Path to Enlightenment

Let yoga expand your trail training universe

Jeff Grace
Photo: Lachlan and Emily Photography

A unique aspect of trail running is you have to continually adjust your balance with the terrain, so there is a heightened need to develop greater body awareness and core strength.

Incorporating yoga into your trail training plan is a great way to do just that; increasing mobility, improving strength, developing greater body awareness (proprioception) and enhancing recovery.

The following three poses should be used following a run or in a separate strength and mobility session. These three poses allow you to enhance your performance and stay injury free.

Each focussed pose can be done one or two times on each side of the body. The balances can be held anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. If you fall out of balance, treat it as play, smile and get back to standing on one foot.


Standing Figure Four

Addresses hip mobility, hip stability and creates a greater sense of proprioception through balance.

  • Find mountain pose, which for all intents and purposes is perfect posture;
  • Shift your weight onto the right leg putting a slight bend in the knee subtly engaging the quadriceps;
  • Place your palms together with your thumbs in front of the sternum;
  • On an inhale, bring the left ankle onto the right thigh above the knee allowing the hip to rotate externally;
  • On an exhale, bring your seat back into a one-legged chair keeping the right knee pointed straight forward by engaging your glutes.
Standing figure four pose
[/media-credit] Photo: Lachlan and Emily Photography


Releases tension in the quadriceps, develops greater proprioception through balance.

  • Find mountain pose;
  • Shift weight onto your right leg, putting a slight bend in the knee, subtly engaging quadriceps;
  • On an inhale, bring your left heel toward your seat and hold the inside of your left foot with the left hand. (Hold the outside of your foot if needed);
  • Align your knees so they are side by side;
  • On an inhale, bring your right arm overhead, keeping the trap relaxed;
  • On an exhale, kick your left foot into the left hand and then bring your knee back until you feel a stretch in the quadriceps.
Dancer pose
[/media-credit] Photo: Lachlan and Emily Photography

Upright Dragon

Creates greater length and releases tension in hip flexors.

  • Come into a low lunge with your right foot forward;
  • Bring your right knee approximately an inch in front of the toes;
  • Bring your left knee back until you feel  a stretch in the hip flexors of the left leg;
  • On an inhale, place both hands on your right thigh;
  • Hold from 30 seconds to three minutes.
Upright dragon pose
[/media-credit] Photo: Lachlan and Emily Photography