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Yoga for Runners

It’s no secret that running is hard on the body, especially the lower half, with nearly 80% of runners injuring themselves at least once a year. That’s a startling figure, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Cross-training is an excellent example of this. Athletes are now expected to use a multi-disciplinary approach to improve their core sport. Running alone does not produce the best runner, at least not in the long run. In fact, if not supported by sufficient rest and recovery. The quickest method to acquire a chronic injury is to keep repeating the same load-bearing movement pattern day after day. To reduce the risk of injury, adequately recover, strengthen all body tissues, and improve overall fitness. The average runner trains, perform Yoga, bikes, and visits the sauna (among other things) (mind, body, and soul).

There’s no perfect way to end a long run for us at So We Flow… than with a quiet, calm Yin yoga session. But, we hear your question, why are we here?

Why Yin Yoga Is Beneficial to Runners

The Yin (as the name implies) is the antidote to the Yang of running. It’s an ideal addition to any runner’s arsenal because it:

  • Stretches the deep connective tissue and fascia, which are difficult to reach with regular stretching.
  • Due to the long, subtle holds, the target region is lengthened, hydrated, and softened, resulting in a post-massage / spa-like quality.
  • It urges us to take things slowly and balance an intense, furious running session with a calm, introspective one.
  • Gives us time to observe, comprehend, and think about our running exercise, which we wouldn’t usually devote to ourselves.
  • It prepares us for meditation by releasing tension and stress, which can drain vital mental and physical energy that could be better spent moving forward.

These poses and movements have been organized into a full Yin yoga practice that should last about 45 minutes, give or take. The routine meticulously assesses each area of your body that requires attention as a runner, from your feet to your knees, pelvis, and lower back.

We’ve added a 10-second pause between each pose/side to allow subsequent movement.

All you’ll need is a yoga mat and a bolster/pillow/cushion-like item.

Three Ways To Practice at Home Without a Teacher

1. Relax entirely during postures, but ‘do stuff’ in between them.

To set the time length for each pose/side, utilize a countdown timer or a meditation app. Because you’ll be told when the time is over, you’ll be able to completely relax during the pose. The disadvantage is that you will have to reset your timer every time, which may take you out of the zone.

2. Keep an ‘eye open during the position,’ but there’s no need to reset anything.

You can just keep an eye on a watch or stopwatch set to run. You may find that this compels you to constantly check during the poses, implying that you never really rest. You may also exceed the time limit, but this isn’t a significant issue. The main benefit is that you won’t have to deal with a device in-between positions, which is a considerable gain.

3. Do not make any use of anything.

Simply follow your gut. Continue in the position for as long as you feel comfortable. It may be less, or it could be more. This is your most contemplative option, with the most significant depth potential. This choice isn’t for you if you have time constraints or aren’t in the correct mental state to let yourself go with the flow like this.

11 Yoga Poses to Do Before and After a Run

1. Swinging Legs

MOBILISATION TIME TARGET: 20 ON EACH SDE (FORWARD AND BACK), 20 ON EACH SIDE (SIDE TO SIDE)

FRONT & BACK

  • Lift your left leg while standing on your right leg.
  • Swing your leg forwards and backward while keeping your torso straight, ensuring that the movement originates from the hip. Straighten your leg with a micro-bend in the knee if necessary.
  • Start with tiny movements and progressively increase your range.
  • At the end of your forward swing, you should feel the tension in your hamstrings and glutes, and at the end of your reverse swing, you should feel the tension in your quadriceps and hip flexors.
  • Switch legs and repeat.

SIDE TO SIDE

  • Lift your left leg while standing on your right leg.
  • Swing your leg side to side while keeping your body straight; the action should come from your hip. Straighten your leg with a micro-bend in the knee if necessary.
  • Begin with tiny movements and progressively extend your range of motion.
  • At the end of your cross-body swing, you should feel the tension in your outer hip, IT band, and TFL, and at the end of your outward swing, you should feel the pressure in your inner groin (plus contraction of your outer hip).
  • Rep with the other leg.

2. Standing Forward Fold / Uttanasana

TARGET: HAMSTRINGS, GLUTES & LOWER BACK

TIME: 3 MINUTES

  • Stand with your outer foot parallel to the mat’s edge and your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Fold forward from the hips and bend your knees into a micro-bend until you reach a point of tension.
  • For support, place your hands lightly on the ground or raise your arms aloft and grip opposing elbows.
  • Allow gravity and time to alleviate the resistance and feel a progressive softening in the hamstrings and lower back as you go deeper into the posture.
  • Return to standing slowly and deliberately, relying on the strength of your legs rather than your lower back.

