Whether you exercise by Walking, Jogging or Running it is absolutely essential that you do a few stretches for your muscles to loosen up. This is important both if you jog in the mornings or evenings; in the mornings the body is stiff because of the night’s sleep whereas in the evenings it’s stiff because of a largely sedentary workplace posture. Stretching helps to open up the muscles so that you don’t suffer from injuries such as muscle pulls. Stretching also causes the body to secrete Endorphins (called Happy hormones); which helps your body’s systems get ready for exercising. So, get ready to hit the road!

In this article we have covered the most beneficial stretches that can be done before jogging. Also, included are a few asanas that help you cool down and relax after your workout.

Pre- jogging routine:

We begin by stretching the back and core, then the hamstrings (back of the thighs), the calf muscles, hip flexor muscles and finally the thighs.

total yoga, yoga india, tadasanaTadasana (Palm Tree pose)

Ø   Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Ø As you inhale, raise your hands upwards and interlock your fingers. Ø Raise your heels off the ground and stretch the whole body up. Exhale and return down.

Ardha Chakrasana

Ardha Chakrasana (Half Wheel pose – Backward bend)

Support your hips with your palms. Inhale and stretch your back upwards, looking towards the sky.  Ø   Breathe normally. After 5 secs return to standing position.

 

 

 

 

Padahastasana (Hand-to-Feet pose; Forward bend)

Padahastasana

Ø   Raise your hands up. As you exhale, drop your upper body and arms towards the floor.  Ø    Breathe normally as your body stretches. After 10 secs return to standing position.

Cross-legged Padahastasana (Hamstrings-stretch)

Ø   Stand straight. Cross your legs and then do the same movements as in Padahastasana. After holding for 15 secs repeat on the other leg by crossing it in front now.

 

Prasarita Padahastasana

Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-legged forward bend – Hamstrings)

Ø   Stand with your feet as wide apart as possible. Ø   As you exhale reach down and touch your ankles. Ø   Stretch as much as you can; it is not necessary that you do the posture as is shown in the picture. With practice your body will also open up to achieve all the poses shown. Ø   After 20 secs return to standing position.

 Parvatasana (Mountain pose – Calf Muscles)

parvatasana

Ø   Get on to all fours (Palms and Knees)  Ø   Exhale and raise your knees off the floor by pushing your hips up. Try to touch your heels on the ground.  Ø   Breathe normally. Hold for 15 secs.  Ø   Now bend 1 knee for 15 secs and then the other.

 

 

Chandrasana

 

Chandrasana variation (Crescent pose – Hip Flexors)

Ø   Stretch your legs apart. Bend your back knee so it touches the floor and rest your foot flat on the inside.             Ø Support your hips with your hands and lower them till you can stretch your Hip flexor muscles.

 

 

Thigh Stretch

Ø   Stand straight. Bend 1 knee and hold the heel against your butt, thus stretching your thigh. Ø After holding for 15 secs repeat on the other leg.

 

Post- jogging routine:

After your walk / jog / run you will want to cool down with a few relaxing stretches. Firstly, remove your shoes and let your feet breathe again. Apart from these poses you can also repeat Parvatasana and Prasarita Padottanasana.

Vajrasana (Diamond pose)

Vajrasana

Ø   Sit down with your feet inserted under your butt.

Ø Ideally, cross the big toes of your feet but you can also have them just touching.

Ø Rest here for 1-2 mins with deep breathing.

 

 

 

 

Supta vajrasana

Supta Vajrasana (Supine vajrasana)

Ø   Starting in Vajrasana, separate your feet so that they are no more under your butt. Your butt should be on the floor. Ø   Now, stretch your palms backwards and then lower on to your elbows. If your flexibility permits, lower your back on to the floor. Ø After 15 secs slowly come back to vajrasana.       Ø Avoid if you have overly stiff knees which could happen through excessive running too. Please remember never to force the body into postures you are not comfortable in. Listen to your body!

 

Sharnaghat Mudra (Surrender gesture – Relaxation)

Sharnaghat mudra

Ø   From Vajrasana, stretch forward and touch your hands on the floor thereby dropping your upper body over your thighs and stretching your back forwards.

Ø Rest here for 1-2 mins with deep breathing.

 

Some Partner Stretching also helps!

 

Enjoy Yoga! Enjoy Running!!