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4 Yoga Poses to Keep You Running

4 Yoga Poses to Keep You Running

I’ve been running seriously for nearly 30 years now and have no intentions of giving it up for at least a few more decades. Marathons, trails, obstacle courses, sprints, I love it all! In the last five years, yoga has become a non-negotiable in my workout routine, a must-do after long runs, speed-work, gym sessions and sometimes even in lieu of a workout when I just need some active recovery.  
"My message to others is always that you are NEVER too old, out of shape, or non-athletic to try something new or set an audacious goal". - Jennifer Fisher

When I was younger I could run far and fast without incident and never gave much thought (or action) to stretching, mobility or yoga. However as the years passed, I had to work harder to stay in the proverbial game. I realized I needed a comprehensive strategy to help me stay healthy, well and injury-free and yoga was a natural fit in that plan. Taking an hour or 90-minute yoga class in a studio is a luxury I often can’t spare the time for, but by just practicing yoga and moving through a 15-minute flow on my mat at home, helps me to stretch the muscles and ligaments that get so overused in running, which helps to prevent future injuries as I’m getting older. Plus, it slows my go-go-go personality down and allows me to relieve stress and relax.

Let me share with you 4 yoga poses to keep you running that I can’t live without. I often do more than these four poses, but these four are the foundation that I come back to time and time again to activate and stretch my notoriously tight runner’s hamstrings, glutes and hip flexors.

Lizard Pose

From a downward facing dog, step your right foot up to the outside edge of your right hand coming into a lunge. Lower the back knee down and press into your hips. To deepen the stretch, you can come down from your hands onto your forearms. To deepen further, you can tuck the toes and lift the back leg whilst keep the back flat and centrally aligned. Come back to a downward dog and repeat with the left foot. This pose is effective for stretching the hip flexors, hamstrings and quads.

Half Split

When coming out of lizard pose with the back knee on the mat, come on to the heel of your font foot lifting your toes towards you. Keeping your hips squared to the front of your mat, stack the hips over the back knee straightening the front leg. On your inhale you can lift the chest up and forward to lengthen your spine, and on the exhale you can fold down over the straightened leg. You should feel the stretch in the hamstring. If this feels too much, add a little more bend into the front knee and place some yoga blocks underneath your hands.

Forward Fold

For forward fold, stand with feet hip width apart and hinge forward at the hips. Let the crown of your head hang down and lift your sit bones toward the ceiling. If able, press palms into ground or grab elbows with opposite hands. Alternatively you can use yoga blocks (like I am) for a modification that suits your ability. I like the standing version of this pose rather than seated so that I can let gravity help to do some of the work.

Reclining Cow Face

Lie on your back with your legs crossed knee-over-knee, with feet pointing out to the sides. Hold feet or shins with hands and pull heels in towards your body. Hold for around 10 counts and then repeat with legs in the reverse knee-over-knee position. You will feel the stretch in your glutes, hips and hamstrings.

Of course, I wouldn’t be ME, if I didn’t throw a few challenges into my daily yoga practice. I really rely a lot on the yoga blocks to help me with these harder poses. It doesn’t sound intuitive, but for me, using yoga blocks for crow pose makes it easier as it takes the pressure off my arthritic thumb joints. Also, they make a great way to get a “boost” if you are practicing an L-sit or raised lotus.

As I mentioned before, these are my main recovery poses, but other poses I like for running recovery are bridge, triangle, pigeon, upward dog and downward dog.

I’m practicing on the Sticky Yoga Mat in Caribbean Blue and using a pair of the Cork Yoga Blocks in the Turtle design.

Follow more of my running adventures, recipes and training tips at or through my Facebook and Instagram pages!
Keep running!

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