15 Best Yoga Stretches for Runners
A Step by Step Guide Although most runners are convinced that yoga doesn't make sense because they think they are flexible enough, the reality is that you need a balance of strength and flexibility to be a good runner. Incorporating various yoga poses into your daily routine is all you have to do to become a complete runner. If you are wondering how you can incorporate yoga into your everyday routine, you are in luck. Today we will be discussing the 15 best yoga poses that are ideal for runners. Mountain Pose Popularly known as Tadasana, mountain pose can improve your posture and alignment whenever you hit the track or mat. With a good posture comes improved breathing and circulation whenever you hit the track. Read on to discover how you can do it: Begin by placing your feet hip-distance apart. Let your scapula rest against your back by rolling your shoulders up, back, and down. Now that your body is at ease proceed to rest your head on top of your spine. Roll it up slightly and back on top of the spine. It is time to focus on your imagination as you breathe deeply. You can close your eyes while you are at it. Listen to your body with each exhale, and let your spine lift. Downward Dog Almost every runner is susceptible to hamstring, foot arches, and calve injuries. Shoulder injuries are also common among runners. That is where the downward dog pose comes in since this yoga pose will strengthen the shoulders, hamstring, calves, and foot aches. It can be part of your warm-up or cool-down routine. Read on to discover how you can do it: Bend over slowly and place your hands on the mat. Once you are on your hands and knees, align your wrists under your shoulders and knees. Always remember to keep your hands under your hips when performing this pose.· Once your hands are comfortably on the mat, continue to spread the fingers while pressing into your palms.· Turn the focus to your knees and toes. While you are at it, tuck the toes in and lift your knees slightly off the floor. Straighten your legs and raise the hips to form an inverted V. Now focus on your breathing and your muscle as you breathe deeply. As you continue to breathe deeply, try to straighten your legs and bring your heels towards the yoga mat. Plank Pose Postural support is the difference between a good runner and a poor one. The key to proper postural support is a strong core. Building a strong core should not be hard when you incorporate plank pose into your training program. Plunk pose will help you strengthen your core and, subsequently, your postural support. Plank pose should be your go-to option if you want to build balanced strength. Here is how to do it: Start by placing your elbows on the mat while your fingers are interlocked. Go ahead and tuck your toes while extending your legs. Press up with your hips level with the low back. Once you get comfortable, rest on your stomach or in a child's pores You can also add in side planks Seated Forward Bend Are you preparing for a big run? If you are, trying the seated forward bend yoga pose might help. Popularly known as Paschimottanasana, the seated forward bend stretches out your entire back and helps you relax before your big run. Most of all, it will strengthen your hamstring, calves, spine, and core to create a balance of your strength and flexibility. Apart from being the best yoga pose for any runner who is about to run a big race, a seated forward bend can also improve your mood and a general sense of well being. Here is how to do it: As you are seated facing forward, place your legs straight in front of you. Get comfortable by flexing your toes and making sure your shoulders are soft by sliding your shoulder back behind your back. As you inhale, sweep your hands up and exhale as you bring your hands down next to your feet. Once your hands are by your feet, proceed to reach the outer edges of your feet. Inhale as you pull your feet to make your spine longer and exhale as you bring the crown of your head towards your feet. When you reach your limit go ahead and relax into the pose. You can stay as long as you want. Finally, once you are done, pull your hands through the mat as you get back into a seated position. Tree Pose Your abdominal muscles are an essential muscle group required for your learning endeavors. You need strong abdominal muscles to become a good runner. And a tree pose can help to strengthen your torso to increase strength and improve balance. This yoga pose works on the torso, shoulders, and thighs. It will also strengthen your calves and ankles. Above all, the tree pose will work wonders for you if you have flat feet. Here is how to do it: While standing up with your arms by your feet, raise the right foot and place it against the left thigh in front of you. Let go and lift your arms towards the ceiling as you press in your stomach. Maintain balance as you bring your hands on your chest. Ease your right leg down and repeat the process for the left foot. Sleeping Pigeon Pose Also known as Eka Pada Rajakapotasana, the sleeping pigeon pose is ideal for any runner who wants to open his or her hip. As such, it is perfect for those who are suffering from tight hips. Most of all, the sleeping pigeon pose will stretch tight muscles, increase strength and build balance. Here is how to do it: Go down on all your fours and place your hands below your shoulders and knees below the hips. · Let your left knee touch your left wrist while keeping the left thigh parallel to the side of the yoga mat. Raise your left foot forward slowly until it is in front of your right hip. · If your flexibility allows it, you can take your left foot as far as the front of your mat to make this pose more intense. · Repeat this step for the other leg. Bend-Legged Warrior III A strong core can make you a better runner. Incorporating this yoga pose will increase your core stability whole strengthening your knee. Here is how to do it: While standing, inhale