Running isn’t just about speed. Doing yoga alongside running conditions your muscles, limiting the chance of running injuries. Stretching also makes your muscles strong enough to handle the repeated movement of running.
If you’re a runner, you can personalize your practice by doing yoga moves that benefit runners. These moves are simple and can be part of your daily warm up. To get started, check out these five yoga poses for runners.
1. Downward-Facing Dog
Downward-facing dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana) is one of the best yoga poses for runners. It strengthens your calves and hamstrings, giving you support when you run. However, many yoga flows include it because it’s a full body stretch.
- Start on all fours. Place your hands on the mat, shoulder-width apart.
- Position your feet flat on the mat, and lift your knees upward. Your hips should also move up so that your body forms a pyramid. The “point” is your buttocks.
- Straighten your arms and legs as much as you can, and look down at the mat.
2. Head-To-Knee Pose
Another yoga pose for runners is the head-to-knee pose (Janu Sirsasana). It stretches the hamstrings, which can become tight if they aren’t worked on. The pose also prevents pain from frequent running.
- Sit on your mat, and straighten both legs in front of you.
- Bend your right knee, moving the sole of your right foot to meet the inside of your left thigh. Keep both feet flexed at all times.
- Rotate your torso so that you’re facing straight ahead.
- Slowly bend forward from your pelvis. You should feel it in your hamstrings!
- Make sure your chest is facing the center. Keep your back straight, and place your hands wherever they feel comfortable. This can be on your extended foot or on the mat.
- Move your pelvis back up, and straighten both legs.
- Repeat this with the left leg.
Breaths: 5 to 10 each side
3. Bound Angle Pose
Yoga for runners should include hip opening stretches like the bound angle pose (Baddha Konasana). It helps swift movement without aches and pains. Thigh muscles also become much stronger.
- Sit on the mat, and bend your knees. Bring the soles of your feet together.
- Lengthen your spine upward, doing everything you can to avoid slouching. Your knees should be close, if not on the floor.
- Using your hands, bring your ankles closer to you.
- Bend forward slightly while keeping your back straight. Be sure to keep your buttocks and knees on the floor.
Breaths: 5 to 10
4. Pigeon Pose
Like the bound angle pose, the pigeon pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) opens up your hips and they’ll be able to provide support when you run. Your back will also become straight, therefore, helping your running posture.
- Start in the downward-facing dog pose.
- Lift your right leg, and move your knee forward (as if you’re about to do a lunge).
- Place your right knee on the floor just outside of your right hand. While doing this, your left knee would have lowered to the mat. Lift it up, and straighten it behind you.
- Bring your hips down to the mat, while laying the top of your left foot down. Straighten your back, and lift your chest up.
- Lift yourself back up with your arms. Straighten your leg behind you.
- Repeat the move with your left leg.
Breaths: 5 to 10 each side
5. Bridge Pose
The bridge pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana) – also known as the half wheel – reinforces your back while enhancing spine mobility and improving posture. It is a good yoga stretch for runners.
- Lie down on your back; then, lift your hips upward, starting from the bottom of your spine.
- Move your shoulders to bring your hands underneath your body. Clasp your hands together if you like.
- Make sure your feet are planted on the ground. Press into them, so that your glutes are also exercised. Then, stretch your chest outward.
Breaths: 5 to 7
By doing yoga for runners, you’ll get the most out of your practice. Don’t forget to modify moves to fit your comfort level, and don’t force the moves if they cause pain.