3 Must-Do Yoga Poses for Every Runner

Over the last decade, yoga has emerged on the fitness scene as the ultimate cross-training activity.

There’s yoga for surfers, golfers, rock climbers, bodybuilders and, of course, runners. The word is out: Whatever you’re in to, a regular yoga routine will help improve your athletic performance.

Yoga is an ideal recovery activity. It releases tension, relieves soreness and restores range of motion, helping prevent injury. The practice also cultivates a balance between strength and flexibility, opening and lengthening tight areas and strengthening weak ones (a recipe for a better athlete).

If you’re a runner, chances are you’ve been told to try yoga. And you should! But if making it to an hourlong class is too much of a stretch (pun intended), start with a few post-run poses at home. You can find a number of “yoga for running” articles online that generally focus on stretching the hamstrings, calves and thighs, so here are some simple poses specifically for the hips, lower back and outer legs. The best part—you get to lie down.

Windshield Wipers

Windshield Wipers are a great way to gently release the lower back and lengthen the outer legs while also giving your spine some love.

Thread the Needle

Targeting the hips and buttock muscles, Thread the Needle (sometimes called Reclined Pigeon Pose) is a crucial stretch for runners.

Variation of Reclined Pigeon Pose

This side variation of the Reclined Pigeon Pose will take you deeper into the hip flexors while lengthening your quadratus lumborum on the side of your lower back (a common tight spot for runners).

Photo credit: Death to the Stock Photo