Yoga For Runners can be very valuable too for strength training. However, which poses to practice is the question. What I found is a long-time yogi is that the below set of exercises will help you the most. These strength-training yoga poses will improve your hip flexibility and mobility and will also improve your overall core and lower body strength.

Yoga For Runners

Why Yoga For Runners Is Beneficial?

Yoga strengthens all the muscles in your body. It balances the imbalances of muscles and can lengthen shortened tissues.

With all the pounding from running, many of your muscles will be regularly stressed and tightened. Yoga can release that stress and stretch these muscles.

Also, it is one of the cheapest forms of strength training that you can have. To get started, you only need a good yoga mat that is thick and durable. Also, nowadays you get yoga mats with alignment lines that are eco-friendly. Overall, your cost to get started with a strength training routine will hardly be around $30 which can be very convenient for most of us stuck at home.

3 Rules To Stick To

Rule #1: Listen To Your Body

Listen to your body. The flexibility and strength of each body are different. Also, one side of your body is stronger than the other. If you feel pain while doing certain poses, just stop at the point it starts hurting.

If you keep forcing your body, it will get injured severely. Yoga is a gentler form of exercise and one of its principles is ‘Ahimsa’ or non-violence. And this principle extends to yours as well.

Moreover certain exercises like bow pose or other poses like pigeon pose, etc. the stretch can be so strong that it will tear the ligaments if you are not flexible enough.

However, if you keep improving little by little every day, your body will be so strong and supple that you will be able to endure almost anything.

Rule #2: Move With Breath

In yoga, breath is equivalent to ‘prana’ or life. All your yogic movements should be connected to your breath. In fact, to go deeper into a pose, you can use your breath to guide you.

For fun, you can try this experiment, go into a forward bend as much as possible you. Next, with every exhalation, go a bit deeper into the pose. You will be amazed at how much deeper you can go into that pose.

Also, this is an excellent tool to calm your mind, when you are feeling restless and cannot focus in your practice. Take a couple of deep breaths and you will sense the calmness in your body. In fact, you can try this tactic in almost any stressful scenario.

Rule #3: Performing Savasana Is Non Negotiable

Many people are under the belief that savasana is of no use. In reality, it is one of the trickiest and most difficult poses to perform.

However, if you perform 20 mins of savasana it is said that it is equivalent to almost 4 hours of sleep. Also, the amount of stress relief it provides is unparalleled. Also, it will keep you calm in most stressful situations.

Although I cannot prove it, it delays or almost nullifies the onset of DOMS. We used to have almost 20 mins of savasana after every 75 min of yoga practice. However, the next day, I couldn’t find much body pain and I’m talking about the days when I just started yoga. You can also try this and experience it for yourself.

15 Essential Strength-Training Yoga Poses For Runners

1. Surya Namaskar

How To Perform Surya Namaskar?

Surya Namaskar is a set of 12 poses that are done one after the other in continuous vinyasa. I’m describing it with brief descriptions along with a video that you can follow along.

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Also called ‘Prayer Pose’. Stand straight on the floor with your feet together. Join your hands and place them near your chest. In the final position, your wrists will be almost at the same level as the elbow. Take a deep breath and with the inhale move to the next asana.

Hastottanasana (Raised Arm Pose)

Raise your arms above your head. The arms should be close to the ear. Also, there should be a backbend. Go as far as possible for you. Now with exhale move to the next asana.

Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Fold from your hips and try to touch the floor. If it is too difficult, then your can hold your ankles. Now inhale and move into the next pose.

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Extend your right leg back as far as possible. Fold the left knee and it should be as close to the chest as possible. Keep both the palms on the floor. Look up and your neck should be slightly bent backward. Now exhale and move to the next pose.

Dandasana (Staff Pose)

Both your legs are stretched behind you and you will bring your body parallel to the floor with your weight on your arms and feet. It will build muscle and tone your arms, legs, and wrists. Hold your breath and move to the next pose.

