A blog by runners. For runners.

Yoga for runners: balance

A few months back we discussed the importance of balance for runners.

To recap, balance is an essential part of running, as we spend the majority of our time landing on one foot before quickly pushing off the other. Yet, balance tends to be a skill many of us take for granted as we continuously run on paved, even surfaces in our supportive shoes. But when your balance is compromised, you may actually be exerting more energy than you need to.

One of the best ways to improve your sense of balance is through yoga. The beauty of yoga is it naturally forces you to work on stability and steadiness while in awkward positions – often times while twisting or on one leg.

If you’re looking for ways to improve your balance easily, try a few of these poses. Work up to holding these postures for 30 seconds on each side. If you need help finding stability, use a wall for support or what yogis call a drishti. A drishti is a point of focus that a practitioner gazes at to find steadiness. The point of focus should be a spot in front of you that is not moving. Soften your gaze on this spot and see if it helps to improve your sense of balance.

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)Ardha Chandrasana

  1. Begin with your right foot forward and left foot back about 3 ½ feet. Bring your right hand to a block or the floor six inches in front of your right baby toe.
  2. Bend your right knee while lifting your left leg until it’s parallel with the ground.
  3. Turn your chest toward the left, while stacking your left hip over your right, flexing your right foot.
  4. Extend your left hand to the sky. Your gaze can either be toward the floor in front of you or up toward your left hand.
  5. Hold for 10 breaths then step your left foot to meet your right. Repeat on the second side with your left foot forward, right foot back.

Sugarcane (Ardha Chandrasana Chapasana)Ardha Chandrasana Chapasana

  1. Come in to half moon with the right foot forward.
  2. Follow the steps above until you’re steady in half moon.
  3. Bend your right knee, drawing your left heel toward your left glute.
  4. Reach back with your left hand and try to catch the top of your left foot.
  5. If you catch your foot, kick your foot back into your hand, while rolling your chest skyward and your left shoulder away from your ear.
  6. Hold for 10 breaths, gently release your foot, then repeat on the second side.

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)
Virabhadrasana III

  1. Stand at the top of your mat with your feet together and hands at your sides.
  2. With an inhale lift your left knee toward your chest for a round of breath.
  3. Next, begin to lower your chest until it’s parallel with the floor while simultaneously shooting the left leg behind you.
  4. Square your hips to the floor, you’ll likely have to lower your left hip a bit.
  5. Flex your left toes, pointing them toward the ground.
  6. Find a little lift in the chest.
  7. Your hands can either be along side your body or you can reach them forward, palms facing in.
  8. Hold for 10 breaths, re-draw your left knee in toward your chest then set it down next to your right.
  9. Repeat on the second side.

Written by Lisa Chase.

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