Are you a runner who wants to improve your running technique as well as find better rest and recovery? Yoga could be just the thing for you! Not only will yoga help you physically, improving strength, flexibility and breath, it will strengthen your mental state as well. Yoga is one of the best workouts for your body, and only stands to help you if you’re a runner. Interested in learning more about yoga for runners? Check out 13 benefits, poses and workouts to try below!
Is Yoga Good For Runners?
Yoga is one of the best workouts for runners. Yoga restores balance and symmetry to the body, increases flexibility and improves strength, making it the perfect complement to running. Here are 5 benefits of yoga for runners.
If you’re looking to increase your strength, yoga is one of the best workouts you can do. It strengthens key supporting muscles that are used in running, as well as muscles that are underused. With regular yoga practice, you’ll strengthen your core, hamstrings, quads and hip flexors, which will help you stave off injuries.
Physical balance is important, but mental balance is crucial too. Yoga emphasizes taking care of our bodies, and balancing working hard with rest, relaxation and recovery. Our bodies need both as runners and learning the importance of balance will help you become a better runner overall.
Breathing properly is a key part of being a good runner. Breathing is one of the most important parts of yoga, guiding you through your practice from one pose to the next. Slower breathing is more relaxing while faster breathing is more energizing.
You can bring this to your running practice, whether you’re doing long distance running that requires slow and more relaxed breathing, or sprinting, which requires faster more energetic breathing. Breath work also increases oxygen intake, helping you perform better with less stress.
Flexibility is so important if you want to be able to move with ease and have a better range of motion. Yoga poses are often held for an extended period of time, loosening your muscles, joints and ligaments and making you more flexible. This helps you run with more freedom and ease.
Posture is the foundation of good running technique. In yoga, you’re taught how to elongate the spine without adding any tension. You learn how to stand taller and stronger, which can be fully carried over to your running practice.
5 Best Yoga Poses for Runners
1. Downward Dog
Downward dog is a quintessential yoga pose, and it’s one of the best poses for runners. It stretches your hamstrings, calves and foot arches, while strengthening your shoulders at the same time.
How to do it: Begin on your hands and knees, with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Spread your fingers, pressing into your palms, and lift your knees off the floor. Straighten your legs and raise your hips into an inverted V. As you breathe and your muscles loosen, straighten your legs more and drop your heels towards the mat.
2. Low Lunge
Low lunge is such a great yoga pose to do post run! It stretches your hip flexors, which can get tight while running, at the same time, strengthening your hamstrings and quads. Your hamstrings and quads are two muscles that work hard while you run, so it’s key to strengthen them when you can.
How to do it: From downward dog position, step your right foot forward between your hands. Lower your left knee and slide it back, while keeping your right knee in place. Lift your torso upright, and sweep your arms out to the sides and up overhead. Drop your tailbone towards the floor and look up. Hold and repeat on the other side.
3. Reclining Pigeon
It may have a funny name, but reclining pigeon pose feels so amazing. It releases tension and tightness in the hips, which can be a major problem for runners.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent, your feet flat on the floor and your thighs hip distance apart. Cross your left ankle over your right thigh. Clasp your hands below your right knee- your left arm will need to reach through the space between your thighs. Flex your left foot, hold, and repeat on the other side.
4. Reclining Spinal Twist
Although your legs do a lot of the work while running, your entire body takes definitely feels the effects. The reclining spinal twist relaxes the lower back, which can become stressed while running, and also stretches the glutes. It massages the back and hips, and helps to lengthen and relax the spine.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Draw both knees to your chest, clasping your hands around them. Extend your left leg down to the floor, while keeping your right knee drawn to your chest. Extend your right arm out to the side, with your palm facing down. Place your left hand on the outside of your right knee and drop your right knee over to the left side of your body. Turn your head to the right and keep your shoulder blades pressing towards the floor. Hold and repeat on the other side.
5. Legs Up The Wall
Legs up the wall is one of the most relaxing yoga poses, helping you relieve tension in your legs, feet and back. Not only is it relaxing, it also stretches your hamstrings and glutes.
How to do it: You can use any open wall space for this pose. Sidle up beside the wall with your hips as close to the wall as is comfortable. Swing your legs up the wall and lie back. Rest here for as long as you need to.
3 Yoga for Runners Workouts to Try
Runner’s Yoga | Yoga with Adriene
After a good run or jog, this workout offers a great release and rehab for your body. It’s an awesome sequence for anyone who runs on a regular basis, using breath to stretch and soothe the muscles of the body. It’s also a great practice to repeat to up your running game! It’s a 30 minute practice that will help you restore balance, find ease and restore your body!
30 Min Yoga for Runners with Ida May | adidas Women
This 30 minute yoga for runners workout focuses on increasing your flexibility so your body can move in the most efficient manner while running. This practice focuses on the hip flexors and lengthening the hamstrings, conditioning key muscle groups and easing tightness so you feel great after a run. Get ready to get your stretch on!
20 Minute Hatha Yoga (For Runners) | Fightmaster Yoga
This yoga sequence focuses on the areas of the body that get tight from running- hamstrings, hips, hip flexors and thighs. You’ll get both stretching and strength building in this practice, both of which will help you become a better runner and recover from regular runs.
It’s easy to see why yoga is so good for runners! If you’re a runner, try these poses and workouts to become a stronger runner and get better recovery!