I’ve been doing yoga casually for about a year now, mostly as an antidote to aches and pains induced by running, but also as a stress antidote. I’m not very flexible – I can’t even touch my toes – but there are a number of poses I love, either because they’re relaxing or really good for curing sore and stiff muscles.
1. Downward Dog
Probably the best Yoga pose there is because it does just about everything – stretches, strengthens and stimulates all parts of your body. It’s a killer, because along with doing all those things, it also makes everything ache, but it’s perfect for stretching out tight runners’ calves and hamstrings.
2. Wide Child Pose/Child Pose
A resting pose, but also great for stretching out tight quads, especially if you shift your weight from one side to the other. The routine I do uses this as a warm up and resting pose, and it’s great for waking up your leg muscles before launching into more complicated poses.
3. Warrior 1 and 2
The warrior poses are also great for stretching and strengthening your legs, especially when combined with triangle pose. I like these because they aren’t as difficult as downward dog, not so strenuous on your arms and shoulders, but they give your legs a really good stretch.
4. Box with Shoulder Stretch
Going off the names my yoga app gives me here. Box is a crawl position, and if you thread one hand through the box to the other side, it stretches out your back and shoulders and generally works out all the cricks and pains that tend to build up after a day sat at a desk. It’s also quite a nice rest when you have one come up in a yoga routine!
Another quad stretch (are you sensing a theme here? I have hurt my quads and need to do lots of stretching) but combined with some strengthening and balance stuff too. It’s quite a nice pose to hold, stretching out your back and shoulders as well as your legs, making everything feel a little less tight and painful.