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best yoga poses for runners
Advice,Fitness,Running,Workout Ideas

Best Yoga Poses for Runners

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I’m on a mini-vacay in Cabo this week. Yahoo! One of the coolest things about getting away (other than getting away) is opening up the blog-o-sphere to other talented fitness, wellness and health professionals! I’ve shared January’s work before, because she’s awesome.

She is the brains and beauty behind January Wellness, creator of the Sugar Detox and fitness professional extraordinaire in San Diego. I was lucky enough to take one of her yoga classes recently and was reminded of just how lovely she is. I’m so happy she wanted to contribute this post today. As an excellent yoga and bootcamp instructor and previous marathon runner, she’s the right person to be talking about the best yoga poses for runners.

Enjoy and Cheers!

(I’ll have an extra margarita (skinny of course) for you today after my beach workout!)

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The Best Yoga Poses for Runners

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I was so excited to see my friend Teresa walk in the door to take my yoga class last week! Teresa is a trusted voice in the nutrition world; in addition to being an avid runner, health enthusiast, and  blogger. A few weeks back she was ready to get her yoga on, she mentioned that she had a race coming up this weekend and her hips were feeling a little wonky.

This always excites me because I truly believe in the power of a good solid yoga session to help athletes restore and recover from all they put their bodies through! Yoga was my go-to cross training during my marathon running years. I know it helped me feel stronger, lighter, and more balanced during the grueling (and very slow paced, I should confess) long distances.

I’m a big advocate of having a solid routine of stretching, mobility, and flexibility if you are involved in any kind of rigorous exercise regularly. Taking care of your muscles and connective tissue after workouts will keep you in the game, prevent injuries, and make you an overall better athlete!

Whether you have a race coming up, or if you just run a few miles here and there, these are my favorite yoga poses specifically tailored to runners. Try adding them into your recovery routine after your next run!

1. Down Dog, with calf/Achilles rolls

This stretch is great as you begin to cool down from your run, to get into the calves, soleus, and Achilles tendon areas.

  • From high plank, lift your hips way up, dipping your head between the arms. Bend one knee at a time slowly, maintaining pressure on both feet, to roll through the soleus and calves.

best yoga poses for runners

  • If you need a deeper stretch, use one foot to gently push the other heel toward the ground.

best yoga poses for runners

Runner’s Lunge Combo

This combo is a juicy hip stretch – especially for psoas and hip flexors, and quadriceps.

  • From down dog, step your foot forward outside your hands, so knee stacks directly over ankle, and toe points directly forward. Keep back knee lifted and hands under shoulders for support of this hip stretch. Hold for 30 seconds.

best yoga poses for runners

  • Drop the back knee to the ground, (be sure to use a towel or cushion) and lift your torso up. Reach your arm up (same side as the back leg) and lean to the side of your front leg. You should feel this in the hip flexor, all the way up into the abdominals, obliques, and even lats/shoulders. Hold 30 seconds.

best yoga poses for runners

  • Bring hands back to the ground, then bending your back leg at the knee, reach the opposite hand back to grab the foot. This twist should feel good in the spine; and feel free to pull the foot closer toward your butt if the quadriceps stretch feels good!

best yoga poses for runners

Lateral Lunge

When running, you are in a repetitive motion for lengthy amounts of time on the same, forward/back (sagittal) plane. So it can be incredibly beneficial to strengthen and stretch laterally (side to side).

  • Step out as wide as you can, feet parallel to each other. Bend the right knee, dropping your weight back into the heel and pushing your butt back. Keep the toe headed straight forward and the knee tracking over the top of the toe. Use your hand down to the ground for support, as needed, and hold 30 seconds. This should be a challenge to hold after a run! Focus the stretch on the inner thigh/adductor of the straight leg. Repeat a few times on each side.

best yoga poses for runners

Seated Hammie Stretch

Ah, the hamstrings. Often the most needed stretch for runners!

  • From a seat, extend your right leg out straight and slightly right, and bring left foot to the right inner thigh. Turn your torso toward the right leg and fold forward, using hands alongside the leg for support. It’s really helpful to breathe deeply in this stretch – on each inhale lifting your torso up a little to find the space for the whole breath, and on the exhale letting the weight of your torso folding down increase the stretch. Hold 1 minute, repeat on the left.

best yoga poses for runners

Seated Pigeon

I like seated pigeon (rather than prone pigeon yoga pose) for runners because it offers a little less pressure on the knees, which can be feeling sensitive directly after a run. Great for glutes and outer hip area.

From a seat, lean back onto your hands, then cross the right ankle over the spot just above your left knee. Then bend your left knee bringing the left foot flat and closer in to your butt. You can sit up taller, or slide the left foot in closer to your butt for more intensity in this stretch. Hold 1 minute, and repeat on the other side.

best yoga poses for runners

Firelog

One more for the glutes, hip flexors, and low back – this pose feels so good in the tight hip crease right after a run.

Start in an easy cross-legged seat. Arrange the left leg so that the shin is facing straight forward. Then stack the right ankle directly on top of the left knee; and when you do the right knee should be hovering directly over the left ankle. This can feel really tight at first; it’s ok if your right knee is really lifted.

best yoga poses for runners

  • Keep the feet flexed to help the knees feel less pressure. Take deep breaths and slowly begin to shift the weight of your torso forward, letting the pose deepen. Hold 1 minute, and repeat on other side.

best yoga poses for runners

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Thank you again January for your expertise and beautiful photos! Be sure to check out her website to see what cool stuff she’s working these days too…including these amazing, potentially life changing retreats she leads…

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January Newland is a fitness trainer, nutrition coach, yoga instructor, and backyard chicken wrangler in San Diego, California.  She works with clients nationwide through her blog, januarywellness.com  and in her online course, the January Wellness Sugar Detox. January specializes in fat-loss, fertility, hormone  balance, and athlete nutrition. She helps clients heal with food, and educates on the true meaning of REAL FOOD, and the nutritional wisdom passed down from our ancestors. Find her on Instagram

What’s your favorite post run stretch? 

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