Running is great for your physical and mental health, but it can be hard on you. Sure, warm-ups and cool-downs help, but incorporating yoga into your running program can really give your body the love it so desperately needs after putting it through its paces. Try one of these yoga routines tailored to fit the needs of runners.
Via Yoga with Adriene
Turn to yogi Adriene Mishler’s excellent flow inspired by yin yoga for a leisurely session. In Mishler’s sequence, you’ll take your time exploring moves like Cobbler’s Pose and a Lunge series that offers intense relief, all while Mishler teaches you how to lengthen your body. The duration of time Mishler holds the poses makes this flow quite intense at points; in fact, Mishler directs those who need additional guidance to her beginner videos and offers advice to those who need extra knee support and comfort. Yoga blocks are also incredibly helpful when it comes to holding lunges and Lizard for an extended period of time.
Via Runners World
This flow designed by yoga instructor Rebecca Pacheco consists of eight simple moves, from Downward Dog to Reclining Cow Pose, that are easy enough for those with basic experience to execute. Toe pose is particularly great for runners because it stretches out the arches of your feet, a notoriously tricky area to care for. The demo video is a must-view no matter what your level. It’s a fantastic reference for those who need extra guidance as well as for those who may want to modify the pose to fit their body’s needs. From there, the clear images and instructions will help you find your form on your own.
Via Yoga TX
This flow, led by yoga teacher Phoebe D. Polakovic, begins with a fantastic lower body stretch, and includes a sequence aided by a yoga strap, which helps to release tension in your inner thighs and hips. Then, after a short but very welcome self-massage segment using a tennis ball to knead out some of the tension in your feet, Polakovic leads you in a short vinyasa flow that includes Runner’s Lunge and an active Downward-Dog-to-Plank sequence. Finally, you cool down with a relaxing Cobbler’s Pose and Legs Up The Wall. Polakovic’s instruction is very thorough, guiding you through form for basic moves like Cat-Cow and Downward Dog, so if you’re still working on getting your form down, this is a great video to check out.
Via Yoga by Kassandra
Yoga teacher Kassandra Reinhardt has created a flow that relies on variations of standbys such as Pigeon and Downward Dog to release tension in your IT band. (Learn more about the IT band here.) These stretches, while not overly complicated, can be a little tricky, especially if you do not have a solid yoga foundation. While Reinhardt does offer some instruction, she does not walk through the minutiae of every movement, essentially assuming that the viewer has a grasp on the fundamentals of each pose. It’s especially important with this flow to know your body so you can feel when you’re properly executing the pose. Beginners, start elsewhere. If you have a solid yoga foundation, consider adding this flow to your running routine.
Yoga instructor Ali Owens takes you through a challenging full-body flow. This intermediate-level sequence is very rhythmic; even pedaling out your Downward Dog has a distinct flow connected to breath. That’s not to say you won’t be relaxed afterward; on the contrary, the connection of movement to breath inherent in vinyasa yoga is very meditative, and Owens makes time for a nice, long Savasana. You’ll find some familiar movements here, including a Runner’s Lunge, Chair, Cobra, Boat and a lovely Seated Spinal Twist. Note: Owens leads the class in Plow Pose, working up to a Supported Shoulder Stand, which is a more advanced pose. Do not attempt this sequence unless you are fully prepared and have worked on these poses with the guidance and support of a yoga teacher. Skip it, or simply perform Legs Up The Wall, as demonstrated in the Yoga TX and Runner’s World videos, instead. Never, ever push your body to the point of injury.
Remember to talk to a medical professional before beginning these or any other workouts, and be sure to listen to your body.