I’ve never been a runner. I’ve never enjoyed the act of running, and it was always my most hated activity in gym class. However, a few months ago I picked up a sport that involves a lot of running. In my head, I’ve been calling it “running with a purpose” to try to hide the fact from myself that I may finally be a runner.

Over the past few months, it’s come into clear focus for me just how important yoga for runners actually is. Yoga can help runners of all abilities stay flexible and prevent injury, so that you can run further longer.

If you’re a runner, here are three easy yoga poses you can do to help you gain flexibility, strength, and stability.

Downward Dog

Benefits

  • Strengthens shoulders
  • Stretches hamstrings
  • Stretches calves
  • There’s a reason why Downward Dog is a classic yoga pose. It’s so good for your whole body while being easily accessible to all levels. Plus, if you’re a runner, this pose shows your legs a lot of lovin’!

    How to

    Starting from a tabletop position with your wrists under your shoulders and your knees under your hips, walk your hands our one hand-length in front of you. Begin to lift the knees up off the floor, pressing them back behind you until you come into an upside down V shape.

    Send your heels down towards the floor for maximum stretching (though it’s ok if they don’t touch the floor). Stay here for as long as is comfortable.

    Low Lunge

    Benefits

  • Stretches hip flexors
  • Strengthens hamstrings
  • Strengthens quads
  • By adding in a few Low Lunge poses before and after your run, you’ll be working to stretch your hip flexors and strengthen your hamstrings, two areas that need a lot of attention when you take up running (or have been running for a long time).

    How to

    From Downward Dog, step your right foot forward in between your hands. Gently lower your left knee to the ground, then place the top of the foot on the ground as well (toes should not be tucked). Engage your core and lift your torso upright while stretching your arms above your head. Maybe incorporate a small backbend here if it feels good for you.

    When you’re ready for the other side, step back into Downward Dog and repeat on the left side.

    Reclining Pigeon Pose

    Benefits

  • Releases tension in the hips
  • I love Reclining Pigeon Pose. I love any hip opener, really. But hip openers take on particular significance when you’re a runner, or even if you sit in an office all day. Your hips can become tense, leading to a loss of mobility in the hips. Keep them happy and flexible so you can be mobile all day long!

    How to

    From lying on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor, cross your right ankle over your left thigh. Inhale your legs up over your belly, and take hold of your left thigh (left hand on the outside of your thigh, right hand looped through the gap in your legs) and draw your thigh closer to your chest. Stay here for as long as you like before repeating on the left side.

    Do you have some tips for yoga for runners? Make sure to share them with us. We’d love to hear from you! Happy running!