Runners, Practice These 7 Yoga Poses to Release Your Sore Legs and Hips

Leah Sugerman
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Like peanut butter and jelly, yoga for runners is a match made in heaven. That’s because running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that offers an aerobic workout with dynamic movements of your muscles.

While this is valuable and desirable, it can also make you very tight and stiff. But, thankfully, there are many yoga poses for runners specifically to reduce the tension that running creates.

When you run, your body is forced to repetitively contract specific muscle groups, particularly around your hips and legs. Unfortunately, this can leave you feeling tight and sore.

Luckily, yoga for runners offers targeted stretches to help release tight muscle tissues.

Not convinced yet? Here Are 5 Benefits of Yoga For Runners
 
 

Experience the Benefits of Yoga for Runners! Practice These 7 Yoga Poses for Runners:

If you’re starting out feeling super stiff, it may be helpful to have some props to support you. You might want to grab two yoga blocks (or thick books) and a yoga strap (or belt or towel) to offer you some extra help.
 

1. Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold)

Uttanasana Forward Fold

Running is notorious for creating tight hamstrings. So some basic forward folds are really helpful to release tension from the back of the legs.

Let’s try it:

  • Start standing with your feet roughly hip-distance apart
  • Bring your hands to your hips and soften your knees
  • Lead with your chest as you hinge from your hips and fold your torso forward and down over your legs
  • Bend your knees as little or as much as you’d like to feel comfortable
  • Center your weight roughly over the center of your feet
  • Release your hands to rest on your thighs, shins, blocks, or the floor
  • Soften the weight of your head and surrender your whole upper body down with the force of gravity
  • Elongate your spine as much as possible by stretching the crown of your head and your sit bones in opposite directions (this may mean that you need to bend your knees deeper)
  • Surrender into this fold for a few long, deep breaths

 

 
 

2. Prasarita Padottanasana (Wide-Legged Standing Forward Fold)

Wide Straddle Forward Fold

Most people are aware that forward folds stretch that hamstrings. But the hamstrings are a whole group of muscles that run along the back of the thigh, so to target different tissues of the hamstrings, you have to practice different forward folds.

This yoga pose for runners will specifically target the hamstrings around your inner thighs more.

Let’s try it:

  • Start standing and walk your feet out wide apart from each other as far as you comfortably can
  • Bring your hands to your hips and soften your knees
  • Lead with your chest as you hinge from your hips and fold your torso forward and down over your legs
  • Bend your knees as little or as much as you’d like to feel comfortable
  • Center your weight roughly over the center of your feet. If you’d like to intensify the release in your hamstrings, you can lean your weight slightly forward toward your toes
  • Release your hands to rest on your thighs, shins, blocks, or the floor
  • Soften the weight of your head and surrender your whole upper body down with the force of gravity
  • Elongate your spine as much as possible by stretching the crown of your head and your sit bones in opposite directions (this may mean that you need to bend your knees deeper)
  • Surrender into this fold for a few long, deep breaths

 
Have Tight Hamstrings? Practice These 5 Yoga Poses to Gain Flexibility
 

3. Ardha Hanumanasana (Half Splits Pose)

Half Split

Another great yoga pose for runners, Half Splits also targets the hamstrings for release but in a more active position. This way, you can both lengthen and strengthen the hamstrings simultaneously.

Let’s try it:

  • Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees
  • Step your right foot forward next to your right thumb
  • Rise up onto your fingertips or place your hands onto blocks framing out your front foot
  • Flex your right ankle and point your toes toward the sky
  • Either stay as you are or slide your right heel forward in space to straighten your right leg as much as you comfortably can. Keep your hips aligned over your left knee
  • Root your right heel down into the floor, and without movement, energetically draw your right heel and your left knee toward each other
  • Keep this activation as you lift and lengthen your spine
  • Either stay as you are, or if you can maintain the length in your back body, lead with your chest and fold forward over your right leg
  • Hold for a few deep breaths before releasing and switching sides

 

4. Supta Ardha Virasana (Reclined Half Hero Pose)

Reclined Half Hero

When it comes to yoga for runners, your hamstrings aren’t the only muscles that need some tender, loving care. On the opposite side of the legs, the quadriceps tend to get super stiff and sore from running as well. This yoga pose will release some of that tension.

