When it comes to yoga for runners, there are a lot of sequences out there and a lot of stretch options but when I first became a yoga teacher with a deep running background, I was shocked at how few of them actually knew what a runner needed. Yes, we need hip, yes we need hammies. But the way in which the yoga poses are communicated never really seemed to make sense to me ….I was always asking, “why am I doing this?” “What benefit does this have?” So, when I teach via blog posts, videos, or in person private and group classes, I aim to explain more than a traditional teacher might. I do this so you can start to develop a deeper understanding of your body…a critical thing to learn when you’re in a body intensive sport like running, aimirite?
Whether you learn best by reading, listening, seeing, or doing, I’ve got you covered for this yoga for runners yoga sequence! These 5 poses are some of the best of the best when it comes to post run stretches and not only do we dive into what the poses are but I highlight why these poses can be so effective. If you’re a visual learner, check out the YouTube video below or download the sequence and keep in you car to pull out after you next long run or with your accountability partner on the treadmill! I give significantly more alignment cues in the video, so I encourage you to check it out and let’s do yoga together!
Yoga for Runners
Post Run Sequence on Your Back …. When You Need to Chill (tired, hot, long run…)
You’ll Need: A strap or thin towel you can roll up
Reclined Hamstring Stretch
Start on your back and place a strap or towel on the right foot. Rather than straighten you leg completely, keep your knee slightly bent to get more into the hamstrings. Breath deeply and hold for 10 breaths. Open leg out to the right side but maintain level pelvis (meaning your left hip stays on the ground). Breath for 3-4 breaths. Switch Sides.
Needle’s Eye aka Reclined Pigeon
On you back, cross your right leg and ankle over your left thigh. Get your ankle over your leg to help flex your foot and flare your toes. Keep strong active feet while you interlace your fingers around your left thigh. Pull your leg closer to you as you work your right hip forward and down, right knee moves slightly away from you. 6 full deep breaths and before changing side, release the grip on the legs but keep the leg crossed and move into Diamond Twist.
With your legs looking like they are in needles eye with your right leg on top, pick your hips up and shift them slightly to the right while you lower your feet to the left. The right foot will be on the ground and the right knee moves away from you while you hold on to the ankle with your left hand. Gaze up or over your right shoulder. Hold for 4 breaths and then release – come back into second side for needle’s eye and then repeat second side of the twist.
Reclined Bound Angle
Return your hips to neutral then bring the soles of your feet to touch and allow your knees to open up wide. If this is uncomfortable for your knees, prop them up with a towel, pillow, or blanket. Use this opportunity to fill up towards capacity to help increase your overall lung capacity and then exhale completely, allowing whatever no longer serves you to be swept away.
Reclined Happy Baby
Windshield wiper your knees side to side with your feet flat on the floor. Return to neutral pelvis. With knees bent, lift feet off the floor and reach up catching the outer edge of your foot with your hand. Pull down on the outer side of your foot as you press up through the inner edge. Work your low back closer to the ground as you use the strength of your arms to pull your legs down, knees towards outer side of rib cage. Hold for 10 breaths.
Reclined Childs Pose
With back on mat/floor, hug both knees into your chest. Allow your knees to give a little bit into the support of your arm fold to help your low back release and reset. Extend your legs out long and feet down by your side and take a few moments in savasana, final integration. Usually for athletes, this place of stillness conjours up a lot of squirmy emotions. Notice anything that arises and use the breath to find your awareness – lengthen the breath in and expand the breath out.
Stay in savasana as long as you’d like. Take your time coming out and returning to a seat before heading off into the rest of your day.
If you have any questions about this yoga sequence for runners on your back, let me know. Otherwise, I hope you return to these poses often to really start to notice the effects.