A Guide to Yoga for Runners

February 17, 2022
A Guide to Yoga for Runners


Yoga for Runners: Benefits, Information, and More

You’re looking to improve your running and stamina.

Or maybe you’re looking for a way to calm your body after a long run.

Whether you like to run competitively or recreationally, you may benefit from adding yoga to your exercise routine.

In this guide, we will discuss:

• The benefits of yoga for runners
• Which type of yoga stretches you’ll want to focus on
• And more

Table of Contents

Is Yoga Good for Runners?
What Type of Yoga Is Best for Runners?
How to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Running Routine
8 Benefits of Yoga for Runners
Yoga Stretches for Runners: 4 Areas You Should Focus on
Looking for Ways to Improve Your Running? Attend a Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Class Today In-Person or Online

Is Yoga Good for Runners?

Yes, yoga is a great supplemental activity for runners

Many runners find running to be a stress-relieving, meditative activity. Similar to running, yoga is an integration of mind, body, and breath.

There are many physical and mental benefits of yoga that can specifically cater to runners.

Keep reading to learn more about the specific benefits runners can experience from adding yoga to their routine.

What Type of Yoga Is Best for Runners?

Most types of yoga are beneficial to runners.

Some examples of different types of yoga that can be beneficial to runners include:

• Restorative yoga
• Power yoga; and
• Korean yoga

At Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi, we offer Korean yoga classes in-person and online.

Our yoga classes focus on developing your …

• Strength
• Flexibility
• Breathing, and
• Energy

... all of which are beneficial to runners. Visit our website to learn more about our yoga classes today.

How to Incorporate Yoga Into Your Running Routine

There are many ways that you can incorporate yoga into your running routine.

You can experience benefits from yoga by incorporating it into your:

• Warm-up routine before running
• Cool-down routine after running; and
• Weekly exercise routine

Incorporating Yoga Into Your Warm-Up

To help stretch your muscles before a run, consider adding some yoga movements into your warm-up.

Practicing yoga poses before your run can help:

• Increase the flexibility of your joints
• Warm up your muscles before your run
• Put you in a positive mindset
• And more

Incorporating Yoga Into Your Cool-Down

Rest and recovery are extremely important for runners, especially those that run more than once a week.

To help your muscles recover from a run, try incorporating yoga into your cool-down routine.

Practicing yoga after a run can help your body recover from physical activity by:

• Helping you relax after a strenuous run
• Ease post-workout muscle soreness
• Increase blood flow and circulation
• And more

Incorporating Yoga Classes Into Your Weekly Routine

Another way to incorporate yoga into your running schedule is to make it a weekly routine by attending yoga classes.

Attending classes weekly is a great way to achieve the long-term benefits of practicing yoga as a runner.

By making yoga a weekly habit, you may experience the following benefits as a runner:

• Improved strength and flexibility in key muscles for running
• Improved endurance and stamina while running
• Improved mental focus and confidence while running
• And more

8 Benefits of Yoga for Runners

Yoga is beneficial to runners in many ways, mentally and physically.

Potential physical benefits of yoga for runners can include:

• Improved strength
• Improved flexibility
• Improved posture
• Relief from soreness or discomfort
• Improved breathing
• Improved balance
• And more

Potential mental benefits of yoga for runners can include:

• Improved mental strength and confidence
• Reduced performance stress
• And more

Let’s go over some of these benefits in detail.

#1: Improved Strength

Yoga can help strengthen key supporting muscles that are used during running, like your:

• Core abdominal muscles
• Quads
• Hamstrings; and
• Hip flexors

Yoga can also strengthen underused muscles that runners may forget to focus on while stretching, such as the ankle and hip joints.

Strengthening your joints and muscles can not only improve running performance but also potentially help prevent common running injuries from taking place.

#2: Improved Flexibility

When it comes to running, flexibility is just as important as muscle strength for performance and injury prevention.

Yoga stretches, especially poses that are held for a period of time, can help create elasticity and loosen up:

• Muscles
• Joints
• Ligaments; and
• Connective tissues

This can help you run more freely while experiencing less discomfort or tightness in your body.

#3: Improved Posture

Posture is the foundation for efficient movements in running.

Many runners forget to be conscious of their posture when running, specially when fatigued. Poor posture when running can result in:

• Decreased efficiency while running
• Discomfort while running; and
• Potential injuries

Yoga places an emphasis on correct posture, teaching you how to elongate the spine without creating tension.

Not only can yoga help you be more mindful of your posture during your run, but also when you are doing other daily slouch-prone activities, like working at a desk or sitting on the couch to watch TV.

Addressing posture throughout your everyday life can potentially help avoid injuries that may make it feel more difficult to run.

