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12 Best Yoga Poses For Runners

If you’re looking for the 12 best yoga poses for runners, we’ve covered some of the top stretches and breathing movements you can do to work out your muscles and stay limber for your next run. Have a go at a few of these to improve your general fitness, breathing economy, and running stamina.

1) Downward Facing Dog

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog

12 Week HMTP v1.1

The downward facing dog is a great pose that helps to stretch out muscles that may be left tight and uncomfortable after a long run.

Preparation steps:

  1. Start on your hands and knees. Get your wrists into line with your shoulders and your knees into line with your hips.
  2. Point your fingers towards the top edge of your mat, and then stretch your elbows out and relax your back muscles.
  3. Press down firmly with your hands and distribute your weight evenly so you aren’t leaning on one side or the other.

Pose steps:

  1. Lift your knees up from the mat and start to lift your pelvis toward the ceiling.
  2. Straighten your legs, lengthen your spine, and press through your heels and hands.

Hold time: Your choosing.

Rest time: Depends on hold time/needs.

2) Bridge Pose

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Bridge Pose

Bridge

Good for releasing pressure in your hips, this is a great one to do after a run.

Preparation steps:

  1. Lie back with your knees bent and your feet flat.
  2. Rest your upper arms on the mat and bend at the elbow, pointing your forearms toward the ceiling, palms facing each other.

Pose steps:

  1. Press your shoulders and elbows down and lift your chest, straightening your arms to rest on the floor.
  2. Press down with your feet and lift your hips toward the ceiling, straightening your back slowly, keeping your feet parallel with each other.
  3. Lace your fingers under you and take deep, slow breaths.

Hold time: 20-30 seconds.

Rest time: 30 seconds.

3) Warrior Pose

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Warrior Pose

Warrior

Great for the thighs and hamstrings, and opening up the chest.

Pose steps:

  1. Set your right foot about four feet in front of the left and bend into a lunge.
  2. Turn your left heel to 45 degrees and then raise your arms above your head, keeping your shoulders dropped.
  3. Squeeze your shoulder blades in and lift your chin so you are looking at the ceiling. Hold for a few breaths and then swap sides.

Hold time: 30 seconds.

Rest time: 30 seconds.

4) Chair Pose

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Chair Pose

Chair

Quite a tricky one, this exercises your lower legs, arms, abs, and upper legs. The deeper you can “sit,” the better for your muscles.

Preparation steps:

  1. Get your feet parallel and your hips square.

Pose steps:

  1. “Sit” in mid-air, dropping down as low as possible to create an angle of around 90 degrees between your thigh and lower leg.
  2. Raise your arms into the air above you and look at the ceiling.

Hold time: 10-15 seconds.

Rest time: 30 seconds.

5) Plank

Best Core Exercises For Runners - Plank Forearm

plank

A pose that engages plenty of muscles all at once, the plank is a great one for runners to exercise their arms and legs together.

Preparation steps:

  1. Put your wrists underneath your shoulders and get onto your hands and knees.

Pose steps:

  1. Press down through your forearms and hold your chest up; then start to straighten your neck and back, holding your abdomen in.
  2. Step back with your feet to form a straight line and hold.

Hold time: 15 seconds.

Rest time: 30 seconds.

6) Child’s Pose

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Child Pose

Child

One of the most restful poses,

this is an effective method for cooling down after a run and helping all your muscles to relax and stretch.

Pose steps:

  1. Kneel down with your toes together and your knees spread to hip-width. Place your palms on your thighs.
  2. Inhale and on the exhale, lower your torso down to your knees. Extend your arms out, palms down, and relax your shoulders toward the mat.

Hold time: 1-2 minutes.

Rest time: not needed.

7) Garland Pose

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Garland Pose

Garland

If you’re looking to stretch the inner thighs, a garland pose is an ideal option.

Pose steps:

  1. Stand with your feet at the edges of your mat.
  2. Bend your knees, lowering your butt toward the mat while keeping your back straight.
  3. Try to keep your feet parallel.
  4. Put your arms inside your knees and bend them at the elbow, interlacing your hands.
  5. Keep your spine straight, your shoulders relaxed, and sink toward the mat gently.

