One of the most common things I hear from yogis is “How can I stretch out after a run?” It makes sense that there is a common ground between yoga and running – both activities can induce a meditative state and are great exercise. Running can produce tight hips and hamstrings, so here are some yoga poses to try before or after your next run!
Create an inverted V with your body, and press into all fingers and toes. Press the belly towards the thighs and the heels down towards the ground. The knees can be bent, but they are working towards straight. Pedal out your dog, bending one knee and then the other, finding some movement in the hamstrings. Hold for 5-10 breaths.
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (Standing Hand to Big Toe Pose)
Start off by lifting one leg in front of you, with foot flexed. Keep the leg straight and lift it up to a 90 degree angle (or as close as you can). Open the hip up and bring the leg out to the side. Engage the core and flex the foot. Stand strong, and hold for 5-10 breaths. Repeat on the opposite side. If you fall down, no worries, just get back into it!
Start with your right foot in front, left foot behind. Your feet should be about as farm apart as your arm span, so it will differ for everyone. Plant the back heel down, and have the toes facing out at about 10 o’clock. Distribute weight evenly between pinky toe edge of back foot and front foot. Reach down towards the ground, front ankle, or block with the right hand, while reaching the left had up towards the sky. Scoop the right ribcage up underneath left, up towards the ceiling. Hold for 5-10 breaths, and then repeat on the other side.
Come down onto your mat. Rest your shins down with your knees and legs together and curl your toes under. Slowly lower the hips down towards the heels, getting as close as you can. If you have tight hips or wear heels a lot, you’ll definitely feel this one. Hold for 10-20 breaths, or as long as you can stand it.
Lie down on your back, with feet planted on the mat. Bring the right ankle up atop the left knee, letting the right shin be parallel to the floor. You can stay there, or gently reach behind the left thigh and hug the thigh back towards you. If you want, you can lift the left foot up off the ground and try to straighten the left leg. Hold for 1-2 minutes, and then repeat on the opposite side. You can also try other hip openers, like half pigeon pose, if you get more value from that.