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Top 9 Yoga Poses For Runners

There are many reasons why we fall in love with running, including a heightened sense of well-being, freedom, and extra energy. This euphoric sensation, known as “runner’s high,” often keeps us wanting more after each run. But, although pounding the pavement is a great way to stay in shape and energized, it also puts you at risk of overuse injuries.

Luckily, you can get more from your running workouts by practicing yoga. Yoga strengthens and lengthens your leg muscles, improves flexibility, and prevents injury. For avid runners, here are 9 yoga poses to boost your health.

Yoga Poses For Runners

1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

The downward dog pose opens the lower spine, hamstrings, and calves – these areas are often tight for runners.

How To Practice

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Make sure your wrists are under the shoulders and your knees are under the hips.
  • Slowly, lift the knees off the floor as you press down on the floor.
  • Lift your hip bones toward the ceiling and push your heels into the ground.
  • Keep your knees micro-bent to create more space in the low spine.
  • Hold for 10–15 breaths.

2. Big Toe Pose (Padangusthasana)

Big-Toe-Pose-(Padangusthasana)

The big toe pose is great for releasing the tension in the lower back and hamstrings as well as developing core strength. If you have tight hamstrings, try to bend your knees a little more and maintain a straight spine.

How To Practice

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly, bend forward from the waist and reach for your big toes.
  • If you cannot touch your toes, you can place your hands on your shins or knees instead. Micro-bend the knees to keep the spine straight.
  • Hold for 10–15 breaths.

3. Half-Split Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

The half-split pose is perfect for releasing the hamstrings and hips. It is also a great preparation to achieve full splits.

How To Practice

  • Start on your knees.
  • Place the right foot in front of you, creating a 90-degree angle with the right knee.
  • Place your hands on either side of your right foot and slowly straighten the leg.
  • Try to keep the spine straight and gaze in front of you.
  • Hold for 10–15 breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

4. Reclining Pigeon (Supta Kapotasana)

Reclining Pigeon (Supta Kapotasana)

A lot of runners do this pose standing up. However, if not done correctly, it can exert undue pressure on the knees. Try the reclining pigeon and see how it works on a deeper level with your hips and glutes.

How To Practice

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Cross your left ankle over your right thigh.
  • Gently, pull your legs toward you for a stretch in the left glute and hamstrings.
  • Keep your left foot flexed to protect the knee.
  • Hold for 10–20 breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

5. Frog Pose (Bhekasana)

Frog Pose (Bhekasana)

The frog pose is a great thigh stretch.

How To Practice

  • Start by lying supine on the floor.
  • Bend the right knee and grab the right ankle from the outside.
  • Keep the knees together as you bring the right heel toward the buttocks.
  • If your knees hurt, separate them or skip the pose entirely.
  • Hold for 5–10 breaths on each side.

6. Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

Bound Angle Pose (Baddha Konasana)

This is a favorite hip opener for most. The bound angle pose can be a great relaxation pose after an epic run.

How To Practice

  • Start by sitting on the floor.
  • Place the soles of the feet together and let the knees fall to the side naturally.
  • Slowly, hinge from the hips and bend forward.
  • Repeat this pose with a curved spine. The curved-spine variation activates the parasympathetic nervous system for better relaxation.
  • You can put yoga blocks under the knees for extra support.
  • Hold for 10–20 breaths.

7. Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

Extended Triangle Pose (Utthita Trikonasana)

The extended triangle pose gives a good stretch for your hamstrings and most of the muscles you use when running. It stretches most of your lower body while strengthening your abs, back, and legs.

How To Practice

  • Stand with your feet wide apart.
  • Align your feet on the mat such that the heel of your right front foot is in line with the arch of your left foot.
  • Turn the left foot 45 degrees inward and roll the right thigh open, keeping the right foot pointed toward the front of your mat.
  • Inhale and raise your arms up to shoulder height.
  • As you exhale, shift your hips toward your left heel. At the same time, lengthen the torso and lower your right hand toward your right foot.
  • You can place your right hand on your shin, ankle, or a block.
  • Reach your left arm up directly above your shoulder.
  • Stay here for 5–10 breaths.
  • Repeat on the other side.

8. Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)

Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)

The reclined hero pose stretches the tight quads, opens the spine, and massages the ankles. You can use blocks and/or a bolster to get into this pose.

How To Practice

  • Start by kneeling on the floor, with your knees gently touching each other.
  • Exhale and slowly sit down between your feet.
  • If your buttocks don’t touch the floor, place a block or a cushion under the buttocks between your feet.
  • You can stop here if you feel pain or immense pressure in the thighs.
  • To go deeper, slowly lean back as far as you can.
  • Hold for 5–10 breaths.
  • Skip the pose if you feel a sharp pain in the knees.

9. Half Lord Of The Fish Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

Half Lord Of The Fish Pose (Ardha Matsyendrasana)

The half lord of the fish pose energizes the spine and ignites the digestive fire. It is also a good body twist that detoxifies the body.

How To Practice

  • Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight in front of you.
  • Cross the right foot over the left knee and bend the left knee.
  • Exhale and twist toward the right thigh.
  • Press your right hand against the floor behind your buttocks. Your left elbow should be on the outside of the right thigh near the knee.
  • Inhale and lengthen the spine.
  • Exhale and twist to the right-hand side.
  • As you twist, push your left elbow against the right knee for a stronger twist.
  • Hold for 5–10 breaths and repeat on the other side.

Practice a few or all of these poses regularly to keep your body in shape and to avoid any untoward injuries while running in the future.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Annie Au

Annie is an avid Yin Yoga and Dharma Yoga teacher. Her Yin Yoga and Chinese Meridians Teacher Training is a comprehensive course based in Yoga and Daoist philosophy. Annie travels around the world including Mexico, US, Canada, and Bali teaching yoga. She has certified over 190 yoga teachers worldwide. Annie holds a Bachelor Degree in Human Kinetics from the University of British Columbia. Annie is a true believer in finding what style of yoga works for you and keep fine-tuning it. She is eternally grateful for her teacher Sri Dharma Mittra, for showing her the most authentic yogic and scriptural knowledge. Annie also studies Tibetan Buddhism and makes time for a silent retreat every year. Annie is a guest teacher at All Yoga Training School.

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