Hold time: 5 breaths, 10 seconds.

Rest time: 20 seconds.

8) Low Lunge

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Low Lunge Pose

Low Lunge

Low lunge is particularly good for your glutes and stretching out the tension in your hips. Take it slowly and ease into the pose to get good depth.

Pose steps:

  1. Step forward with your right foot and lower your left knee down toward the mat.
  2. Slide your left leg back as you lower it, until you feel the muscles grow taut.
  3. Lift your chest up so your torso is straight and raise your arms above your head.

Hold time: 20-30 seconds.

Rest time: 10 seconds.

9) Butterfly Pose

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Butterfly Pose

Butterfly

A pose that is particularly good for the groin, inner thighs, and knees, this is ideal for runners.

Pose steps:

  1. Sit down and straighten your spine, lifting your head.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together in front of you, with your knees bent to the sides of your body.
  3. Keep your back straight and gently draw your feet to the body, with your knees as close to the mat as is comfortable.

Hold time: 30 seconds.

Rest time: 30 seconds.

10) Tree Pose

Best Yoga Poses For Runners - Tree Pose

Tree

If you’re suffering from sciatica or you want to improve your balance, tree pose is a great yoga move for you.

Pose steps:

  1. Stand up straight and then bring one foot up to rest on the inner thigh of the opposite leg.
  2. Turn your knee out to the side, keeping the toes of your bent leg above the knee of the straight leg.
  3. Slowly raise your arms above your head.

Hold time: 30 seconds or as long as you are able to.

Rest time: Not needed.

11) Upward Facing Dog

Best Yoga Poses For Runners -Upward Facing Dog

Upward Facing Bend

This focuses on toning your upper body, which is really important if you’re a runner, as running generally strengthens your legs.

Preparation steps:

  1. Lie flat on your stomach on a yoga mat.
  2. Bend your arms and rest your palms on the mat, around the level of your chest.

Pose steps:

  1. Press down with your hands and start to lift your torso, keeping your legs out straight.
  2. Inhale and lift up from the floor until your hips and thighs are clear of the mat, with your head tipped back slightly and your neck straight.

Hold time: 40-60 seconds.

Rest time: 20 seconds.

12) Seated Forward Bend

Best Yoga Poses For Runners -Seated Forward Bend

Seated Forward Bend

One of the deepest stretches on the list, this is particularly focused on getting your leg muscles stretched out thoroughly.

Preparation steps:

  1. Sit on your mat with your legs extended in front of you and your back straight.

Pose steps:

  1. Lift your arms up above your head and exhale to start bending forward over your legs. Keep your back as straight as you can.
  2. Staying straight and relaxed, bend as far as you can without collapsing into yourself, using your breathing to sink deeper into the pose. You can use your hands for support.
  3. Come back to upright by inhaling.

Hold time: 40-60 seconds.

Rest time: 30-50 seconds.

12) Bonus – Standing Superman (I’m Cheating in this pose 🙂 )

Best-Yoga-Poses-For-Runners-Cheating-Standing-Superman

So obviously you don’t want your leg locked in place like mine is. Also, your leg, arms, and back need to be leveled out horizontally. What can I say…I’m trying my best! My 80-year-old dad standing next to me.

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Coach Scott is a published author, RRCA certified running coach (Level 2), and an NASM CPT (Certified Personal Trainer). He has published over 20 books including, Beginner's Guide to Half Marathons: A Simple Step-By-Step Solution to Get You to the Finish Line in 12 Weeks! (Beginner To Finisher Book 3), which has become an Amazon International #1 bestseller. Scott specializes in helping new runners become injury-free race finishers. He recently completed his 14th half marathon race. 

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References

https://classpass.com/movements/upward-facing-dog

https://www.ekhartyoga.com/resources/yoga-poses/low-lunge

https://www.yogaoutlet.com/blogs/guides/how-to-do-plank-pose-in-yoga

https://classpass.com/movements/warrior-1-pose

 

12 Best Yoga Poses For Runners12 Best Yoga Poses For Runners

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