I first started Yoga as an experiment. I heard many people talk about yoga’s benefits to mind and body but it wasn’t until I started running that I looked into it seriously. Yoga has turned out to be one of my favorite forms of cross training. It also works wonders for that after running muscle tightness! Every runner I know likes a faster recovery time between runs and these lower body yoga poses are sure to get you back on the road quicker than ever before!
If you are interested in learning why Yoga is great for runners and how you might want to incorporate it into your training program you might like our post – Yoga and Running.
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Lower Body Yoga Poses for Runners
Chair pose is one of my favorite lower body yoga poses. As a runner, it is important to strengthen the joints and muscles of our legs in order to prevent injury. Chair Pose strengthens your thighs, ankles, hips, and back. It is a good toning exercise for your entire body and has been known to help if you have flat feet.
Practicing this pose can help you build endurance and strength but balancing can be tricky at the start. Many people suggest learning to do this pose in front of a wall. When you move your weight backward as though sitting in a chair (hence the pose name) your tailbone should barely touch the wall which will help support you.
Leaning Crescent Pose
Leaning Crescent Pose is a great pose for creating stability, balance, and coordination. Balance might not seem like an important factor in running but trust me, it helps a lot! Especially if you plan on doing any sort of trail running.
This pose helps to stretch your hip flexor’s, groin and legs. If you are just starting out and the full lunge is too difficult you can modify this pose by dropping your back knee to the mat and untuck your toes.
Side Angle Pose
Many runners I know tend to carry a lot of stress and tension in their upper shoulders and back. Especially when starting to grow fatigued on a run which causes our running form to suffer. Side Angle Pose is a wonderful way to release this tension and stretch out our shoulders and back after a long run.
Side Angle Pose is a pose which strengthens the entire body and helps to improve stamina. This pose offers a good stretch for your hamstring muscles and groin and helps to strengthen your knee and ankle joints. If you can’t reach the floor it’s okay to modify this pose and rest your upper arm on your thigh instead.
Seated one Leg Foreward Fold
This is a good pose for stretching out tight leg muscles after a long run. Seated one leg forward fold is a simple and often overlooked stretch that can be highly beneficial. This pose provides a good stretch for all the muscles of your legs from glutes to calves. This pose has also been known to help provide relief from lower back pain.
If you are just starting out in yoga it’s okay if you can’t reach your toes! Simply walk your hands forward as far as you comfortably hold! Your flexibility will improve in time.
Bound Angle Pose is a great stretch for your thighs, groin, and knees. It works wonders for loosening tight hip muscles after a long run and seems to aid in a quicker recovery. While doing this pose it is important not to try and force your knees to the floor! Simply let them lower as far as you can comfortably hold them and concentrate on loosening your hips.
Practicing Yoga is not about doing each pose perfectly and to the fullest extent right from the start! Rather it should be about doing each lower body yoga pose to the best of your current ability and improving over time. Unlike many sports and exercises no pain, no gain does not apply to yoga!