Yoga for Runners Part II: 5 More Poses for Pre- and Post-Run

Happy one year anniversary, Training for Tuesday! Since the traditional gift for one year is made of paper, I decided to write this blog post and encourage you to print it out and hang it on your fridge. Except maybe don't do that at all, because it contains pictures of me that may or may not be flattering.
On a brief serious note, thank you to my cohost Tracy for collaborating with me to host this linkup for every one of the past 12 months. This monthly check-in was really born out of a great idea of her's sometime last summer, and I'm just happy she let me do my usual butting in and running with things. Secondly, thanks to each and every one of you who have linked up, whether you've joined us every month or like to pop in every once in a while. We hope this linkup has given you a positive outlet and, even moreso, a strong community to turn to with all the many topics we talk about here. Here's to many more.

I believe—surprise, surprise—that the combination of running and yoga is a beautiful fitness, wellness, exercise, and emotional self-care regimen. I've talked enough about both things enough on this blog to probably explain why, but you can find plenty of reasons for both here and here. Throughout these last few months of marathon training, there's been a pretty noticeable shift in my yoga practice focus to hip and hamstring-treating poses.

Sometime last year I shared a couple of yoga postures that I think are a great complement to a runner's fitness routine. Here's another batch to add to your pre- and/or post-run flow to target common runner problems and pains, and that have been worked into nearly all of my home practice sessions this summer.
Disclaimer: I am not (yet, but soon!) a licensed yoga instructor and, as with any physical activity, yoga may pose a certain amount of risk. Be careful performing any of the following poses and don't hesitate to seek the care of a medical professional if they result in any bodily injury.

Dolphin Pose
Like downward facing dog, this pose offers a deep calf and hamstring stretch in a really natural way. Dolphin pose takes the stretch even deeper by lowering your top body to the ground, and goes the extra mile of opening your shoulders and heart space to promote airflow to the lungs and encourage good posture while running and in general. Bonus: it's great prep for pincha (forearm stand)!

Runners Lunge Series
I love this little dancing series or transition between this modified low lunge and the runners lunge. Both poses open up the hamstrings and work the external rotation of the hip and thigh. In this low lunge modification, the reach for the back foot adds in a deep quad stretch and heart opener. The runners lunge helps you breathe into the outer hip flexor of the extended leg and works the psoas muscles on the inside of the hip.

Bound Angle Pose (a.k.a. Cobblers Pose)
I try to do this pose every single day, and very often end my long practices with shavasana meditation in reclined bound angle. I hear a lot of people say the farther out your feet are from your body, the "easier" this pose is. I disagree. If you extend your feet farther out, you can bend as deeply as you'd like, and you'll feel the work in your outer hip flexors. Bring your feet closer, and you'll feel the stretch on the inner hip muscles—and they both deserve some love. Take the pose to a more relaxing place by reclining, and if you recline without using your hands you'll get some core work in the mix as well.

Reclined Hero Pose
Warning: this pose can be tough on tender knees, so enter into it very gently and slowly. The rotation of your outer hip in this pose is deep and constant, and I find that it works that joint in a way very few other stretches are capable of. When you're reclined, you'll feel a deep and delicious quad stretch from hip to knee, plus some serious work on the IT band and sartorius muscle, the latter of which can be difficult to target otherwise.

Happy Baby Pose
I know, I know. There's no way to look cute in this pose. Luckily when it comes around in class everyone's on their backs so you've got an upside-down turtle situation and all anyone can see is the ceiling or their own feet. Anyway. While all the other poses I mentioned are more stretch-focused, this pose is a fantastic hip opener to really release a lot of tension that builds up in your hip flexors while running (and cycling, and sitting, and walking, and standing, and basically existing as an able-bodied human). But you get the hamstring stretch too, and toss in a few rocks back and forth to each side and you'll enjoy a low back massage and some sacrum love.

There you have them. What are your favorite ways to warm up and cool down the body after a workout? Any favorite yoga poses or other stretches? I'd love to hear about them!
And don't forget to grab your button and link up your Training for Tuesday post below! Make sure you jump around and get inspired by the rest of the great group of ladies we have sharing their training and trying stories this month. Happy training, and happy anniversary!


  1. 1. CONGRATULATIONS on your first linky anniversary!! That's so awesome!
    2. I would appreciate if you could please fly to Manila asap and teach me how to do these poses correctly, because let's be honest, I'll be looking like a total goob doing these and will probably fall over while Kobi judges me. Lol!

  2. Yay! Happy Anniversary! I love this link up even when I can't participate, it's great to read others posts! I'm pinning this so I know where to come back because I need these poses in my life!
    Linds @ Not A Mom

  3. Happy Anniversary to Training for Tuesday!

    While I've kind of given up on structured yoga practice, there are still plenty of poses I do on the daily to help stretch some bad areas. Mostly downward dog (never tried dolphin, I'll have to add it in!), pigeon pose, and bound angle. I use a lot of active stretching exercises for my legs, too. It's been so helpful!

  4. Happy link-up anniversary! So thrilled to be a part of it!

    thanks for sharing all the ways you loosen up and replenish your body. Adding at least a few of these into my daily routine!

  5. I wish these poses were socially acceptable to do at my desk because I could really use it now instead of later ! And YAY FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR OF YOUR LINKUP !

  6. I need to find some serious IT band stretches... and do them, per the Chiro. All the hip love!

  7. Happy baby! Some of these would be difficult for me (flexibility just not quite there), but I like happy baby and bound angle a lot (confession - I totally thought this was called "bound ankle"). And I absolutely agree that a combination of yoga and running is the best thing you can do! They complement each other so well, and stretching everything out feels so good after a hard run that leaves me sore.

  8. I totally need to do some of these poses!!!! My hips have been giving me problems lately...and my right knee. Clearly I need to stop fighting the yoga and embrace it.

  9. Those are pretty much all my "love to hate" poses (especially reclined hero and dolphin). I know that means they're good for me, but...

    I've also been finding triangle pose has been great lately for my hips and thighs, if I hold it long enough.

  10. Ughhh yes all of these, I need them so badly! I haven't made time for yoga very much the last few weeks and I'm definitely feeling it. Thanks for the reminder! I'll be giving these some attention before bed tonight :)

  11. I'm not a runner but I think these poses are great for anyone! I sit at a desk all day & my hips tend to get very tight by the end of the day. My favorite pose is the pigeon pose (I think-- where you kind of lay over one leg that is bent underneath you) & could stay like that forever!

  12. happy anniversary girl!! my knees hurt just looking at that reclined hero pose haha so i'll skip that one, but the modified low lunge is legit my fave. it's been so long since i've done yoga, lazy sod. one day i'll get back into it, and i'll try the rest of these poses!

  13. Thanks for this. That first post though ... it looks like I wish I could do it but might regret trying hehe You rock! Saving this post!

  14. These all look like such great poses! I am going to have to give them a go!


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