There are many ways to modify a Yoga practice in order to tailor the asana sequence to your individual needs. On any given day, you may find that you need a more vigorous practice or a more restorative Yoga practice. Depending on the other physical activities you are engaged in, a Yoga practice that focuses on strengthening and/or elongating a particular part of your body will help you to continue to participate in a variety of activities that may otherwise cause injury.
If you are an avid runner, you may experience classic running injuries over time. Some of the more common injuries that runners experience are torn Achilles’ tendons, sore knees and a tight lower back. Alternating the surface on which you run will help to ameliorate knee injuries. Often knee injuries are more prevalent in runners who only run on hard surfaces, such as concrete. Torn Achilles’ tendons may be avoided by making sure you wear high quality running shoes and that you warm up adequately before your run.
* Natarajasana or Dancer Pose
Natarajasana is a wonderful Yoga pose for opening up the entire front body, especially the quadricep muscles along the front of the thighs. When the quadriceps are tight, they pull on the muscles of the lower back, which can cause lower back strain or injury. We may not always correlate tightness in the front of the body with back pain, but this is definitely the case! When the muscles and ligaments in the front of the body are tight, they exert more of a pull on the muscles in the lower back.
To offset the tightness in the quadricep muscles that develops from running, incorporating Dancer Pose into your Yoga practice will effectively help to relax and elongate those muscles, thereby releasing lower back tension as well. To practice Natarajasana, come to Mountain Pose at the front of your Yoga mat. Fix your gaze or drishti on a steady point a few feet in front of you on the floor. This will help to steady your mind as you balance in Dancer Pose.
With your next inhale, shift your weight to your left foot and raise your right foot behind you. Grasp the top of your right foot with your right hand. Remember to keep your gaze steady and your right knee in direct alignment with your right hip. Pause for a moment and exhale, and then with an inhale, gently push against your right hand as your raise your right leg behind you. Expand the front of your chest fully with your inhale and shift your gaze to a steady point on the horizon. Hold for three to five breaths, and then release. Come back to Mountain Pose at the top of your Yoga mat, and then repeat Natarajasana on the left side.
© Copyright 2013 – Virginia Iversen / Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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