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Although running and yoga may seem like activities that are on opposite ends of the spectrum, they really are complementary activities that work together beautifully. Running is an excellent way to exercise your whole body aerobically at a high level of intensity. The main benefit of running includes gaining muscular strength, better cardiovascular health, and losing weight. It can also be quite meditative.

However, running can be stressful on muscles, joints, and ligaments. It’s estimated that after every mile, your feet will hit the ground around 1,000 times. This means if you run about 20 miles every week, each foot will hit the ground approximately 20,000 times.

This repetitive impact may affect your hips and legs, which can lead to stiffness and sometimes even pain. For you to get rid of these stressful effects of running, practicing yoga before and after you run will help you to stay flexible, limber, and less prone to injury.

Additionally, if you are looking for a way to not get tired when running, these five yoga poses will definitely help and improve your running.

1. Butterfly

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This yoga pose helps in adding flexibility to your groin and hips by opening up your inner thighs. Lean forward a little and the activity also aids in stretching the back. Here’s how to do it:

  • Sit tall on a mat and make sure that the soles of your feet are together, from here interlace your fingers and keep them on your toes when still sitting tall.
  • Next, turn your shoulders back and try to look at a point past the end of your nose tip.
  • Lean forward until you can feel the stretch.
  • While breathing in, imagine that your head is moving towards the wall in front of you and then breathe out, allowing your body to sink close to the floor.
  • For the best results, ensure you hold this position for about thirty seconds.

2. Thread the Needle

picture3If you need a yoga move to stretch the outside of your hips and the inner thighs, then this is it. Do the following:

  • Lie flat on your back on a mat and bring your knee towards your chest at a ninety-degree angle.
  • Position your right ankle on your left thigh and then interlock your fingers while keeping them at the back of your thighs.
  • Try to pull your left thigh towards your chest and hold in this position for about thirty seconds.
  • Allow yourself to relax when you feel the tension building and repeat the pose on the other side.

3. Bridge

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This move will help in opening your shoulders and front of the body as well as strengthen the core. It’s a great activity to counteract the effects of running since the longer we run, the more we tend to hunch forward. Follow these steps:

  • Lie on your back and place your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart.
  • Lift your hips up towards the ceiling while engaging the core.
  • Clasp your hands together underneath your pelvis and roll the shoulders blades towards each other.

4. Seated Spinal Twist

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This pose not only helps to loosen the spine but also ease stiff shoulders and neck after a long run. Here’s what to do:

  • Cross one leg over the other while keeping your knees pointed to the ceiling with the sole of your feet on the ground.
  • Try to reach your opposite hand across your body while pushing it against the outside of the thigh and downwards to your knee to make the twist deep.

 5. Low Lunge

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  • From standing pose lunge the right leg forward until the back left knee touches the ground.
  • Raise the arms above the head and hold for 30 seconds.

These five poses are an excellent way to end any running session. They work the front and back of the legs, strengthen the core, and open the hips. Do them regularly and you should stay a happy and healthy runner.

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picture7Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Emily Carter, founder of GoAheadRunner, where she and her team blog about everything a runner needs, whether you are a seasoned pro or an absolute beginner. The blog provides information on training, running gear, supplements and much more. Follow Emily on Twitter.

17 comments

  1. Love this! Nothing better than stretching out with yoga after a run with all the good endorphins flowing. Will add these to my stretching routine!

  2. Great post. I like the seated spinal twist. I think I am going to even try it out right now to be honest lol. The first time I tried yoga it was really difficult, but overtime I began to notice it wasn’t that hard after all to do sometime techniques.

    I learned that my bones were tighten up a bit. so I have to stretch my body alot in order to achieve my goals.

  3. Nice article. I love running. I used to not enjoy yoga very much, but then I realized that yoga helped balance out my muscles somehow and avoid stress. All the 5 poses are amazing, but bridge is my favorite one.

  4. Some runners also feel the problem of shin splits and knee pain which is why it’s important to stretch and lengthen your quads, calves and hamstrings before you jump onto the track. As much as I loved the article and appreciate the accuracy with which you described all the poses, I believe ‘downward dog’ position should be on the list of every runner.

    It addition to stretching arms and the upper back, it tightens the muscles after repetitive forward and backward swinging. Stretching of muscles reduces the chances of getting cramps or muscle pains.

  5. This is great! I wondered if you could do another post… but for cyclists? I love to combine both yoga and cycling into my week but I never know if I’m doing the best yoga exercises to help me benefit when I’m running.

  6. Through the practices of yoga, we discover that concern for the happiness and well being of others, including animals, must be an essential part of our own quest for happiness and well being. The fork can be a powerful weapon of mass destruction or a tool to create peace on Earth. If you are interested you can join our yoga classes at Hatha Yoga School in Rishikesh, India.

  7. That’s an amazing post. This will surely going to help more people in learning the benefits of Yoga. I appreciate your efforts in writing this much informative post. I am a professional yoga training and has been running a yoga school in Rishikesh, India to help volunteers in learning Yoga and its benefits. You can check my website spirityoga.org for details.

  8. Yoga is the best way to be healthy. Yoga also provides calmness, positivity with decision making power. Yoga is just not good for the runners, it is necessary for everyone. Yoga is helpful in joint and bone health for runners. Bones contain omega 3 nutrient when yoga is not enough for joint and bone health then runners take omega 3 supplements.

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