Ashtanga Namaskar (Knee Chest Chin Pose)

Bring your knees to the floor while your toes remain tucked in. Bring your chest down to the floor and then your chin. Inhale and move to the next pose.

Bhujangasana (Cobra Pose)

Keep your elbows to the side of the body. Press on your palms and lift your chest and head off the ground while looking upwards. Exhale and move to the next pose.

Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose)

Lift your hips towards the ceiling while keeping your palms and feet on the ground. Your back will remain straight and your hands should remain close to your ears. Also, your elbows shouldn’t be pointing back, rather they should point to the side. Now inhale and move to the next pose.

Ashwa Sanchalanasana (Equestrian Pose)

Repeat this pose with left leg. Exhale and move to the next pose.

Hasta Padasana (Standing Forward Bend Pose)

Both palms touching the feet or holding the ankle. Inhale and move to the next pose.

Hastottanasana (Raised Arm Pose)

Raise your arms with a slight back bend. Exhale and come to the next pose.

Pranamasana (Prayer Pose)

Relax for a breath or two and repeat the 12 poses again for 5-10 times.

Benefits:

  • Strengthens Whole Body – Strengthens legs, ankles, and feet. Improves hip and spine flexibility and also develops core strength. All of these are very beneficial for runners.
  • Teaches motion-breath synchronicity – You move with inhaling and exhale. This helps your body’s coordination with breath inhalation and exhalation which is beneficial when you try to implement rhythmic breathing while running.
  • Improves focus – Since you will be moving with breath, you need to focus on breath to get it right. This improves your focus and concentration.
  • Weight Loss – If you do Surya Namaskar at a fast pace, it elevates your heart rate quickly (speaking from experience as a yoga student) and also simultaneously stretches your abdominal muscles. This will help you to lose weight. Some of the yoga practitioners perform 108 Surya Namaskar every day.
  • Improves lung capacity – Surya Namaskar is meant to be done with deep breaths, or diaphragm breaths. Here will you will expand your belly to take breaths. This gives the lung more space to expand and effectively improves lung capacity.

2. Padahastasana (Hand-to-feet Pose)

Steps:

  • Keep your feet hip-width apart.
  • Inhale and raise your arms above your head.
  • Exhale and bend from hips till your hands touch the floor.
  • Inhale, lift both the forefoot with heels still touching the ground.
  • Place both the palms under your forefeet and place your forefeet on them.
  • Try to go as deep as possible into the pose.
  • Hold for 10 counts.
  • Inhale and come up.
  • Exhale and lower your hands to the sides of the body.
  • Repeat 3-5 times.

Benefits

  • Effective against osteoporosis
  • Stimulates liver and kidneys
  • Improves digestions
  • Strengthens thighs and ankles
  • Stretches and strengthens hamstring, calves, and back muscles
  • Stimulates circulation
  • Relieves stress and tension.

3. Downward Dog To Upward Dog Movement

Steps

  • Start in a downward dog position as you have done it in the Suryanamaskar above.
  • Inhale and drop your hips while lifting your chest upwards.
  • Keep the toes tucked in. You should have a nice arc at your back.
  • Exhale and lift the hips up and drop your chest between your arms.

Benefits

  • Improved core, glute, and hip strength.
  • Improved hip flexibility.
  • Stretch in calf, ankles, and hamstrings.
  • Improved shoulder strength.

4. Warrior I, II and III

We will start this sequence in Warrior I pose and will move onto Warrior II and then Warrior III. Warrior III is very challenging and if you cannot move into that pose, you can temporarily skip that.

Once you get proficient with Warrior I and II, you can work on Warrior III.

