As we move into summer, the longer and warmer days mean that more people are taking their workouts outside. And what’s the most common outdoor workout? You guessed it – running!
But running isn’t for everyone; practising it without being mindful of how your body reacts when exercising might lead you to undesired outcomes, such as injuries. That’s why you should mix your cardio routine with extra mobility and stretch yoga to perform best when running.
Yoga and running are a perfect balance. Running ups the ante on your cardio fitness while yoga takes care of strength and mobility. The fact that they are both magnificent medicine for the mind is a huge bonus!
If you’re not sure how these poses look just from the descriptions, don’t panic – we’ve embedded a video below to help you out.
Great for: Stretching ankles and thighs.
How to: From kneeling, sit back onto heels and place forehead to floor. Stretch your arms in front for more chest stretching or by your side for more restoration. Stay a few minutes.
Great for: Stretching the chest, shoulders, and hamstrings and decompressing the spine.
How to: From the child's pose, come up onto all fours and walk the hands further forwards of the shoulders, spreading fingers. Curl toes under and lift knees to ease bones up and back into the whole shape. If your hamstrings are tight or your shoulders feel rounded, bend your knees to lengthen your spine. Press into earth while spinning lower arms in towards each other. With upper arms, spin them away from each other as if your underarms are checking each other out. Stay ten breaths.
Great for: Core, thigh, arm, and shoulder strength.
How to: From a downward-facing dog, slowly move forwards into a high plank so that shoulders are over wrists. Draw your lower belly in, slide your waist in, and feel the support of your core, as well as a calm and steady breath. Maintain the posture as opposed to hanging out in wrist or shoulder joints. Stay for five breaths.
Great for: Same areas as a high plank, just with a little more intensity.
How to: From a high plank, lean forwards so that shoulders are now forwards of the wrist. On an exhalation, bend elbows to come towards earth (stop about halfway down) with wrists and elbows stacked. Usually, this is a transitional posture, but you could stay and build strength for a few breaths at a time before moving to updog.
Note: For beginners, lower your knees as an option to ensure you don't 'collapse' or sag in your lower back.
Great for: Stretching the chest and shoulders and contributing to the health of your spine.
How to: From chaturanga, inhale and ease your chest forwards and up while rolling over the toes. As you press firmly into your hands, add a slight bend in your elbows and have elbow creases face one another. Start to draw the shoulder blades gently towards one another. Evenly distribute your weight across the whole hand. Take five breaths. Afterwards, press back into downward dog or child's pose.
Great for: Improving mobility in hips, relieving the quads and hip flexors.
How to: From downward dog, step your right foot between the hands and heel-toe your foot out so that the right toe is out slightly and the ankle and knee are stacked. Right big toe and knee point in the same direction. Lower the back knee. Begin to ease your tailbone and hips down and forward to a point where the stretch feels 'edgy', but where you can still breathe. Stay upright on your hands or bring your forearms down to the ground. Take ten breaths.
Step back to high plank – chaturanga – updog – down-dog and repeat on the second side.
Great for: Health of spine and digestion, releasing neck and back muscles, and lengthening out that stubborn ITB, which tends to get stuck from running.
How to: From downward dog, come into a reclined posture. Hug your right knee into your chest and take your hands around your feet or grab an old tie or yoga strap and loop it around your right foot, ensuring your arms are extended and shoulders stay grounded. Inhale and begin to lengthen the back of the right leg; exhale and guide the right leg across to the body towards or to the ground on the left side. Extend right arm out to the right, shoulder height. Ten slow breaths, then swap sides.
Great for: Opening the groin and hips as well as the chest and shoulders and calming the nervous system.
How to: From a seated twist, lie down and bring the soles of your feet together, knees wide. Either stretch your arms out by the side or above your head to grab hold of opposite elbows. Breathe low, slow into the belly, and then move into some box breathing. Inhale, count to five, hold your breath gently for five, exhale the same, and hold the breath out the same, as if breathing equally on the four sides of a box. Enjoy for 2–5 minutes.
Check out Kate's video below for some extra Yoga flow during your summer workout!
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