As a runner, practicing yoga is a must for good health. Yoga helps to reduce stress, aids weight loss and eases the pain. It gives you strength and flexibility. Yoga will make you a better runner. For better performance, yoga should be an essential part of your routine.
Yoga helps to increase flexibility, muscle strength, improved bone density and increases focus. As a runner, for stability and to open up the lungs, yoga are great. Practicing yoga helps a runner’s body heal, reduce ache, pains and recover faster from runs. From the wide variety of yoga poses, there are some poses that are good for runners to stretch the lower body, open and strengthen the upper body.
Here we are sharing 10 essential yoga poses for a runner:
1. Downward Dog
To a runner, this pose gives immediate relief. This pose also helps to improve flexibility. Follow the simple steps given below:
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Align your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
- Spread your fingers and press it into your palms.
- Strengthen your legs and raise your hips into an inverted V.
- Keep your spine long and straight.
- Take 5 deep breaths in this pose.
Downward dog is known as “Adho Mukha Svanasana.” It helps to build upper body strength. This yoga asana promotes a fluid range of motion.
2. Squat (Garland Pose)
This pose is known as “Malasana”. This asana stretches your lower back, inner thighs, calves, and feet. This pose can be a little difficult for a runner. Follow the instructions to perform garland pose properly:
- Bend your knees and get into squat position.
- Squat with your knees tracking over the toes and legs at a 45-degree angle from the midline.
- Hold your hands together like you are praying.
- No need to let your heels touch the ground.
- Hold the pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Slowly strengthen your legs and come back to standing position.
Boat pose is known as “Paripurna”. It is useful pose to strengthen your abdominal muscles, spine and hip flexors. Follow the below steps to perform boat pose:
- Sit with knees and ankles together.
- Lift your legs and arms into a V position.
- Hold your 5 to 15 breaths.
- Repeat this exercise 3 times.
- Make sure to keep your back long and straight.
This boat pose protects your lower back from injury. This pose may seem difficult in the beginning. Gradually you will get habituated.
4. Dancer Pose
Dancer pose is known as “Natarajasana”. The pose looks cool when executed properly. It stretches your thigh muscles. This asana helps to improve balance and proprioception. Follow the steps given below:
- Stand tall and bend your right leg back at the knee.
- Reach back with the hand on the same side to grab your foot.
- Lift your arm toward the ceiling as you bring your torso forward.
- Fold forward from the hips and bend your back slightly.
- Hold for five breaths.
- You can hold onto the walls for balance so that you can focus on the back leg.
Natarajasana improves balance and helps with knee pain, hip pain, and ITBS.
5. Pigeon Pose
It is a hip-opening pose for runner to stretch their hip and back. Pigeon pose improves flexibility and prevents injuries. It is known as Kapotasana. This asana helps to improve posture and alignment. It reduces lower back pain and stiffness. Follow the instructions:
- Get down on your mat on your hands and knees.
- Twist your left calf so that your left foot can rest under right groin.
- Sit up and rest on your arm.
- Hold the pose for five breaths.
- Repeat this exercise with right leg.
- Do this exercise five times.
6. Triangle pose
Triangle pose is known as “Trikonasana”. It helps to stretch multiple muscles in your legs. This asana helps to open up through the chest and relieve tension. Follow the steps given below:
- Stand straight and extend your right leg to the side a little more than hip-width.
- Step your feet wide apart about 4 to 5 feet.
- Lower your hand down to rest on your calf or ankle or grab your big toe.
- Feel the stretch in your left side as you raise your left hand straight above your body.
- Take 5 deep breaths and press your right hand to push yourself back to standing.
- Repeat this exercise on the other side, reversing the directions.
7. Low Lunge
Low lunge pose is known as “Anjaneyasana”. To strengthen your hamstrings and quads, low lunge pose is useful. This asana encourages a fluid range of motion helps with knee pain and plantar fasciitis. The steps are given as under:
- Put your one foot forward and lunge so that the front knee will be over the front ankle and the back knee will be down.
- Sweep your arms out to the sides and up overhead.
- Hold this position for 5 to 10 breaths.
- Repeat this exercise in the other side.
This pose helps to improve flexibility in the split-legged position which is similar to a running stride.
8. Locust Pose
Locust pose is known as “Salabhasana”. This asana tonifies the kidney and stimulates the digestive systems. This asana is a little difficult. It is useful for the distance learner. Instructions are given as under:
- Lay on your stomach with your hands by the hips.
- Lift your torso, arms, and legs simultaneously.
- Hold this pose for 5 to 10 breaths.
- To release: exhale and slowly lower your chest, head, arms, and legs on the floor.
Salabhasana helps to tone your butt and hamstrings. The locust pose lengthens the spine and opens the chest. Spine stays flexible due to this pose.
9. Bridge Pose
Another name is “Setu Bandha Sarvangasana”. With bridge pose, you can give tight glues some relief. This pose helps to open up your hamstrings. Follow the simple steps given below:
- Lay down on your back, bend both knees and place the feet flat on the floor hip-width apart.
- Press your elbows and shoulders heads down into the floor.
- Lift your chest and bring your shoulder blades onto your upper back.
- Wrap your arms toward the floor.
- Breathe and hold for 4 to 8 breaths.
Bridge pose improves circulation of blood. It calms the brain and central nervous system. This asana stimulates the lungs, abdominal organs, and thyroid glands.
10. Standing forward bend
This pose is known as “Uttanasana.” It helps to soothe your mind and stimulates the kidneys, liver, and spleen. Follow the given steps:
- Stand with your feet together.
- Bend your knees slightly and fold your torso over your legs.
- Place your hands next to your feet or keep on the ground in front of you.
- Make sure your knees are straight over your toes.
- Try to lift and lengthen your torso with each exhalation.
- Try to hold this pose for 30 seconds.
This asana improves the process of blood circulations. You can use this pose to tone and activate the muscles of the abdomen.
Yoga is a stress buster. It provides lots of perks for a runner. You can stay strong and balanced along with yoga and running. We hope that the above-mentioned yoga poses will be a helpful guide.