Many of you may have recently completed the St. Jude Half or Full Marathon. It’s important to fully recover from such an event, and yoga is a great tool for runners to use to maximize your recovery. The first few weeks following a long race should be spent letting your muscles and mind take a break. Don’t worry about rushing or being powerful. With the help of our resident yoga teacher, Lisa Warmuth, we have compiled a list of yoga poses you can do at home that will target the most common tight spots for runners, including the back, hips, ankles, and feet.
Start with Child’s Pose or Balasana
Be mindful of how this feels for you. Tight hips may require you to bring your knees together, and more open hips can take big toes touching and knees wide. You can rest your head on a block if you need to. Take 10-15 breaths here. TARGETS: hips, back.
Bring your right foot forward and come down to the back knee. Lean your weight forward slightly and tilt your pelvis forward. Hands can be on your right knee, the floor, or two blocks. Hold for five breaths. Repeat on the other side. TARGETS: hip flexor, glutes.
Move to a Mat or Soft Surface for a Quad Stretch
Lie down on your belly and support yourself with your forearms. Bend your right knee and grab your right foot with your right hand. Press your foot into your hand for a few breaths and then relax into the stretch. Hold for five breaths. Repeat other side. TARGETS: quadriceps.
Cobra Pose (Bhujangasana)
From your belly, slide your hands under your shoulders, elbows bent. Legs remain on the floor. Lift your heart forward and up. Elbows should remain slightly bent. Hold for five breaths. TARGETS: paraspinal muscles, lower back.
Move Into Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Hips go up, your tailbone lifts, and legs straighten as much as your body allows. If your hamstrings are tight, this pose may pitch you forward making it feel more like a push up. Remember that it’s okay to bend you knees. Take five breaths here. TARGETS: hamstrings, shoulders, back hips.
Flow between Cobra and Downward Facing Dog 4-6 times.
Ankles and Feet Stretch (Virasana or Heroes Pose Variations)
From downward facing dog, come to high knees. Curl your toes under and slowly sit back on your heels. Hold for five breaths if you can. Switch to the top of your feet and lean back on your hands. Hold for five breaths. TARGETS: feet, plantar fascia, ankles, and calves.
Butterfly Pose (Baddha Konasana)
Sit and bring the soles of your feet together, with your knees bent out to the sides. Explore where your feet need to go (closer to the pelvis or further out). Exhale and fold forward. If you have a block (or two), place your forehead on it. Relax your neck and your lower jaw. Hold for five breaths. TARGETS: hips, glutes, inner thighs.
Eye of the Needle (Sucirandhrasana)
Come to your back and hug your knees to your chest. Place your right foot on the floor, knee bent. Cross the left foot on the right knee and flex the foot. Draw both legs toward the chest and thread your hands behind the right thigh. Pull gently until you feel a little sensation. Hold and breathe five breaths. Repeat on the other side. TARGETS: glutes, hip flexors.
Lisa Warmuth RYT 200 is Fleet Feet’s resident yoga teacher and an avid runner. She offers two free classes for runners a month at Fleet Feet. Visit fleetfeetmemphis.com for a schedule. She also teaches at Hot Yoga Plus in Germantown.