Though yoga is a practice associated with peace, calm, and pretzel-like poses, these yoga poses for summer athletes can also be used as a tool to bolster specialized strength and flexibility needs, and for injury prevention.
Simply put, summer sports like hiking, cycling and trail running can be hard on your body. Period. Many outdoor enthusiasts turn to yoga as a soothing way of recovering. But just which poses are most effective?
Trail running, hiking and biking often create tightness in the pelvis, hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. These yoga poses for summer athletes are meant to stretch, unlock, open, and release these areas to leave you feeling at ease.
If you’re new to yoga, set a goal to flow through these poses for 20 minutes, three times a week. Hold a pose until the tension releases, or do it for a set time, like 30 seconds. Cycle through moves pre- or post-workout, or as an active recovery-day activity. Some discomfort is totally normal, but if a pose is painful, back off slightly. As with anything, getting better takes practice. Enjoy!
Practice These 6 Yoga Poses for Summer Athletes
Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position. Take a deep and full breath as you press your hips up and back toward the wall behind you. Keep your arms straight and strong and your gaze soft and clear as you hold here for three to five breaths. Click here for a full video tutorial.
- Improves circulation
- Stretches and strengthens the entire body
- Stretches the spine
- Helps calm the nervous system
Low Plank (Chaturanga Dandasana)
Come into a plank position (the top of a push-up) from your Down Dog. Stack your shoulders directly over your wrists and hug your arms and legs in towards your midline. Broaden your chest, draw your belly in and up, and lower down half-way (lower your knees for support). Scoop your tailbone in and up so that the muscles around your pelvis and low belly engage. At the end, press back into Down Dog. Click here for a full plank pose tutorial.
- Strengthens arm, shoulder, and leg muscles
- Develops core stability
Crescent Lunge (High Lunge Pose)
From your Down Dog step forward with one foot, placing it in between your hands and keeping your front knee directly over your ankle at a 90-degree angle. Press down into your feet and squeeze your inner thighs in and up toward one another. On your next inhale, take your hands to your hips—pause to find steadiness—then stretch your arms up and overhead. Take three breaths while you hold here. Switch your legs and repeat. Click here for a full crescent lunge tutorial.
- Stretches the groin
- Strengthens arms and legs
Extended Side-Angle Pose (Uthitta Parsvakonasana)
From a lunge position, spin your back heel down onto the mat. Stretch your arms out to the side and on your inhale lift and lengthen your chest, as well as the sides of your torso. Exhale and bring your front hand down to the outside edge of your front foot, or place your elbow on your thigh for extra support. Reach your top arm toward the wall in front of you so that your bicep comes alongside your ear. Hold here for three to five breaths and switch sides. Click here for a full extended side angle tutorial.
- Strengthens and stretches legs, knees, and ankles
- Stretches groin, waist, lungs, and shoulders
- Increases stamina
Triangle Pose (Uthitta Trikonasana)
Come back into Side-Angle Pose and straighten your front leg. Instead of bringing your bicep over your ear, stretch your top arm straight up. Broaden your chest, tighten your belly, hug your legs in, and stretch for three to five breaths before repeating on the opposite side. Note: To avoid cranking your neck, gently tuck your chin in toward your chest. Click here for a full triangle pose tutorial.
- Stretches and strengthens thighs, knees, and ankles; stretches hips, groin, hamstrings, calves, and spine
- Therapeutic for flat feet
Half-Moon Pose (Ardha Chandrasana)
From Triangle Pose, place your bottom hand about six inches in front of you and kick your back leg up off the mat. Powerfully press down into your standing leg and stretch your top arm up. Engage your core for more support and hold for three breaths. Switch sides. Click here for a full half moon tutorial.
- Strengthens abs, thighs, ankles, butt, and spine
- Stretches the groin, hamstrings, calves, shoulders, chest, and spine
- improves coordination and sense of balance
Have any other poses poses for summer athletes you love post run, ride or hike? Comment below to share!