3. Malasana/Yogi Squat

WORK ON YOUR FOOT, ANKLE, KNEE, AND PELVIS DAILY!

TIME: 3 MINUTES

  • Spread your feet shoulder-width apart and turn your toes slightly outwards.
  • Squat down while keeping your feet flat on the ground (allow your heels to lift if this is too difficult)
  • Stay in the bottom position as long as possible, attempting to relax and hold.
  • Keep your chest open and avoid rounding your back.
  • If desired, bring your palms together in front of you and between your knees.

4. Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) (with variation)

TARGET: ANKLES NAND FEET ARE THE OBJECTIVES

TIME: TOP OF FEET 1:30 MINUTES, TOES TUCKED 1:30 MINUTES

  • Kneel on the mat, the tops of your feet on the mat. Place a towel or an extra mat under your knees if sensitive.
  • Place your hands on your thighs and sit on your heels.
  • If you prefer, close your eyes or maintain a mild stare. Breathe.
  • Tuck your toes after 1:30 minutes to relieve stress on the underside of your feet.
  • To oppose the compression of the knees, ankles, and feet, slowly come out and straighten your legs out in front.

5. Cobbler’s Pose / Baddha Konasana

TARGET: INNER GROIN & INNER THIGHS

TIME: 3 MINUTES

  • Place your mat in front of you and bring the soles of your feet together.
  • Allow your knees to fall to either side, paying attention to the stretch in your inner groin. If sitting in this position is problematic, sit on a bolster, block, or pillow.
  • When you reach a point of tension, either stay here or proceed to fold forward from the hips, utilizing a bolster, block, or cushion to support yourself.
  • Reduce or remove your support when you feel the tension diminish during the position time to go deeper into the pose.
  • Carefully emerge, drawing your knees together with your arms. To avoid harm to the inner thigh, take things slowly.

6. Revolved Head-of-the-Knee Pose / Parivrtta Janu Sirsasana

TARGET: HAMSTRINGS, OBLIQUES, PIRIFORMIS & GLUTES

TIME: 3 MINUTES EACH SIDE

  • As you sit on your mat, spread your legs out in front of you to parallel them to the floor.
  • Allow your left knee to slip outwards and the sole of your foot to rest against your right thigh as you bring your left leg in close to your body.
  • Stretch from armpit to hips by turning your torso to face your left knee and bending laterally toward your right foot.
  • Bring your left arm up and over your head to intensify the position. If it’s within your range of motion, take your right foot in your left hand and move your right shoulder to the inside of your right knee. Reduce your range of action if it isn’t pleasant or too intense; don’t force it because you just have 3 minutes.
  • Carefully exit the stance and repeat on the opposing side.

7. Low Lunge / Anjaneyasana (with optional bind)

TARGET: QUADS & HIP FLEXORS

TIME: 2 MINUTES EACH SIDE

  • Take a step forward, bending your knee into a lunge with your left leg.
  • Stand up and lunge into your left leg, bringing your right knee to the mat (pad with a pillow or equivalent cushioning device).
  • To improve the quality of the pose, pull your left hip back and push your right hip forward back. Your hips should be in line with each other.
  • Because of something called shear force, it’s typically recommended that your knee not come over the ankle in most yoga poses and movements. However, it is usually fine because your weight is naturally centered further behind you in this stance. Shear force is only a problem in postures and motions. Your center of gravity might easily be shifted due to poor technique.
  • Bring your arms aloft if you want to. You can also do a trailing leg bind by putting your left hand behind you and grasping your right foot. Change the distance between your heel and butt cheek to increase or reduce the intensity. This will be felt strongly in your hip flexor right now.
  • If your right foot isn’t already on the ground, do so now. Bring your hands to the ground as well, and relax out of the pose.
  • Rep the process on the other side.

8. Pigeon Pose / Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

TARGET: GLUTES & PIRIFORMIS

TIME: 3 MINUTES EACH SIDE

  • Get down on your mat and kneel.
  • Bring your left knee forward, keeping your shin perpendicular to the length of your carpet (or as close as possible), and straighten your right leg behind you.
  • To preserve your ankle and keep your hips aligned, dorsiflex your left foot (toes to shin).
  • Place a block beneath your left hip to fill the space and provide support. On this one, put your ego aside and do it even if you don’t believe you need it. You’ll be able to fully relax and release into the pose as a result.
  • To support the elbows, body, or head, place a bolster in front of you.
  • Reduce or remove your support when you feel the tension diminish during the position time to go deeper into the pose.
  • Roll onto your left hip and bring your right leg forward to exit the pose.
  • Rep the process on the other side.

