My Five Favorite Yoga Poses For Runners

Since I do yoga on a weekly basis, I have gone through a lot of different poses during my practice. But, as a runner, I have some of my favorites that I love when they come up during the flow. Today I’m sharing them and why I love them! Don't’ forget to share your favorites in the comments.

Pigeon Pose

Helps loosen up tight hips

  • Begin in a tabletop position (hands and knees on the mat)

  • Bring your right leg forward and sink down so the outer edge is resting on the floor.

  • Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your hips angling toward the floor.

  • Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then step your right foot back under you and repeat on the left leg.

Warrior III

Balance and coordination

  • Begin in Warrior I on your left side.

  • Press your weight into your right foot. Lift your left leg as you lower your torso, bringing your body parallel to the ground. Your arms, still extended, will now reach forward.

  • Flex your left foot and reach out through your heel, as if you're pressing a wall behind you.

  • Keep the muscles of both legs actively engaged. Straighten your standing leg as you continue to lift the left leg, but do not lock your knees.

  • Work toward bringing your arms, torso, hips, and raised leg parallel to the floor. You may need to lower the hip of your raised leg slightly in order to bring your hips parallel to your mat.

  • Stretch your body from your fingertips all the way through your lifted heel.

  • Gaze at the floor a few feet in front of your body.

  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds. To release, exhale as you softly lower your left foot back to the floor, coming again into Warrior I. Repeat on your right side.

Downward Dog

Stretches calves, hamstrings and shoulders

  • Start on your hands and knees in tabletop. Align your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.

  • Tuck your toes under, press into the hands and lift your hips to the ceiling.

  • Using straight (but not locked) arms, press your hips up and back reaching the chest towards your thighs. Lift up through the tailbone to keep the spine straight and long.

Tree Pose

Balance and coordination

  • Begin standing in Mountain Pose, with your arms at your sides. Distribute your weight evenly across both feet, grounding down equally on both sides.

  • Shift your weight to your left foot. Bend your right knee, then reach down and clasp your right inner ankle. Use your hand to draw your right foot alongside your inner left thigh. Do not rest your foot against your knee, only above or below it.

  • Rest your hands on your hips and lengthen your tailbone toward the floor. Then, press your palms together in prayer position at your chest, with your thumbs resting on your sternum.

  • Fix your gaze gently on one, unmoving point in front of you.

  • Draw down through your left foot. Press your right foot into your left thigh, while pressing your thigh equally against your foot.

  • Inhale as you extend your arms overhead, reaching your fingertips to the sky. Rotate your palms inward to face each other.

  • Hold for up to one minute. Step back into Mountain Pose and repeat for the same amount of time on the opposite side.

Lizard Pose

Helps loosen up tight hips

  • Start in downward facing dog.

  • Step your right leg forward, placing your foot facing forward with the big toe of the right foot next to the pinkie of your right hand. (Your right foot should be outside of your right hand on your mat.)

  • Bend your right knee into a lunging position while keeping your left leg extended behind you, balancing on the ball of your left foot and your entire right foot. You can also lower your left knee to the ground.

  • Hold this lunging position for a few breaths. Then, as you like, you can intensify the pose. To do this, bend forward at the waist and place your elbows on the floor in front of you. Your palms and forearms should be flat on the floor.

  • Lift your head and look forward, keeping your neck relaxed.

  • Hold for 10 to 20 breaths, breathing into the hips as you stretch.

  • Release by stepping back into downward-facing dog.

  • Repeat on the other leg.

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