Whenever we’re in London, you can most certainly find us at our favourite London workout studio, Psycle. Encompassing spinning, barre & yoga classes, this workout studio boasts of the perfect workouts, the most incredible instructors & great smoothies (‘Just Ride’, here’s looking at you). Always on the look out to challenge our fitness regime, we recently sat down with Gemma Soul, Psycle’s Head of Yoga, for some major recovery fitness inspiration. Browse through Gemma’s insider tips & if you’re looking for an extra surprise, all Amanqi readers get a special Psycle benefit (discover this surprise right here).
Pose 1: DOWNWARD FACING DOG
Why: Downward facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is great to open the shoulders, lengthen the spine, back and stretch through the hips, hamstrings, calves and achilles. It’s important when you’ve been firing on all cylinders in one plane of movement to help create space in the body’s joints and start to release the lactic acid and cortisol from the muscle tissue. Start slowly with the steps below.
How: From all fours, tuck the toes under and lift the knees off the floor. Hike the hips way back until your chest and shoulders start to draw up and away from above the wrists. Then start to pedal out the legs, bending one knee and the other. Really important to breathe slowly and deeply and move slowly to be compassionate to your sore achy body!
Pose 2: CRESCENT LUNGE
Why: Lunging helps to open and stretch the hip flexors and the quads which have been working overtime during your marathon hours. Picking up your feet every time you take a step is shortening your hip flexors. The impact on the knees from running will mean they feel stiff so starting to get a little more movement in the knee joint is beneficial also.
How: From downward facing dog, lift one leg up and then step the foot between your hands, drop the back knees and bring your arms into the air. If you feel a little wobbly then bring your hands onto your front thigh. Stay for a minute or two if you can. If you want to progress this then bring one hand down to the floor in front and take hold of the back foot to access the quadriceps and hip flexors even more.
Pose 3: NINJA LUNGE
Why: This lunge opens the adductors (inner thighs) and starts to stretch through the hamstrings and hips a little more deeply. If you can bear to stay up on the ball of the front foot then you also get chance to lengthen the fascia on the sole and stretch the arch of the foot which has been taking the hit of your body weight for the duration of your run.
How: From Crescent lunge turn to the side and lift the back foot up so it’s flexed. Support the pose with your hands on the floor and ease yourself into the stretch, go as deep as you can without causing pain (especially in the bent knee). If you want to take it deeper then start to get your chest a little lower to the floor with a long spine.
Pose 4: WIDE LEGGED FORWARD FOLD WITH BOUND ARMS
Why: Your posture has been slightly rounded over for a few hours and shoulders internally rotating, the weight of your head has also probably been slightly forward, beyond your centre line and this will cause a stress on the upper back and neck. This pose allows for the spine and neck to lengthen with gravity and binding the arms also allows for the chest and shoulders to open, just make sure you squeeze your shoulder blades together to make sure the shoulders are drawing back and not collapsing back in still. And being in a wide leg stance allows again a deeper stretch for the hamstrings and glutes.
How: From your ninja lunge, lift the hips up and turn your feet so that you are ever so slightly pigeon toed. If you are very tight then allow the knees to bend slightly but get your weight forward so you can let go through the upper body. Clasp your hands behind your back squeeze the shoulder blades together and lift arms and shoulders up before taking them over the head. Use a strap or a towel if your shoulders are too strong or tight to clasp the hands.
Pose 5: PIGEON
Why: The pelvis is the centre of your body, your legs come out of it and your spine up from it, it is effectively floating in the middle and so we have a lot of interconnected muscles and connective tissue that keep everything stable. Pigeon pose starts to allow for the gripping of these muscle and tendons to start to release and lengthen. Particularly the glutes, psoas and IT band.
How: From your forward fold, turn to the front right leg and bring it across so your right knee is behind your right wrist and your right ankle is somewhere behind your left wrist or under the belly if you are a little tight. Extend the left leg further back and release the chest forward. If this is painful on the knee, turn onto your back and place the right ankle on the left thigh as an alternative.
Make sure you do all stretches on both sides and stay for a couple of minutes in each stretch to help your body recover more quickly post marathon.
Follow Psycle London: @psyclelondon