9. Warrior III / Virabhadrasana III

TARGET: GLUTE ACTIVATION

TIME: 20 SECONDS ON EACH SIDE, 2 ROUNDS

  • Stand on your right leg, outstretched in front of you, palms together at your chest.
  • Lean forward while bringing your leg behind you until your leg is parallel to the ground.
  • Preserving a straight line from head to toe, maintaining hip alignment, and keeping your entire body facing down are essential considerations. Allowing your left hip to open up to the left side will be appealing. Don’t worry about it if you catch yourself doing this; just concentrate on driving through your right foot and lowering your left hip.
  • Firmly engage the right leg, but avoid over-contracting the leg muscles. Concentrate on your right glute – feel it if you want to make sure it’s working.
  • Slowly lower the left leg while simultaneously bringing the body to a standing position. Rep with the other leg.

10. Supine Twist / Supta Matsyendrasana

TARGET: IT BAND, HIPS & LOWER BACK

TIME: 3 MINUTES EACH SIDE

  • Lie down on your back with your arms straight out to each side, elbows bent. To your left, bring a bolster or something like that.
  • Bring your right knee to your left side, bolstered, while keeping your left leg straight. You can keep your right knee in place with your left hand.
  • Feel the stretch over your right hip, band, and possibly into your lower back by looking to your right side. A stretch in the right chest and shoulder may also be felt, which is beneficial for tension associated with sitting in a hunched position (for office workers!).
  • To make the posture more intense, grab your right foot with your left hand and bring it across your body absolutely straight. If you’re not sure about it, don’t do it.
  • Slowly come out of the stance and repeat on the other side.

11. Savasana

TARGET: CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM RECOVERY & RELAXATION

TIME: 5+ MINUTES

  • Lie back on your mat, legs slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and arms at a comfortable distance from your body.
  • To open up the back of your neck, let your toes fall to the side and dip your chin slightly.
  • Breathe slowly and naturally, paying attention to each breath. Allow yourself to relax and let go, allowing thoughts to move through you without attachment and simply noticing the current moment and your essential being (deep but true).
  • Allow your central nervous system to regulate and heal by staying here for at least 5 minutes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Yoga Poses for Before & After Running

Will Yoga Improve My Running?

Yoga can help you become more flexible. McFadden says that “Yoga is not only a great compliment to running. However, stretching is crucial for runners, and Yoga is a perfect way to get the recovery your body needs.” Yoga can help improve your stride length and speed.

Does Running Interfere With Yoga?

Yoga is excellent for running, but unfortunately, running isn’t always great for your yoga practice; here’s why. … Ouch, my back: Burning calories while strengthening your core and lower body is one perk of running, but unfortunately, tight hips and hamstrings also come with the territory, which can cause lower back pain.

What Is Runner’s Lunge?

The runner’s lunge is a stretch that strengthens the hip flexors, hamstrings, IT bands (inner thighs), and quadriceps. It is a crescent lunge in Yoga and is a typical warm-up pose for yoga sequences.

Is Yoga Good for Runners Knee?

People with runner’s knee (patellofemoral pain syndrome) can benefit from the gentle muscle-strengthening poses of Yoga. In fact, doing Yoga before or after running can also help prevent runners’ knees in the first place.

Do Runners Need Yoga?

According to Pacheco, “Yoga is the perfect way to recover after running. It helps relieve the soreness and tension in your muscles and restores your range of motion so you can run better next time.”

Which Is Better Running or Yoga?

Yoga is a slower way to lose weight, but it lasts much longer than running. Yoga also improves your metabolic rate, so you will continue to burn more calories throughout the day.

When Should Runners Do Yoga?

Whether you’re a newbie or seasoned yogi, Gilman recommends that runners hit their yoga mats two to three times a week.

Can We Do Yoga Before Jogging?

Yoga can help you prepare your muscles before you run. This will make your body warm and more balanced before you start running. You will be less likely to get injured and have a more pleasant run.

Should I Do Yoga Before or After Cardio?

If you are doing a long, well-rounded yoga class, it is best to start with cardio and end with Yoga. This is because most forms of Yoga are meant to bring your entire body to a state of calm. You don’t want to start with a tranquil state and heat it up with cardio.

How Do You Combine Running and Yoga?

If you want to start running, here is a plan for you. You will need to do three challenging yoga classes per week, which will make you tired. These classes should be like speed workouts for runners. You will also need to run three times per week. On these days, you can run as far as you want or do sprint.

What Does Lizard Pose Stretch?

Lizard Pose is a great stretching posture for the hip flexors, hamstrings, and quadriceps. If you practice Yoga regularly, adding this pose will improve your hip flexibility and strengthen your leg muscles.

Read more: The Benefits of Yoga for Runners, Backed by Research

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