Let’s try it:

  • Start lying down on your back with your legs extended forward in front of you
  • Bend your right knee and place your foot on the floor
  • Reach down with your right hand to catch a hold of your right ankle
  • Lift your right foot off the floor and reach your knee toward the bottom of your mat
  • Point your right toes and lower the top of your right foot to the floor on the outside of your right hip
  • Relax the weight of your right knee toward the floor
  • Either stay as you are or slightly elevate your pelvis and slide your tailbone down toward your toes to lengthen your lower back and deepen the release in the front of your right leg
  • Hold here for a few deep breaths and then repeat with your left leg

 

5. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

Low Lunge

Not only do runners have notoriously tight hamstrings, but also notoriously tight hip flexors. That’s why Anjaneyasana is one of the best yoga poses for runners to help release the front of the hips.

Let’s try it:

  • Start on all fours with your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your hips stacked over your knees
  • Step your right foot forward next to your right thumb
  • Energetically magnetize your legs toward each other to stabilize your balance
  • Lift your hands off the floor and rest them onto your right thigh
  • Elongate your spine by reaching the crown of your head to the sky and lengthening your tailbone toward the floor
  • Exaggerate the tilt in your pelvis by actively tucking your tailbone underneath you to flatten the curve in your lower back
  • Either stay as you are or reach your arms to the sky, maintaining the length in your spine and the tuck of your pelvis
  • Hold for a few deep breaths and then switch sides

 

 
 

6. Supta Kapotasana (Reclined Pigeon Pose)

Figure 4

Running can also exacerbate the glutes and the other external rotators of the hips so this variation of Pigeon Pose can work wonders to help release that part of the body.

Let’s try it:

  • Start lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the floor roughly hip-distance apart
  • Lift your right foot off the floor and externally rotate your thigh by opening your knee toward the right
  • Cross your right ankle over your left knee to create a figure-4 shape
  • Either stay here or lift your left foot off the floor and draw both legs closer toward your chest
  • Either loop a strap or interlace your fingers behind your left thigh
  • Gently draw your legs closer toward your torso and simultaneously press your right knee away from your body
  • Hold for a few deep breaths and then switch sides

 
Tight Hips? Practice These 5 Hip Opening Yoga Poses to Melt Away Hip Pain
 

7. Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)

Baddha Konasana Bound Angle

Baddha Konasana, also commonly referred to as Butterfly Pose, is a great yoga pose for runners to help release any tension from the inner thighs.

Let’s try it:

  • Start seated in any comfortable position. You may wish to elevate your hips by sitting onto a block
  • Draw the soles of your feet to touch and open your knees out wide. You may wish to slide blocks underneath your knees to support their weight
  • Slide your heels as close toward your pelvis as is comfortable
  • Elongate your spine by rooting your sit bones down into the floor and lengthening the crown of your head in the opposite direction
  • Either choose to stay as you are or lead with your chest and fold forward over your legs
  • Hold for a few deep breaths before releasing out

 
Need more ? Practice These 8 Yoga Poses to Increase Your Flexibility
 
 

Try Yoga for Runners to Help Relieve the Stiffness, Aches and Pains That Running Can Cause

These seven yoga poses for runners specifically target and stretch muscles that tend to get running-induced soreness. But, of course, these aren’t the only yoga poses for runners, so experiment with lots of different poses that make you feel good.

Yoga for runners is such an excellent tool to help stretch and release targeted muscles that tend to become tight from running. But yoga can also be used to help build strength in specific muscles needed for running as well as to help build endurance and stamina for cardiovascular health.

Yoga for runners is really such a broad category of postures and practices that will very likely offer you help and relief from any running-induced aches and pains. So after you get off the track, get onto your mat! Your body will likely thank you.
 
 

Ready for a full online yoga class post-run?

Try After Active with Jenn Pansa on YA Classes by YogiApproved. This yoga class offers the perfect blend of cool-down yoga poses and stretches for after your run (or any physical activity).

With Jenn Pansa
20-Minute Class | All Levels

 

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Leah Sugerman

Leah Sugerman is a yoga teacher, writer, and passionate world traveler. An eternally grateful student, she has trained in countless traditions of the practice and teaches a fusion of the styles she has studied with a strong emphasis on breath, alignment, and anatomical integrity. Leah teaches workshops, retreats, and trainings both internationally and online.

leahsugerman.com

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