Yoga for Runners: 8 Perfect Poses

Moves to stretch out, strengthen where you need it, and kick up your speed

Sure, rolling out your yoga mat isn’t going to give you the heart-pounding, sweat-dripping, body-aching high that your run might—but practicing regular poses is a routine that more and more runners are taking up. And for good reason: Not all yoga is quietly moving from pose to pose while murmuring ‘om’ under your breath. In fact, some forms—such as Astranga, or Power Yoga—are quite the opposite.

“Astranga is a hot, sweaty practice,” says Beryl Bender Birch, founder of The Hard and The Soft Yoga Institute and author of Power Yoga, a manual devoted to yoga for athletes. “What is wonderful about it is that it doesn’t interfere with the strength and endurance that athletes work so hard to build.”[slideshow:558]

Birch focuses on stretching and strength-building as keys to yoga’s importance for runners—emphasizing its benefits for muscle pliability and joint range of motion.

“While you get stronger when you increase mileage, you also get tighter—and that tightness won’t go away unless you make it,” she says.

Your best bet for full benefits? Find a class near you—not only can an instructor help correct poses and suggest moves for your individual trouble spots, but a class can help you master your breathing, which will transfer into your running as well.

But in the meantime, we’ve got you set. Here, eight asanas, or poses, perfect for a post-run or rest-day yoga session.