8 Yoga Moves for Runners

8 Yoga Moves for Runners

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens your core, quads, calves. Stretches your groin and hips.
Do It: Start standing. Step your legs about four feet apart. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees and align your left and right heels. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms down. Extend your left arm out, tilting your tailbone toward your right foot. Bending from the hip and keeping your right side long, extend your left arm down to the floor, outside your foot, and reach your right arm toward the ceiling. Turn your head to look at your right thumb. Hold for five breaths. Return to your first position, then repeat on the opposite side.

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens ankles, legs, core, upper arms. Stretches groin, legs, knees, ankles. Helps endurance.
Do It: Start standing. Step your legs about four feet apart. Turn your left foot out 90 degrees and align your left and right heels. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms down. Bend your left knee to 90 degrees, knee over ankle. Drop your left arm, bringing your left elbow to rest on your left knee with your palm up, as you draw your right arm up and over, just touching your ear. Keep your thighs firm. Hold for five breaths. Return to your first position, then repeat on the opposite side.

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens quads, arms, ankles. Stretches calves, hamstrings.
Do It: Start on all fours, hands six to 12 inches in front of your shoulders, knees a hip-width apart, toes curled under. Press into your palms and gently lift your hips toward the ceiling, beginning to straighten your legs. Make sure your arms align with your ears. When your body looks like an inverted V, push back through your hips until you feel a stretch through your calves and hamstrings. Hold for five breaths. Return to your first position. Hint: If you feel tight, bicycle your feet, bending first one knee, then the other

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens arms, back. Stretches abs, chest.
Do It: From Down Dog, walk your hands forward into plank position, arms straight, wrists under your shoulders. Bending your elbows, slowly lower your body, stopping a few inches off of the ground. Then lower your body completely onto the floor. Using your back muscles, lift your chest and torso toward the ceiling. Use your arms for balance. The tops of your feet should be flat against the ground. Hold for five breaths. Return to your first position. 

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens core, arms. Stretches hips, quads, core.
Do It: Begin in plank position, arms straight, wrists under your shoulders. Draw your right foot forward, placing your foot between your hands, lifting onto the ball of your left foot. Bring your right hand to the inside of your right foot, then drop both of your forearms flat onto the ground, forearms parallel to your right foot. Drop your left knee to the ground and raise your left calf to the ceiling. Then, opening and twisting your torso, left forearm still on the ground, grab your left foot with your right hand and gently pull the foot toward the back of the thigh. Hold for five breaths. Return to your first position, and repeat on the opposite side.

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens abs.Stretches back, legs, spine.
Do It: Start standing. With legs wide, turn your feet slightly inward. Lean forward from the hip joint, keeping your torso elongated. When your torso is parallel to the floor, drop your hands flat to the mat and walk your hands backward, aligning them with your heels. Continue to drop your torso, until elbows are at a 90-degree angle, head on the floor. Hold for five breaths. Return to first position. Hint: This pose takes time to achievestop wherever you are comfortable, slowly going deeper into the stretch each day.

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens groin, ankles. Stretches groin, ankles, legs, shoulders.
Do It: Start standing. Step your legs about 4 feet apart. Raise your arms to shoulder height, parallel to the floor, palms down. Turn your left foot and leg out 90 degrees and align your left and right heels. Slowly bend your left knee, creating a 90-degree angle with your calf and thigh, left thigh parallel to the floor. Turn your head to look over your left arm and continue to extend your arms outward. Hold for five breaths. Return to first position. 

April Streeter / Model: Eric Loebel

Why: Strengthens abs. Stretches knees, hips, ankles.
Do It: Stand, feet together, with your chest lifted, shoulder blades dropped and hands to your sides, palms facing forward. Shift your weight to your left foot and slowly draw your right knee up toward your chest. Using your left hand, bring your right foot toward your left thigh or hip, eventually resting your foot as high as you can on your leg, with the sole of your foot facing up. Release your knee downward. Lengthen through the spine. Hold for five breaths. Return to first position, and repeat on the opposite side.