and shift your weight to one leg and lift it off immediately. · Make sure your hips are square to the ground and stretch your arms out over your head. · Go ahead and try to reach the front of the room with the stretched arms while your raised foot tries to reach the back of the room. It is vital to keep the standing leg bent to prevent injury. · Once you are done, shake out the legs before repeating this process for the other leg. Squat Most running injuries are a result of weak hamstrings and glutes. These muscles play a huge role in pulling your legs during the second half of each stride. Adding squats into your training regimen will strengthen your back chain and increase your hamstring mobility. This will improve your running stride. Here is how to do it:· With your feet more than hip-distance apart, point your toes slightly out and inhale as you lift your arms. Go ahead and exhale to shift your weight backward as if you are getting seated.· Track your knees directly over your toes as you inhale to stand up. Finally, repeat this process as many times as you want. Legs Up the Wall Also known as waterfall, legs up the wall is the best yoga recovery pose for runners. This pose removes swelling and speeds up recovery. Besides, it stretches the hamstring to prevent injury. Here is how to do it: Place your mat near a wall and lay on your side with one hip close to the wall. Inhale and lift your legs up to rest on the wall. Stretch up your arms beside you and relax. It is advisable to hold this pose for more than seven minutes. Reclining Bound Angle Popularly is known as Supta Badbha Konasana. This yoga pose focuses on the parasympathetic nervous system to help you calm down and reset your body. Here is how to do it: While lying on your back, bring your feet together and separate your knees. You can place a yoga block on each knee if this is too much for you. As you hold your position, inhale and bring the knees together. After at least two minutes, roll over to one side to come out of the pose. The Twisted Dragon Yoga Pose Your chest quads and hip flexors play a vital role in each stride. The twisted dragon pose can stretch the hip flexors, chest, and quads in one go. Here is how you can do it: With your knees on the yoga mat, lift your right foot gently and place it in front. Untuck the back foot through a lunge. Place your left hand out on the left of your mat with your fingers pointing away. Once you are in this position, lean out and back towards the extended left hand. As you inhale, lift the right arm up and back. Proceed to hold your left foot using your right hand to open your chest towards the ceiling. You can pull your foot towards your body to increase the intensity. You can hold this pose for more than three breaths. Finally, exhale to release and switch sides slowly. Upward Facing Dog Although most runners focus on their legs, paying attention to the upper body is equally essential. That is why runners should include upward-facing dog in their yoga workouts. This yoga pose can open up a tight chest and stretch the entire upper body and shoulders. Discover how to do an upward-facing dog: While laying face down on the floor, extend your legs behind you and spread them a few inches apart. Make sure your feet rest on the mat. Place your hands near your lower limbs and point your fingers at the top of the mat. Hug your elbows close to the ribcage. Inhale and place your hands on the floor to straighten your arms and lift your torso and legs a few inches off the floor. Place the top of your feet downwards while keeping your thighs off the floor. With your elbows pressed by your body, drop your shoulder away from your ears and lift your chest towards the ceiling. · Draw your shoulders back with your chest forward. Never crunch your neck. Only tilt it to face the sky if it is flexible. Turn your thighs and arms slightly inward. Both of your elbow creases should face forward. Hold this pose for about 30 seconds before you exhale and lower your torso and forward slowly to the mat. Low Lunge Low lunge is a variation of the downward dog pose. It stretches the hip flexors codes and hamstrings. To do this pose, you will have to start from the downward dog pose explained above. You should place your right foot between your hands and lower your left knee. When the right knee is in place, slide the left knee back and turn the top of your left foot to the floor. Go ahead and lift your torso upright before sweeping your arms out to the side over your head. Once you are in this position, drop your tail bone towards the floor and face up towards the ceiling. Do this for about ten breaths before switching sides. Toes Pose Toes will stretch the shins and arches of your feet. Hence, it is ideal for runners with plantar fasciitis. Learn how to do the toes pose below: While kneeling on your mat, curl your toes under and sit back on your heels. Take ten deep breaths before pointing your toes. Place your hands behind you as you lean back. List your knees off the mat and enjoy the stretch. 15. Reclining Cow Face Reclining cow face will increase your range of motion in your hips and loosen up your tight hamstring and glutes. Here is how to do it: While lying on your back, close your knees and send your feet out to your sides. Hold on to the right foot using your left hand and your left foot using your right hand. Pull your heels towards your body before releasing them to the sides and slightly up. Hold this pose for about ten breaths. Final Thoughts: Adding yoga to your everyday training program will help make you a better runner and prevent injuries. These 15 yoga stretches are great for runners and will get you started. Also, check out our page on selecting the best shoes for your exercise program. The Best Shoe Reviews for 2021 Disclaimer: The advice given on this website does not constitute or replaces medical advice. Please consult with a doctor before starting any exercise or nutrition plan.