5 Yoga Poses for Runners

Running is one the most popular ways to add cardio to the day. One trend combines running with yoga to maximize performance. While not as complicated as weight lifting or playing sports, there is wear and tear that occurs on the body with every run. Stay in optimal physical condition and prevent running-based injuries by performing the following yoga poses before a run:

Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Why do this pose: Control breathing, increase awareness, improve blood circulation, and harmonize the mind and body.

  1. Stand with feet parallel to each other, big toes touching. Keep balance in the center of both feet.
  1. Engage the thigh muscles to slightly lift the kneecaps. Imagine a line of energy being drawn from the crown of the head straight down through the center of the body.
  1. Widen the shoulder blades and collarbones, letting the arms hang down beside the torso.
  1. Relax facial muscles; place emphasis on softening the eyes, throat and tongue.

Yoga Mountain Pose Tadasana

Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

Why do this pose: Stretch the hips, hamstrings, and calves, strengthen the knees and thighs, relieve tension in spine and neck.

  1. Place hands on the hips and bend forward while exhaling. Lengthen the torso throughout the bend.
  1. Bring palms to the back of the ankles or to the floor if possible.
  1. Slightly lift the torso on each inhale. Deepen the forward bend on each exhale.
  1. Bring the hands to the hips and press the tailbone into the pelvis while bringing the torso back upright. Inhale throughout the movement and be sure not to roll the spine when coming up.

Yoga Forward Bend Uttanasana

Warrior III (Virabhadrasana III)

Why do this pose: Strengthen feet, ankles and leg muscles, improve core strength and endurance, align spine.

  1. Exhale and step one foot back to enter into a high lunge position. The front knee should be bent at roughly 90 degrees and in line with the midline of the torso.
  1. Bring the arms forward into a stretch so that both arms are parallel to the floor and each other.
  1. Press the heel of the leading leg into the floor while exhaling. Raise the rear leg while straightening the front leg. Make sure to keep both leg movements in sync.
  1. Make the arms, torso and raised leg parallel to the floor. Slightly raise the head without compressing the back of the neck.
  1. Repeat on the other side.

Yoga Warrior 3 Virabhadrasana III

Downward Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Why do this pose: Improve posture, get a full body stretch, strengthen stabilizing muscles in feet, improve blood flow, relieve spinal pressure.

  1. Start in a tabletop position. Knees should be below the hips and hands should be slightly ahead of the shoulders. Palms should be spread and toes turned under.
  1. Lift the knees off the floor while exhaling. Keep the heels lifted away from the floor and bend the knees at first.
  1. Stretch heels down to the floor, push the thighs back and exhale. Straighten the knees without locking.
  1. Lift the inner side of both arms through the shoulders, drawing the shoulder blades back towards the tailbone.
  1. Keep the head between the arms, making sure not to let the head hang.

Yoga Downward Dog Adho Mukha Svanasana

Crescent Lunge

Why do this pose: Open the hips, strengthen knees, ankles and waist, lengthen spine, stretch thigh muscles.

  1. Beginning in Downward Dog, step one foot forward while exhaling. Keep the knee aligned over the heel.
  1. Bring the torso up while inhaling. Bring the arms out to the side in a wide sweeping motion until they’re overhead with both palms facing each other.
  1. Lengthen the tailbone downwards, making sure not to overarch the lower back. Tilt the head back and look up, reaching up through the fingers with the arms.
  1. Sweep hands back down while bringing the torso forward and exhaling. Step back the leading foot and return to Downward Dog.
  1. Repeat on the other side.

Yoga Crescent Lunge

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