, eat fruits and vegetables.

I know it seems silly, but I didn’t ever really understand this nutritional basic. Before joining the program, I thought I knew about healthy, balanced eating, portion sizes and not to eat a lot (or any) processed foods that are high in fat or sugar. I always had fruit or vegetables at every meal, love salad, grow vegetables in my garden in the summer, indulge during berry seasons, but fruits and vegetables weren’t part of my snack food routine. 

With everything I do, I try to learn a lesson and take this lesson forward with me. My experience with Weight Watchers was a good one, not because I met my goal weight (in fact I never actually set a goal weight… or ‘finished’ the program for that matter), but because I transformed my way of thinking about food and snacking.

Now, I say I didn’t finish the program, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t achieve success. Simply incorporating veggies into my snacking has allowed me to lose more weight than I ever planned to. Initially I wanted to fit comfortably into my pre-baby clothes, which I did… but it didn’t stop there. 8 months later I’m 10 lbs lighter (132 lbs) than my average weight before having a baby. This is a consequence of one, easy nutritional change. Sure, I’m active, I chase after and play with my toddler, and breastfeeding definitely helped I think, but in hindsight I think I owe my silhouette today  to veggies.

I don’t expect that it is that simple for everyone who is trying to lose weight, in fact I really admire those who are on a sizable weight loss journey (sorry for the pun). I think it is unfair to simplify diet and nutrition, or ‘what works’ for those who have a significant amount of weight to lose, but I think there are lessons that can be learned in the little things. However, I do hope this thought for the day might encourage others who are packing their lunch today.