Top yoga poses for runners
Fall is right around the corner and it’s the perfect time to pull out that jogging stroller and start running again. But after a long summer of vacations and down time, your body isn’t as fit to hit the pavement like you used to. Tight hips and legs are sure to slow you down and make you more susceptible to injuries.
Yoga is a great way to prepare for running. When you have better balance and flexibility, you’re able to go farther, faster and feel better.
The following poses are specifically for runners and will help with your agility whether you’re just starting out as a runner or preparing for a marathon.
Top 8 yoga poses for runners
Forward fold (Uttanasana)
Standing with both feet shoulder width apart, bend forward at the hips and reach for your toes. Keep your knees slightly bent to avoid rounding your back. Have the crown of your head facing the ground.
- Stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips
- Strengthens the thighs and knees
Standing with both feet together with ankles and inner knees slightly touching, shift your weight onto your right foot. Keeping your spine tall, straight and aligned from the crown of the head all the way down to your right foot. Bending your left knee, bring your left foot to the right inner thigh with the toes pointed down towards the ground. Sweep both arms up towards the sky and have palms facing each other. Practice both sides.
- Establishes strength and balance in the legs
- Stretches groin, inner thighs chest and shoulders
- Improves sense of balance
- Helps with sciatica and flat feet
Reclining Pigeon (Supta Kapotasana)
Lay flat on your back. Bring both knees up so that your feet rest flat on the floor. Bring your right ankle to the tip of your left knee. Threading your right forearm between the thighs and grab a hold of your left hand that’s rested on the outside of the left shin. Gently pull your left knee in towards the chest.
- Stretches the hamstrings and quads
- Releases the lower back and hips
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Begin on your hands and knees. Your hands should be shoulder width apart and your knees being hip width apart. Tucking your toes under, press your hands into the mat, lift your hips up and back. Pressing your hands away from you, draw your heels down towards the ground. Relax your head and align your ears with your arms.
- Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, arches and calves
- Strengthens the arms and legs
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)
Laying face down on your stomach, have the tops of your feet resting a few inches apart. Bring your hands to the sides of your lower ribs. Pressing into the hands, lift your chest and hips off the ground. Press down into the mat and lower your shoulders away from your ears. Lift your chest out and up. Bring your gaze up towards the sky.
- Improves posture.
- Strengthens the spine, arms, wrists.
- Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen.
- Firms the buttocks.
Bridge (Setu Bandhasana)
Laying flat on your back, bring your knees up so that your feet are flat on the floor. Press into your feet to lift your hips off the ground. Clasp both your hands together underneath your hips and draw your shoulder blades together.
- Stretches the chest, neck, spine, and hips.
- Strengthens the back, buttocks, and hamstrings.
- Improves circulation of blood.
- Helps alleviate stress and mild depression.
- Calms the brain and central nervous system.
- Stimulates the lungs, thyroid glands, and abdominal organs.
Lizard (Utthan Pristhasana)
Beginning from the downward facing dog, step your right foot to the outside of your right hand so that your foot is slightly wider than your shoulders. Slowly start to let your hips grow heavy and lower down towards the ground. Come down to your forearms keeping your spine straight and aligned. You can keep your left leg engaged or lower it to the floor for a more restorative pose.
- Opens the hips, hamstrings, groins and hip flexors.
- Strengthens the inner thigh muscles on the front leg.
- Opens and releases the chest, shoulders and neck.
Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)
Laying flat on your back, bring both knees up to a 90 degree angle. Extend your arms into a T shape on both sides. Slowly lower both knees to the right side while turning your gaze to the left. For a deeper twist, grab your right ankle with your left hand and move the right leg slightly back. And place your right hand on the outer left knee. Gently applying some pressure to the left knee.
- Lengthens the spine and hip external rotators
- Detoxifies internal organs and massages abdominal tissues
- Improves spinal flexibility
- Balances sacroiliac joints
- Improves digestion
- Relieves pain in the low back, spine, and hips
Take it slow
As with any new workout regimen, take it slow with these yoga poses and don’t try to force yourself into them. It takes time to gain the flexibility, balance and strength. Honor yourself where you are. Everything is progress, not perfection. <3