Steps

  • Start with your left leg at the back and your left feet at almost 90 degrees to the ankle. You are using your back feet as an anchor so that you can maintain balance in this entire sequence.
  • Your right leg is at the front and bent 90 degrees at the knees.
  • Square your hips to the front.
  • Now inhale and raise your arms above your head. Hold Warrior I pose for 10 breaths.
  • Exhale and lower your hands straight to the shoulder level and perpendicular to either side of the body.
  • Now twist your hips, so that your right hand is pointing at the front and the left hand pointing to the back.
  • You should turn your head to the right to gaze over your right fingertips. Hold the Warrior II pose for 10 breaths.
  • Raise your hand above the head and square your hips to the front.
  • Now keeping your front knee slightly bent, start bending down till your body is parallel to the floor and your arms pointing at the front.
  • Now let go of your back leg and gradually raise it to your body’s level. Hold the pose for 10 breaths and come back to warrior I and then to Samasthiti.

Benefits

  • Strengthens ankles and legs.
  • Strengthens shoulders and back muscles.
  • Tones the abdomen.
  • Improves balance and focus.

5. Chair Pose

Steps

  • Stand straight with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Inhale and lift your arms above your head. Keep your shoulders down and your spine neutral.
  • Exhale and start bending your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your upper body is at an angle of around 30 to 45 degrees with your thighs.
  • Also, be mindful that your knees should not cross your toes, in other words, you should be able to see your toes if you gaze down when in the final pose.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds to 1 min.

Benefits

  • Strengthens your knees, and legs.
  • Strengthens your back.
  • Strengthens your shoulders.

6. High Lunge

Steps

  • Raise your arms overhead.
  • Push down the ribs slightly.
  • Your back neck should be in a straight line or slightly curved back.
  • You can gaze at your fingertips.
  • Bring your left leg to the front with both feet pointing forward.
  • Now bend your front knee and make a 90-degree ankle.
  • Hold the pose for 10 counts.

Benefits

  • Opens groin and hips.
  • Strengthens your legs, knees, and ankles.
  • Stimulates abdominal organs.
  • Increase stamina and lung capacity.
  • Stretches chest and spine.

7. Plank (high and low)

Steps

  • From the downward dog pose using your hip, drive your entire body forward, so that it is in a straight line.
  • Hold it for 10 secs then bend both your hands at the elbow so that your fingertips are pointing in front.
  • Your body is still in a straight line like it was in a high plank. Hold it for 10 secs and go back to high plank.

Benefits

  • Strengths your core.
  • Strengthens and tightens your glutes.
  • Improves your posture and alignment.
  • Keeps your bones properly aligned.
  • Develops strength in your whole body.

8. Dolphin To Plank

Steps

  • Start in a dolphin pose. This pose is much like a downward dog pose however, your palms are clasped together and your forearms are on the floor. Your upper body is supported by the upper arm, elbows, and most importantly, your core.
  • Now tighten your core and with exhale drive your body forward to a low plank.
  • Inhale and go back to the dolphin.
  • Keep doing this until you feel totally exhausted…

Benefits:

  • Strengthens your core.
  • Strengthens and tightens your glutes.
  • Strengthens your shoulders.
  • Effective for raising your heartbeat in a short time.
  • Improves strength of your whole body.

9. Four-limbed staff pose

Steps

  • Start in a downward dog pose and move into a plank. Tighten your entire body.
  • With exhalation slowly lower your entire body down so that it becomes parallel to the floor.
  • Hold the pose for 30 seconds and go back to the full plank pose.
  • Repeat for 3-5 times.

Benefits

  • Strengths your arms and wrists.
  • Improve core strength.
  • Improves awareness of your body.

10. Cobra

Steps

  • Lie flat on your abdomen with the tops of the feet touching the floor.
  • Place your palms at the side of your shoulders.
  • Keep the elbows close to your body.
  • Inhale and start raising your chest off the floor and as high as possible. Your body from the hip should remain on the floor throughout the duration.
  • Hold for 15 to 30 seconds. Exhale and release back to the floor.
  • Do this 3-5 times.

Benefits

  • Strengthens your spine.
  • Stretches your entire frontal body.
  • Firms up glutes.
  • Stimulates abdominal organs.

