Essential Post Run Yoga Stretches

downward dog

Your run is done! Time to hit the showers. Not so fast, speedster! Your body worked hard on that run. Why not give it a proper cool down stretch with some easy yoga poses?

Yoga is a runner's best friend. Besides improving flexibility, easing aches and pains and helping you recover from hard workouts, long runs and races more quickly, it just feels good!

Here are four quick post-run yoga poses that target the hard-working muscles that tend to get tight thanks to logging lots of miles—your calves, hips, hamstrings and upper back. Hold each pose for three to five breaths. Feel free to hold it longer if it feels good and you have the time.

Downward Facing Dog

A yoga basic that hits most of the major running players: feet, calves, hamstrings and back.
  • Start in a tabletop position with hands below the shoulders and knees in line with the hips.
  • Tuck the toes and send the hips to the sky in an inverted V position.
  • Push heels toward the ground and pull your chest into your thighs. Don’t worry about touching your heels to the ground—that’s not the point!
  • Pedal feet out for five breaths, then be still for another five breaths.

Standing Forward Fold

This pose is great for relieving tension in the shoulders and lower back. It stretches the hamstrings, too.

  • Standing tall, fold forward with a straight back.
  • Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders and extend the crown of the head toward the floor to create a long spine, straightening your legs as much as possible.
  • Place your hands on the ground or grasp opposite elbows for a rag doll position.

Low Lunge/Crescent Lunge

Stretch out the running power house muscles—quads, psoas and hips—with this lunge. It also stretches the difficult-to-reach tensor fasciae latae at the top of the IT band.

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Step your right foot between your hands into a lunge, keeping your right knee directly above your heel.
  • Keep your back knee on the floor or slowly lift it off the floor. Press your back heel toward the wall behind you as you begin to straighten the back leg. Keep your spine long as you hold and breathe.

Legs Up the Wall

You may want to take a seat after your run, but try it from a different perspective. Stay in this pose for three to five minutes to allow the blood to rush back to the heart rather than pool in your lower extremities.

  • Sit close to a wall, lie back on the ground, then scoot your bottom as close to the wall as possible and bring your legs up.
  • Rest with your arms by your side.

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