Incorporating yoga into your fitness plan as a runner can be a great way to counteract any negative impacts of running on your body.
Yoga can address muscular imbalances and strengthen weak zones that may lead to injury. A yoga practice that increases range of motion in the joints, stretches out the tight spots, and strengthens the weak ones will help the body’s overall alignment and reduce risk of injury.
Whilst you may already understand the benefits of yoga, you may be thinking you simply don’t have the time. That’s why we have this 5 minute yoga sequence designed to be done after a run, helping to restore your body so it’s ready to run again and again.
This post and its exercises have been adapted from Yoga for Runners, second edition.
The sequence below should take around 5 minutes to complete and can be done with your running shoes still on. We recommend making this part of your post-run routine.
5 minute yoga sequence
5-8 rounds of diaphragmatic breathing through the nose to help calm the cardiovascular and nervous systems
Equal standing, arms overhead
- Start in equal standing.
- With straight arms by the sides, externally rotate the shoulders and reach straight arms forward, palms facing each other.
- Continue reaching the arms overhead, allowing the shoulder blades to lift with the arms.
- Keep the arms straight with no bed in the elbows and reach through the fingertips, palms facing each other.
- Imagine that the arms start at the waist and use them to lengthen the sides, front, and back of the torso, while keeping the front ribs down and back ribs lifted.
- Stongly press down through the tripods of the feet and firm up the legs to create a solid foundation.
- Hold for 5 breaths.
Standing side bend
- Start in equal standing with arms overhead and feet together or hip-distance apart.
- Reach for the left wrist with the right hand and bend to the right. Let the right arm pull you to the right to elongate the left side of the body.
- Keep the hips facing forward.
- Keep both feet firmly planted.
- Hold for 3-5 diaphragmatic breaths to feel the left side of the rib cage expand.
- Reapeat on the other side.
Transition: Place your hands on a wall, tree, table surface, or ledge.
Half downward dog
- Start in equal standing with feet hip-distance apart and facing a wall.
- Place the palms on the wall at hip height, fingers spread and pointed upward or slightly outward.
- Step the feet back, away from the wall. Hinge from the hips and lower the upper body until it is parallel to the floor. Keep the hips over the knees and the knees over the ankles.
- Keep the arms straight and allow the ears to come in line with the upper arms.
- Spread the shoulder blades across the upper back and elongate the breastbone forward. Keep the head in line with the upper arms and the back of the neck long.
- Draw the from ribs in the prevent lower-back sagging.
- Activate the pose by firmly pressing the hands into the wall and the hips away from the wall. Keep the legs straight, quadriceps contracted, and feet firmly grounded.
- Hold for 5-8 breaths and repeat if desired.
Standing figure 4
- From equal standing, bend the legs. Place the outer right ankle above the left knee. Flex the foot. The movement is less of a forward bend and more of a squat.
- Externally rotate the right thigh as you continue to bend the left leg. Hands can be at the waist, resting lightly on the shin, or sliding down the standing leg toward the floor.
- Hold for 5 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
Transition: Reset to standing, bring feet together.
Standing cross leg forward bend
- Start in equal standing. Cross the right foot behind the left so the outer feet are side by side. Squeeze the inner thighs together.
- Fold forward from the hips, sliding the hands to the shins or to blocks. Try to keep the spine in neutral rather than rounded forward.
- Maintaining a level pelvis, walk the hands to the left, moving as far as possible while maintaining a square pelvis.
- Hold for 5 breaths.
- Walk the hands to centre and uncross the legs.
- Change the crossing of the legs and repeat on the other side.
- Start in equal standing with the feet a bit wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointing forward.
- Drive the hips back, then bend the knees and press them outward while keeping the feet firmly planted.
- As the legs bend, let your weight sit back, contract the hamstrings to control the descent, and try to keep the knees behind the toes.
- Extend the arms forward, protract the shoulder blades and draw the from ribs in while keeping the torso as upright as possible.
- Lower to the depth possible, working toward getting the thighs parallel to the floor. Hold for 2-3 breaths.
- To come up, press strongly into the feet, press the knees outward, and power from the flutes to lift up to standing. Straighten the legs, contract the gluten. Repeat 5-10 times.
You can find more sequences like these along with plenty of tips and runners’ stories in Yoga for Runners, Second Edition.
Let us know in the comments how you find the sequence.
Yoga for Runners