The Vancouver Marathon is right around the corner, and we're already thinking in recovery mode. Whether you're gearing up for the full 42.2, or just taking Sparky for a long jog, these seven moves will help you un-tighten and unwind after a long run.
1. Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose
WHAT TO DO: Start laying down (hooray!) Lift one leg up to meet your hand, grabbing your big toe by hooking your thumb around your index and middle fingers. If you're wearing shoes, grab the outside. Take 10 breaths, then release your hands to the floor. Keeping your palms flat against the ground, rotate your leg outward for 5 breaths, and then over and across your body for five breaths.
WHY SHOULD I DO THIS: Wake up your hamstrings and open up your hips with the help of gravity. You can even do this one in bed.
2. Bound Angle Pose
WHAT TO DO: Start in butterfly, then using your hands, rotate the bottoms of your feet up like you're opening a book. Straighten your spine and tuck your chin, then take 8-10 breaths. Then, without curving into your spine, lean as far forward as you can. Take five breaths here. Finally, let your back round and bring your head down to your feet. Hold for five breaths.
WHY SHOULD I DO THIS: For your inner thighs, groin, and knees. This is one pose you can easily control the intensity of.
3. Hero Pose
WHAT TO DO: Kneel on the ground with your heels wider apart than your knees. Sink your butt down in between your feet, straighten your spine, and take 10 deep breaths. If this feels too intense, put a blanket between your calves and thighs and a pillow/block under your butt for support.
WHY SHOULD I DO THIS: Because you're a hero. Stretch your quad muscles AND tap into the knees and ankle joints.
4. Upward Facing Dog Pose
WHAT TO DO: Start lying on your stomach, placing your palms spread beside your waist. On an inhale, begin to straighten your arms and lift your torso and legs off of the floor. Only the bottom of your hands and tops of your feet should touch the ground. Pull your shoulders back and open your heart, then take 30 seconds and breathe.
WHY SHOULD I DO THIS: Because your legs aren't doing all the work. Upward dog stretches out your chest, lungs, shoulders, and abs.
5. Downward Facing Dog Pose
WHAT TO DO: Get onto all fours (shoulders over wrists, hips over knees) and spread your fingers wide. On an exhale, tuck your toes under and begin to straighten your legs, pushing back through your shoulders. Think of arching your back, butt to the sky. Reach your heels towards the ground, keep your head tucked down. Take a minute of slow, deep breaths here.
WHY SHOULD I DO THIS: Stretch your shoulders, hamstrings, calves, arches, and hands while strengthening arms and legs. Save your legs from epically tight hamstrings (aka perma-bent knee) by hitting down dog on the regular.
6. Pigeon Pose
WHAT TO DO: Start in downward facing dog, then bring your right knee forward to touch your right wrist and right foot forward towards your left hand. Lower down onto your leg, untucking your back toes, flexing your front foot, and keeping hipbones parallel. If this is comfortable, you can begin to fold forward over your leg. Stay here for two minutes.
WHY SHOULD I DO THIS: Your psoas (what?) will thank you.
7. Rabbit Pose
WHAT TO DO: Starting in child pose, grab your heels and begin to pull your head in towards the knees by rounding the spine. Inhale and lift your hips, rolling towards the crown of the head. Take 10 breaths, then return to child pose.
WHY SHOULD I DO THIS: Give the spine, back, arms, and shoulders a deep stretch. Breathe in through your nose, sigh out through your mouth. You made it.
Thanks our resident marathon-finisher, Allie, for modeling!