Running Recovery Yoga Poses

I am in the middle of training for my first marathon,  as you may have heard from What is your Why? , and OMG, I can feel it so much in my legs and back. I keep finding myself in recovery yoga poses, and it got me thinking about how I should share these fantastic poses with you.  You can seriously do these poses anywhere with no equipment. I have been walking around my office doing ragdoll pose and triangle pose every time I get up out of my seat. My body thanks me and your body will thank you.  If you are reading this, you know that your body needs a little love right about now! I am a huge proponent of incorporating yoga into your running training program.   So here you have it, a few of my favorite recovery poses!

Ragdoll pose:  This is such an easy pose that you can do anywhere and everywhere.  You will feel this stretching out your calves, hamstrings, lower back, upper back, and neck.  It feels so glorious to do this pose.  It helps to ease the tension in your back and neck.

  • Start by standing with your legs hip width apart.
  • Bend forward by the hips.
  • Let your upper body hang.
  • This pose is typically practiced with knees slightly bent. Straighten your knees to feel more of a stretch in your calves and hamstrings.
  • Cross your arms and just hang.
  • Sway side to side by the hips for a deeper stretch.
  • Hold and breathe deeply.

Triangle pose:  This is another one that you can do anywhere. This pose will stretch your adductor and groin area, hips, back, and neck.  A yoga block will help you get deeper into the position and give you an even deeper stretch.

  • Stand with your legs about 4 to 5 feet apart.
  • Keep your right foot facing towards the front of the room and the left foot turned slightly inward.
  • Kick your left hip back towards the turned left foot.
  • Reach as far as you can towards the right foot.
  • While sliding your right arm down your right leg, bend.
  • If you have yoga block stand it next to your right foot and support your hand on the block if you can’t reach the floor. You can also rest your hand on your right leg, making sure you are not resting it on your knee.
  • Hold and breathe deeply.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Pigeon Pose:  Pigeon, oh pigeon pose! It is one of the best yoga poses for runners. It can feel uncomfortable, but pull back on it if it hurts.  Yoga should never hurt. Pigeon pose is a hip opener and we runners need all the help that we can get with our hips.  It also stretches the psoas muscle and groin area. You can choose to bend over in this pose or stay seated upright. Remember your comfort level. It helps to have a yoga block or two for this pose.  If you don’t have a yoga block, you can use a pillow.

  • Start on your hands and knees.
  • Slide your left leg towards the back of the room.
  • Your right leg should still be bent at the knee.
  • Draw your right foot in so as to feel like you are sitting on it knee bent out.
  • This is where a yoga block or pillow comes in handy. If you are not able to sit on your sit bones place the yoga block or pillow under your right sit bones.
  • For a deeper stretch bend forward. Place your forehead on a second yoga block if the pose feels too deep.
  • Hold and breathe.
  • Repeat on the other side.

If all of this is too deep for you, you can modify pigeon pose.  To do a modified pigeon pose:

  • Lay flat on your back.
  • Raise your left leg straight into the air.
  • Take your right foot and rest it above, but not on, your knee.
  • Your right knee will be bent in a 90 degree angle.
  • Hold and breathe.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Seated Spinal Twist:  The seated spinal twist is another great recovery pose that stretches the hips, back, shoulders, neck, and IT band.

  • Begin seated with your legs extended out.
  • Bend your right knee and pull your heel towards your left sit bones.
  • Cross your left leg and plant your left foot on the right side so that your left ankle is resting on your outer right knee.
  • Hug your knee with your arms for a deeper stretch.
  • Reach your left arm behind you.
  • Place your right elbow on your outer left knee twisting gently.
  • Hold and breathe.
  • Repeat on the other side.

Downward Dog:  The downward dog is probably the most recognized of all yoga poses.  When you think of yoga, you probably think about the downward dog. This pose does it all, well almost! It stretches your hamstrings, calves, foot arches, shoulders, spine, and hands. You can pedal your feet to give a deeper stretch to your calves.

  • Begin on your hands and knees.
  • Place palms faced down on your yoga mat or the floor with fingers spread out.
  • Tuck your toes and lift your knees off of the floor.
  • Reach your pelvis towards the ceiling, brining your body into an “A” shape.
  • Optional- pedal your feet alternating each foot.
  • Breathe and hold.

Child’s pose: This is the greatest of all recovery poses bringing balance back into your body.  It restores calmness into your body, giving your hips, back, thighs, and ankle a stretch.

  • Begin on your hands and knees.
  • Spread your knees apart allowing your big toes to touch.
  • Bend forward resting your body and forehead between your legs.
  • Place your arms out forward, palms resting on the floor, deepening your stretch.
  • Hold and breathe.

These are just a few of my favorite running recovery yoga poses that I know that you will benefit from if you incorporate them into your training. It is vital to your running to stretch your body.  Even if you don’t enjoy doing yoga, just practicing a few of these poses a few times a week will help prevent injury, loosen tight muscles, improve flexibility, and improve performance.  Your body will thank you! I look forward to hearing about how these post run recovery poses have helped you! To learn about more poses that will enhance your running grab a copy of Yoga for Runners.



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Twin boy parents hoping to motivate and inspire others along our adventure!

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