Enjoy running but don’t love the muscle tension or joint stress that comes with it? Try these four simple yoga shapes to ease and lengthen tired leg muscles
Great for: Lengthening the hamstrings. The exercise also relieves mild back pain and is good for spinal health and digestion.
How to: Standing with your feet hip-width apart, step your right foot back about 1 metre, turning your toes in at a 45-degree angle. Inhale and swivel your torso as you lift your left arm above your head.
Exhale, lean forward and place your right hand on a block on the floor near your left foot. Inhale to lengthen the spine, then exhale as you twist and turn to the right, placing your right hand on your hip (or lift it skyward). Hold for 5 steady breaths.
Great for: Lengthening the hamstrings.
How to: From Revolved Triangle, bend your right knee, place your hands on the floor and lower your left knee to the ground (you can use a cushion or towel for padding).
Then lean back and peel your right foot up off the floor until your hips are over your left knee and you feel a big stretch in your right hamstring. (If you find that you’re hunching through the shoulders and/or spine, use some blocks or books underneath your hands for lift.)
Press your right heel into the floor, pull the outer edge of your right foot back and spread your toes. Hold for 10 deep breaths.
Psoas Lunge With Baby Back Bend
Great for: Stretching your psoas (deep hip flexors), chest and shoulders. It will also lengthen the spine.
How to: From Half Split, lean forward and place your right foot flat on the floor, your knee and ankle forming a straight line. Inhale and extend your arms out and above your head to lengthen the spine.
Then exhale, bring your arms down and interlace your fingers behind your head and stretch your chest and shoulders. Either stay in this position for 5 breaths, or inhale the chest forward, up and then into the back bend. Hold for a total of 3 breaths.
Great for: Hips, quads and shoulders.
How to: From Psoas Lunge, take both hands to the floor and walk your right foot over to the left side of your body, drawing the heel in close to your groin.
Place your right hand on the floor and, bending the left knee, bring your left foot in towards your body. Take 5 deep breaths before attempting to take the left foot into your left elbow crease. If that feels OK, balance by taking the right hand out in front and then up and behind your head to clasp your left wrist/fingertips. Hold for 10 breaths, then swap sides.