Yoga for Runners

06th Dec 2019 - Michele Pernetta

Having taught runners for over 20 years - and seen the effects running can have on hips, hip flexors, knees, Ilio-Tibial bands, hamstrings, backs, and posture - and having talked to our clients about what poses have helped them here are my top tips:

  1. All the runners I see have tight hip flexors, hamstrings and IT bands. Do deep lunge stretches, and hip and glute openers such as Pigeon Pose for the glutes and IT bands, Cobbler for tight groin, runners stretch for tight quads and hamstrings, and Dragon Lunge for tight hip flexors. (in short just come to yoga regularly if you run!)
  2. Backbend regularly. Many runners have a stooped forward posture after years of running as the spine gets set in the rounded position.
  3. We see so many runners still running with their knee pain and knee brace. If you have knee pain STOP running. Come to yoga, rest it, work on your skeletal alignment before you resume running.
  4. Be aware that while cardio vascular fitness is a good effect of running, if it comes at the expense of your joints, it isn’t worth it. Combine your running programme with yoga to stretch out the tight muscles, create traction in the joints that may have taken some compression from pounding the pathways, and remember yoga also has cardio vascular benefits while opening the body.
  5. Take smaller strides to avoid injury or strain. Your foot should land under your knee, not in front of it.
  6. Keep your chest high, don’t round your shoulders and hunch forward - this will strain neck, upper back and tighten your intercostal muscles. Try to stay relaxed in the shoulders, and neck.
  7. Do it in moderation! Too much of anything can be detrimental to the joints. So enjoy a nice, fast, short sprint to your yoga studio!

Key class for runners to attend: Deep Core, Fierce Grace and The Fix.

Key positions to focus on:

  • Pigeon (any variation)
  • Down Dog
  • Cobbler
  • Straight Leg Triangle
  • Rag Doll
  • Childs Pose
  • Spine Balancing

Further read