Yoga for Runners: 5 Poses You Should Add to Your Post-Run Routine

After a run, gently stretch out your muscles with these five poses

Stretching before a run (or any workout for that matter) is a huge no-no. But cooling down with a few stretches after running is, for the most part, always a good idea.

You don't need to aim for a crazy level of flexibility (in fact, some of the world's fastest runners tend to be less flexible than their competitors), but gently stretching after a run with the following yoga poses can help to relieve and prevent muscle tightness, as well as improve your joint range of motion.

- 5 Yoga Poses You Should Add to Your Post-Run Routine-

1. Downward Facing Dog + Pedal Walk

Start on all fours and raise yourself off the ground into a high-plank position. Keep your core tight as you slowly raise your hips towards the ceiling.  Maintain straight legs as you gently draw your heels to the ground. Keep your palms flat and let your neck relax so that your gaze lands between your feet.

Hold the downward dog position for 5 to 10 breaths. When you're ready, slowly pedal your feet by bending one knee at a time. Repeat for 10 to 12 reps.

(image via Flickr/yogamama-co-uk)

2. Low Lunge + Quad Stretch

From the downward facing dog position, slowly step your right foot forward so that it lands just next to the inside of your right hand. Your right knee should be bent, forming a 90-degree angle. Be sure to keep your right knee aligned with your right ankle. Curl the toes of your left foot under (this will give your foot a nice stretch), place your hands on your right knee and lean into the stretch for 3 to 5 breaths, feeling a gentle pull in your left hip flexor. (You can also clasp your hands behind your back, as demonstrated in the photo, to stretch your chest and shoulders.)

When you're ready, gently and slowly begin to lift your left leg up, drawing your ankle toward your rear as you slowly rotate your core to the right. Gently grab your left foot with your right hand hold for another 3 to 5 breaths, feeling a soft stretch in your left quad.

Repeat this sequence on the other side.

(image via Flickr/yogamama-co-uk)

3. Runner's Stretch

From the low lunge position, being to straighten out your right leg by slowly sitting back, drawing your rear towards your left heel (left toes are still tucked under). While, maintaining a neutral spine (don't hunch your shoulders or round your back) gently reach your hands forward. Only reach as far as feels comfortable for you. If you can reach, grab each side of your right foot with either hand and hold for 3 to 5 breaths.

Repeat on the other side.

(image via

4. Pigeon Pose

From the downward facing dog position, draw your right leg forward and place it just behind your hands so that your shin is parallel (or almost parallel) to the top of your mat. Here your left leg will be extended out behind you. Slowly lower down into the pose as far as your body allows (you should never feel pain, just a gentle stretch.) If your flexibility allows you can fold down over your right leg by lowering onto your forearms or even further by resting your torso on top of your right leg and extending your arms all the way out in front of you.

Slowly come up and return to downward facing dog before repeating the stretch on the other side.

(image via Flickr/yogamama-co-uk)

5. Child's Pose

From downward facing dog, slowly lower your knees to the ground. Spread your knees slightly before you lean back to draw your rear towards your heels. Keep your arms extended out in front of you with your palms flat on the mat. Take a few deep breathes here to relax and cool down completely.

(image via Flickr/yogamama-co-uk)