Lynn Jung will feature in an upcoming issue of The Outdoor Journal. You can make sure that you get your copy, here.
Passionate freerunners often suffer from tight muscles and rigid posture due to the repetitive stresses of training. Here’s how these simple asanas can help you prevent injuries and run free.
Lynn Jung is a Professional Parkour athlete and member of the London based Freerunning Team “Storm Freerun.” Lynn is one of the world’s leading female freerunners. Born and brought up in Luxembourg, Lynn moved to the UK in 2015 to pursue her passion for movement as a career. In 2016 Lynn won the Best Female award at Red Bull Art of Motion in Santorini, Greece.
Not all freerunners follow a regular stretching routine and for many the quests for strength and speed takes up most of their training. However, stretching and flexibility training have their place in Parkour.
Shoulder opening Asanas target muscle tightness in the chest and upper back. Stretching your chest, back and deltoids counteracts bad posture caused by muscle imbalances and tightness. Freerunners often struggle with tight pecs and a rounded back due to repetitive pulling motions during their training.
For those who have not yet attempted to jump over a roof gap or land a precision kong, these yoga moves can help reverse the negative impact of office stresses as well, such as extensive time seated at one’s desk.
Shoulder Opening Yoga Poses
1. Reverse Prayer or Pashchima Namaskarasana
Sit or stand up comfortably, float your arms down to either side of your body and, bending your elbows, reach your arms behind your back. Press your palms together in a prayer position on your spine and reach your hands as high up your spine as possible. Hold for five deep breaths. As an alternative to the fingers or palms touching at the back, the wrists or elbows can be grabbed.
2. Thread the Needle or Parsva Balasana
Come to the floor on your hands and knees. Bring your hips over your knees, and your palms directly under your shoulders with your fingers facing forward. Reach your left arm up to the ceiling and on your exhale thread it under your right arm, bringing your left shoulder to the mat. Rest your head on the mat and keep your hips lifted. Walk your right hand over to the right, and on your exhale, press through the right palm to open the chest towards the ceiling. Lengthen the right side of the torso while twisting your spine. Experiment with different arm positions to deepen the stretch and move around in the pose until you find the release that you need. Make sure to maintain focus on your breathing.
This Asana gently compresses the muscles of your upper chest, opens the upper and outer muscles of your shoulders and releases tension in your neck and upper back.
Upper Trapezius, Levator Scapulae, Rhomboids, Back of Neck, Spinal Erectors
3. Prone Lying Pec Stretch
Lie face down and place your right arm out to the side at shoulder height with your elbow bent, your palm facing down on the floor and your fingers spread apart. Turn your right ear to the floor and, by pressing your left palm down, roll your body to the right side. At the full pose you may have your left knee bent, with your left foot resting behind your right thigh. Increase the stretch by lifting your left arm to the ceiling, then drape the arm behind your back. Allow the side of the head to rest on the floor. Remain here for a few minutes then repeat on the other side.
Pectoralis major and minor
4. Wide Leg Forward Fold with Clasp or Prasarita Padotanasana C
Start in a wide-legged stance and interlace your fingers behind your back. Inhale, squeeze your shoulder-blades and on your exhale, fold your body forward from the base of your spine, keeping your weight on your heels. Bring your hands up and over your head as far as possible. Push your stomach towards your thighs, lengthen your spine and gently release your neck. Stay here for at least 5 deep breaths. Release your hands to your hips and breathe in deeply as you lift back up to stand.
Quads and Hip Flexor Stretches
Here is why every freerunner should look after their hip flexors. Besides causing bad posture and lower back pain, tightness in the hip flexors also reduces our ability to explosively extend the hip, thereby reducing our vertical jump.
5. Low Crescent Lunge with Quad Stretch or Anjaneyasana
Start in a lunge position and lower your back knee to the floor into a crescent lunge. Let your hips settle down and forward and lift your pubic bone toward your navel. If this stretch is enough for you, stay here, or you can inhale and lift your torso. As you do, place your left hand on the outside of your right leg, bend your left knee bringing your left heel towards your bottom, and reach back to grab your foot with your right hand. Press firmly through your entire left hand and gaze toward the right, feeling the stretch deeper. Release the foot back behind you.
Staying in the low lunge position, place your left had on the floor and gently guide the right hip open with your right hand. Let your right foot roll over slightly. From here, feel free to bend your left knee and reach around with your right hand for your foot. This allows for a deep quadricep stretch with an even deeper opening of the hip. Hold for five breaths.
6. Lizard Pose or Utthan Pristhasana
This Asana is all about opening up the hips and groin. From a high lunge position, sink deeply into your hips and lower your forearms to the ground on the inside of your leading knee. Feel free to place your forearms onto blocks if you cannot comfortably bring them to your mat. Now lower your back knee to the floor. Lengthen your spine. If you can, lift your elbows off the floor and reach forwards with your hands. Stay here for five breaths.
The Outdoor Journal teamed up with Lynn at Yogaloft in her hometown of Luxembourg. Yogaloft is a boutique yoga studio with two locations in Kirchberg and Merl offering over 55 weekly yoga classes everyday for all levels in Vinyasa Flow, Iyengar, Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Mindfulness, Kundalini, Meditation and more! To learn more, visit www.yogaloft.lu.
Stay tuned to The Outdoor Journal for more collaborations with Lynn. To follow her Freerunning activities, check out www.stormfreerun.com and www.lynnjung.net
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