5 Yoga Poses for Runners
Runners often suffer from chronically tight hip flexors, hamstrings and calves - and that immobility can track up the body into the spine. Being able to lengthen, open and stretch those areas will help with peak performance and preventing injuries. Also, yoga relaxes the body and promotes active recovery. If you’re a runner, try incorporating these five poses into your routine.
1. Ardha Bhekasana (Half Frog Pose)
Overly tight quad muscles can cause knee pain and create excess tension at the hip joints. This pose loosens up the quads and hip flexors. It also stretches the tops of your shins and feet, which can get tight from running. As a heart opener, it strengthens the spine and opens the chest.
2. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (Half Pigeon)
The king of hip-opening poses – this releases the outer hips, as well as the gluteus and lower back muscles. Again, these are three areas that can be really tight on runners, and this over-tightness can lead to injury if not looked after.
3. Supta Padangusthasana (Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose)
Supine hamstring stretches work with gravity to safely open and release the backs of the legs. Tight hamstrings can cause lower back pain and create unnecessary tension in the hips and knees. Use a towel or a strap to help reach your foot if necessary. Whilst in this position, open the lifted leg to the same side to stretch the inner line also. Then draw the leg to the opposite side, across the body, to stretch the outer thigh and IT band. The IT band is a group of muscles that runs along the side of the leg and tends to be extremely tight for runners.
4. Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog)
This classic pose stretches the hamstrings, calves, lower back, and glutes. As an added bonus, it elongates the muscles of the spine and releases tight shoulders. As a mild inversion, it reverse the blood flow in the body, improving circulation and increasing energy.
5. Virabhadrasana III (Warrior 3)
Good for strengthening the feet, ankles, thighs, hips and core muscles - all of which allow for controlled lateral movement. Improving balancing also makes it less likely to twist an ankle or fall down when you're on a trail or any type of uneven ground.