11. Bow Pose

Steps

  • Lie flat on the floor.
  • Bend your legs from your knees.
  • Hold your ankles with your palms.
  • Inhale and raise your body as high as possible.
  • Exhale and return to starting position.
  • Do this 3-5 times.

Benefits

  • Stretches your entire front body including your hip flexors.
  • Strengthens the back muscles.
  • Improves your posture.
  • Stimulates abdominal organs.

12. Pigeon Pose

Steps

  • From all fours, bring your right knee forward and place it in between your wrists.
  • Now relax your back foot so that the entire leg is on the floor.
  • Straighten your upper body and sit up straight.
  • Now to deepen the pose, fold forward till you reach the floor.
  • Stay for 5 breaths.
  • Exhale and raise your buttocks.
  • Take your front leg back and repeat the above steps with your left leg.
  • Do 3-5 rounds of each side.

Benefits

  • Improves hip mobility.
  • Maintains your hip level.
  • Calms your mind.
  • Excellent groin stretch.

13. Boat Pose

Steps

  • Sit on the floor with your legs bent and feet on the floor.
  • Keeping your back straight, start leaning back until 45 degrees.
  • Now raise your foot straight up balancing your body on your buttocks.
  • You can keep your arms parallel to the floor or raise above your head.
  • Hold the position for 30-45 seconds.
  • Go back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the pose 3-5 times.

Benefits

  • Strengthens hip flexors and spine.
  • Strengthens your abdominal muscles.
  • Stimulates kidneys, prostate, thyroid, and intestines.
  • Improves digestion.

14. Garland Pose

Steps

  • Stand straight with your legs hip-width apart.
  • Start sitting down into a squat position and keep your back straight.
  • Take both of your upper arms between your legs and fold your hands in a namaste position.
  • Now gradually push your knees outwards with your upper arm so that your elbows and forearms are almost parallel to the floor.
  • Stay here for 10 breaths and straighten your legs to come out of it.
  • Do this 3-5 times.

Benefits

  • Opens up hips and groin.
  • Stretches and strengthens the feet and the ankles.
  • Aids digestion.
  • Improves metabolism.
  • Keeps your pelvic and hip joints healthy.

15. Child’s Pose

Steps

  • Kneel on the floor with your toes together and knees hip-width apart or together.
  • Inhale and raise your arms as high as possible and push down your rib cage.
  • Exhale and lower your abdomen till you reach your knees. If knees are hip-width apart, lower it till the chest touches the floor.
  • The palms should be resting on the floor.
  • Rest in this pose as long as you want.

Benefits

  • Stretches your shoulders.
  • Relaxing pose.
  • Improves flexibility.

Ultimate Restorative Pose: Savasana

This is probably one of the most difficult asanas to master and its effectiveness is undervalued.

Steps

  • Lie down on your back on the floor.
  • Spread your arms and legs to a comfortable distance.
  • Close your eyes and tighten your whole body while fisting your hand.
  • Now just let go and relax.
  • Keep your eyes close for the entire pose duration.
  • Bring your consciousness to every part of your body and without moving it relax it.
  • Once you have relaxed all the part, turn to the right side, curl up, and pushing your body with the left hand, come up into a seated position.

Benefits

  • Clams central nervous system.
  • Aids digestion.
  • Calms the mind and reduces stress.
  • Reduce fatigue and headache.
  • Helps lower blood pressure.

What yoga poses you do as part of your routine?

What yoga poses you perform as a runner, let us know…

References

https://www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/g20853895/yoga-for-runners-0/

https://yogawithadriene.com/yoga-for-runners-physical-mental-stamina/


Author

Madhusree Basu - Bestplaygear

Madhusree Basu

Author, Admin

Blogger and a fitness enthusiast. She loves running and Yoga and everything in between. She started running to manage her weight and to eat to her heart’s content. A true foodie at heart she shares whatever knowledge she has gained throughout the years about weight management and fitness.


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