#4: Relief from Soreness or Discomfort

Yoga can be a great way to relieve post-run muscle soreness or discomfort.

Practicing yoga after a run can help encourage muscle recovery by:

• Reducing tension
• Loosening areas prone to muscle aches; and
• Promoting healthy blood flow and circulation

Additionally, yoga can be a great “mental cool-down” after a long or difficult run and can help return your body to a state of relaxation and mindfulness.

#5: Improved Breathing

Being able to control your breathing while running can greatly improve your stamina.

One of the key practices of yoga is learning how to breathe correctly and intentionally.

Intentional breathing while running can help in many ways, including:

• Reducing performance anxiety
• Increasing mental clarity
• Increasing efficiency and stamina

#6: Improved Balance

Yoga can help balance the body and mind.

Physically, regular practice of yoga has been found to improve the body’s equilibrium receptors, which are responsible for your body’s state of balance.

Improving your balance helps increase the ability of proprioceptors in your legs and feet to anticipate movement changes, which can allow you to run smoother and faster.

Yoga can also help runners improve the balance of their mental state, as mindfulness is a huge component of practicing yoga.

Through yoga, we learn to become more mindful of our body’s needs. For runners, finding a healthy balance between training and recovery is an important part of maintaining physical and emotional health.

#7: Improved Mental Strength and Confidence

One of the primary goals of yoga is to nurture your well-being.

By focusing on improving concentration, overcoming the ego through reflection and meditation, some runners may begin to feel more confident in their performance while running.

With a new sense of confidence and mental strength, runners may notice a difference in their stamina and endurance.

#8: Reduced Performance Stress for Professional/Competitive Runners

Professional or competitive runners often feel stress associated with their performance.

Yoga can help you learn how to control your emotions and breathing, which is particularly beneficial for before-the-race jitters in competitive runners.

Relaxation techniques taught in yoga can help clear their mind of worry and manage their stress before a race.

Yoga Stretches for Runners: 4 Areas You Should Focus on

Practicing yoga stretches before and after a run can help:

• Improve joint mobility and range of motion
• Decrease discomfort while running and after running
• Increase joint flexibility
• Strengthen key muscles for running
• And more

When it comes to ideal yoga stretches for runners, you want to target the key muscles and joints that are utilized during running.

This includes your:

• Hip joints
• Hamstring
• Quadriceps; and
• Plantar flexors

#1: Stretching Your Hip Joints

Tight hip joints are a common issue that can be overlooked by runners while stretching.

However, hip joints play an important role in the mechanics of running. Tight hip joints can shorten your stride, which can affect your natural gait and lead to compensations that can cause:

• Imbalance
• Further weakening of the joints; and
• Injuries

A yoga routine for runners should include stretches that focus on:

• Strengthening
• Stabilizing; and
• Promoting flexibility in the hip joints

#2: Stretching Your Hamstrings

Stretching your hamstrings before and after a run is also important.

Doing yoga poses that help increase the flexibility of your hamstring before running can potentially help:

Prevent lower back pain while running. Tight hamstrings can limit the mobility of your pelvis and put pressure on your lower back.
Prevent hamstring injuries while running. Running with tight hamstrings can increase your chance of straining or tearing muscle fibers while running.
Increase the range of motion in your hips. Tight hamstrings can be responsible for a limited range of motion and flexibility in your hips.
Improve your posture. Tight hamstrings can rotate the pelvis backward, flattening the natural arch of the back and increasing the strain and tension on your muscles as you run.

#3: Stretching Your Quadriceps

Stretching your quadriceps before a run can help increase your stamina and performance.

Adding yoga stretches that focus on stretching your quadriceps can potentially help:

• Prevent injury to the quadriceps while running
• Increase the flexibility and range of motion in your quadriceps to help increase your performance while running
• Improve circulation and blood flow during your run
• And more

#4: Stretching Your Plantar Flexors

Plantar flexion plays an important role in the movement aspect of running.

Plantar flexion, a muscle movement that allows you to stand on the tips of your toes, is controlled by a wide range of muscles in your ankle, foot, and leg.

Failure to stretch plantar flexors can potentially result in:

• Injury or muscle strains while running
• Limited range of motion in the ankle, foot, or leg
• Discomfort while running
• And more

Including yoga stretches that target your plantar flexors in your warm-up and cool-down regimens can keep your plantar flexors strong and flexible so you can perform your best while running.

Looking for Ways to Improve Your Running? Attend a Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi Class Today In-Person or Online

Are you looking to improve your running and experience the physical and mental benefits that yoga offers? We can help.

Sign up for an introductory yoga class online or at one of many locations nationwide.

Improve your running by aligning your mind, body, and breathing with Body & Brain Yoga Tai Chi today.