If you thought hitting the gymnasium and training vigorously was the only way to gear yourself for a marathon, here’s another option that may be a lot more wholesome and help prepare your body and mind for the event. Yogesh Chavan, who has trained many people including India’s national rifle shooting champion Suma Shirur, has devised a special yoga training, which he believes, will benefit marathoners to a great extent.
The two-hour yoga sessions, which he calls Extreme Yoga, focuses on training the muscles and body parts that needs to be strengthened to be able to complete the marathon. He has put together a module of asanas, which can be practiced as cross training. Along with strengthening of the muscles, the workshop will help increase stamina and provide the runner with the required mental strength to sustain the run.
“This is one the most important aspect that sets yoga apart from physical training. Mental strength is very important to endure a long run as many times before the body gives up the mind does,” adds the yoga instructor. He maintains that in addition to doing the training regularly, a recommended diet and a practicing schedule need to be followed. If followed judiciously, he assures that it can help improve running timings, increase endurance power and the effective recovery after running.
The workshop begins with a few warm up exercises and moves on to asanas of breathing before the actual rigorous asanas. The Guide signed up for a test-run of the Extreme Yoga session with a couple of the asanas, which were part of the training.
In this, lift the right arm up over the head touching the ear. Take the left arm and place it on the right knee. Breathe in and out as you bend so that the left ear touches the left knee. This needs to be repeated with the other arm. This asana was a tad tough to do. But we felt it was a great way of stretching that might help during the run.
Uthan Dwi Paadasan
This asana affects the stomach and the abdomen and it equivalent to doing stomach crunches. One needs to lie on the back, breathe in and then lift up the legs 35 to 40 degrees above the ground. When we held it in that position, we could feel the strain on the legs and the thighs to a large extent. Next, move the legs in a crisscross fashion, rotate them and open and close them in a V-shape. This asana is the perfect alternative to crunches.
Getting this asana right was a little tough but when we did it right the movement was fun and seemed to help in a good way. Lie down and pull your knees as close to you as possible, and hold it in that position. Then, start to roll back and forth in a free flowing motion. The spine should be curved and the movement should have no jerks or stops. This one feels like a swing experience. It has a great potential in stamina building. It also tones the abs and massages the back.
Stand with the feet shoulder width apart. The hands are stretched forward and are parallel to each other. Breathe in and lift the heels up and then bend the knees. The back should be straight. Holding it in that position made our legs and thighs ache. But this is supposed to be one of the most important asanas for the marathon as it strengthens the legs, specially the thighs and the knee joints. As a result it will help marathoners to a great extent.
This is also a stamina building asana, which will help strengthening the abs as well. Lie down on your stomach and move your hands and legs up at the same time. Now rock forwards and backwards like a see-saw. This was one of the toughest asanas to do, but Chavan assured us that doing this asana 10 to 20 times regularly can help increase stamina, immensely.