Fitness Articles

13 Yoga Poses for Runners

A Runner's Guide to Yoga

By Stepfanie Romine, Certified Ashtanga Yoga Teacher         
Page 2 of 5

Sitting tall on your mat, bring the soles of your feet together. Interlace your fingers and place them around the toes. Sit tall, rolling the shoulders back, and gaze past the end of the nose. Lean forward for a deeper stretch, stopping when you start to "feel" the stretch. With every inhale, feel your spine growing longer (imagine the crown of your head reaching out in front of you to the wall); with every exhale, allow the body to sink lower (the chest is getting closer to the floor). TIP: Use blocks under your knees if your hips are particularly tight.

Seated Wide Angle Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)
This pose stretches the hamstrings and calves; the forward fold straightens and lengthens the spine.

From butterfly pose, extend your legs out to either side of you at a 90 degree angle. If you can straighten the legs, flex the feet and engage the quadriceps (by lifting your kneecap) to keep your knees from locking. Lean forward slightly and place your hands on the mat. With every inhale, feel your spine growing longer (imagine the crown of your head reaching out in front of you to the wall); with every exhale, allow the body to sink lower (chest closer to the floor). TIP: Bend your knees as much as you need to, and bring the legs closer together if needed.

Cow-Face Fold (Gomukhasana)
This is one of my favorite poses! It's incredibly effective for stretching the piriformis, a small, hard-to-stretch muscle deep in your glutes, as well as your hips and IT band. The piriformis tends to become tight in runners.

From a seated position, bring your left foot back by your right hip; stack your right knee on top of your left, with your right foot by your left hip. (If your hips are tight, your top leg/knee might stand rather than lie flat—that's OK.) Grab your feet with your hands (left foot in right hand; right foot in left), and lean forward slightly, gazing past the end of your nose. For a deeper stretch, flex your feet. You can also place your hands on the floor in front of you and lean forward to intensify the stretch. Repeat on the other side, with the left knee on top this time. TIP: Make sure both hips stay on the ground in this pose.
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.

Member Comments

  • It took me a long time to learn that yoga is great. Now I practice every day in addition to my runs, they go well together. My morning yoga preps my muscles for an intense run. I don't feel sore or out of breath, or have any issues with my feet or knees any more. - 1/2/2016 9:51:43 AM
  • I love the cow face post and have used it to sit for long periods on floors. But sadly it does not seem to do anything to my IT band. It's still agony to roll it out on a foam roller. - 5/7/2014 7:43:59 AM
  • Very interesting; thank you. - 1/13/2014 5:40:36 AM
  • I love doing the Figure 4 & Pyramid poses, really good stretches! - 12/17/2013 8:14:10 PM
  • I can't do Virasana and I don't know why....hurts my knees and my knees just don't bend into the position...even with a block. - 12/16/2013 10:17:18 AM
  • Oh my gosh! I am so grateful that this article popped up on my feed. I'm so bad about stretching and part of it is because I don't know what to do. Every one of the pictures made me go, "Ooo, yes," like I could feel the stretch. Definitely adding this to the favorites and doing it tomorrow after my run. Thank you! - 10/27/2013 2:10:33 AM
  • Great article--very helpful.

    I understand why these articles are always prefaced by a warning to check with your doctor first, but it makes me laugh. Most doctors are painfully clueless about nutrition or exercise because they are taught to dispense pharmaceuticals instead. You can check with your doctor, but trust me, you probably know a lot more than they do. - 9/14/2013 2:32:42 PM
  • great stretches. Some i'm not sure i'm doing correctly. Would make a good post run video as i can't remember the sequence. - 8/10/2013 10:36:04 AM
  • I love this article! So many poses for that feel good stretch! - 7/25/2013 1:35:31 PM
  • Thank you for the idea on putting into my desktop favorites! I just got diagnosed with tendonitis in my left achilles and this routine is perfect and I can do some in my office.

    - 7/10/2013 12:38:10 PM
  • Thank you for including the sanskrit names! - 7/10/2013 10:33:21 AM
  • this article is PERFECT - im a runner just starting to get into yoga. i already do a few of these stretches, i look forward to incorporating the rest! - 7/9/2013 12:48:10 PM
  • Go to the left and you should see the line on the side with a few things on thete that tell you how to save it. It has a save you button and you press the button and it saved. Good luck - 6/28/2013 4:31:33 PM
    Skippercharlie, thanks for the tip. I was able to save this article in my IPAD . All I did was minimize the screen, and voila! I saw the Heart icon on the left side of the screen . It was easy. This article is now in my favorites and I can go back to it anytime. - 4/24/2013 12:39:47 PM
  • Thanks for the help finding the save icon. It was not apparent to me at all. From a content point of view, this article is perfect for most yogis. Runners might need a little more instruction. - 2/4/2013 10:28:35 AM

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