"Yoga provides the perfect cross-training tool for runners by balancing the body with stretching and strengthening, preventing overuse injuries and shorting recovery times."
Yoga is always a great addition to any exercise regimen, so why would running be any different? Though trying something new can be scary, there is no negative consequence to a runner adding yoga onto their routine! Practicing yoga for runners is becoming more common every day. You don’t have to be the most flexible or experienced yogi in order to gain all the bonuses yoga has to offer.
By having running as your only form of exercise, you cause the body and muscles to become unbalanced. Only exercising and strengthening certain muscle groups, while ignoring others, can result in injuries down the line.
Adding yoga to your practice results in increased flexibility, which results in less stiffness and a bigger range of motion. It also strengthens muscles that traditional running ignores, once again stressing the importance of muscle equilibrium.
Though there are no bad yoga poses to add to your practice, we have chosen to highlight 14 of many to offer a full range of focus for the potential yogi runner. Lauren Bhullar shows us how it’s done!
1. Plank Pose:
This pose strengthens your arms and wrists, works your core, and stretches your spine. This can help with posture used while running and helps to balance out your upper body with your runner’s legs.
2. Upward Facing Dog:
Another pose that strengthens your arms and wrist, along with your spine, and improves posture! Upward Facing dog also stretches the chest and shoulders.
3. Forward Fold Variation:
This is a good way to open up your shoulders, chest and biceps. It also lengthens your hamstrings and relieves built-up tension in your neck.
4. Low Lunge Variation:
As much fun as doing a lunge on purpose is, this will help to release tension in your hips while strengthening your knees. It will also stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings and groin.
5. Figure 4 Stretch:
This will stretch your hips and thighs.
6. Boat Pose:
Along with stretching your hamstrings, boat pose will also strengthen the hip flexors, spine and abdominal muscles.
7. Downward Facing Dog:
Any yogi’s favorite pose, downward dog stretches your calves, hamstrings and shoulders while strengthening the arms and legs.
8. Bound Angle Pose:
Bound Angle Pose helps to increase strength and flexibility in your knees, groin and inner thighs.
9. Cow Face Pose:
As fun as the name sounds, Cow Face Pose is another helpful tool for stretching the hips and glutes.
10. Pigeon Pose:
Though this pose is my personal enemy, as my yoga teachers tend to have us hold each side for a full minute, I cannot stress its importance enough! Pigeon stretches your groin but also delivers a deep stretch for the glutes.
11. Triangle Pose:
Don’t be such a square, be a triangle instead! This pose opens up your hip joints while strengthening the legs and buttocks.
12. Pyramid Pose:
Pyramid improves posture and stretches the spine. It also helps to increase strength in your spine, legs and hamstrings.
13. Warrior 1:
Another yoga favorite, warrior 1 opens up your chest and hips while stretching from your arms, shoulders, neck, groin and the ankles. But wait, there’s more! Warrior 1 also strengthens your shoulders, legs, arms and back!
14. Chair Twist:
Though I dread hearing this pose come up in my practice, the affects it creates cannot be ignored. Chair twist improves your overall balance, posture and endurance, which are great for regular runners. It also strengthens your lower back, highs, hips and buttocks. Let’s not forget another pose great for flexibility of the spine!
Though we could have made a list composed of over 30+ important yoga poses for runners, we felt that these 14 offer an overall balance to really benefit someone who runs on a regular basis. Obtaining a strong core and maintaining a balance of strong and flexible muscles throughout the body instead of just what results from running is key!
Although it is often argued whether to stretch before or after going on a jog, doing exercise besides just running is usually recommended. Doing yoga to counteract common runner’s injuries and enhance your running performance is a can, do and must!
Lauren Bhuller teaches Green Locus Yoga's various Yoga for Runners classes and workshops, make sure to keep an eye out HERE to see when her next class is!
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Meredith Schneider is a junior Mass Communications Public Relations major at the University of South Florida. Currently, she is interning with Green Locus Yoga, Meredith gets to combine her love for writing with her love of yoga! You can follow Meredith on Twitter.