7 Yoga Recovery Poses For Runners

Yoga. Yoooga. Yooooooga.

As you can see, yoga is one of my favorite exercise in the world.

I love it so much, and it has changed me on so many levels—body, mind, and soul (this piece is mainly concerned with the body aspect, so don’t stop reading yet if you are not into the psychological and spiritual stuff).

Do Yoga, Please!

It’s a profound practice, and if you haven’t yet caught the bug, then you should. My hope is that by the end of this post, you will at least consider the recovery routine I outlined below.

Otherwise, you are missing out.

But before we jump into the restorative routine, let’s take a quick look at how yoga helps speed up recovery and improve exercise experience.

The Benefits of Restorative Yoga

Yoga can help you build strength in every muscle in your body, improve flexibility and range of motion in every joint, help you breathe deeper and improve your overall health and well-being levels.

Nonetheless, the restorative power of yoga is its most powerful advantage. Nothing can top that.

Running breaks you down

Running’s high impact nature can take a toll on your body, causing similar effects to the ‘fight, flight or freeze ‘response of the autonomic nervous system.

With that said, yoga can help you undo the damage, and let you ‘reset’ the autonomic nervous system to a more relaxed—or what’s known as parasympathetic state—what your body needs for recovery.

Not only that, the regular practice of yoga as a restorative practice is critical for avoiding the typical aches and pains commonly associated with running, even if you are doing your best when it comes to following sound running strategies and recovery principles.

Yoga is still a must.

7 Yoga Recovery Poses For Runners – the  Restorative Routine you Need

Here are seven yoga poses for your post run routine that will help you speed up recovery rate, thus bounce back faster and keep you running injury free for the long haul.

1. Supine spinal twist


This asana twists and releases the spine, and also stretches the shoulder, glutes and the hips—troubled areas for runners.

This pose lengthens the back muscles, which is good for relieving back pain— especially following a long run or after sitting for prolonged periods of time.

Proper Form

Start off by lying on your back, then bend both knees and place the soles of your feet on the floor.

Next, bring your right knee close to your chest and extend the left leg straight on the floor.

For the twist, drop your right knee over to the left side of your body, twisting the spine and low back.

For more stretch in the upper body, open your right arm to the right side in line with your shoulders, while resting your left hand on your right knee for a deeper release and twist in the spine and lower body.

Hold the pose for ten deep breaths, then slowly bring your right knee back, straighten your right leg, and do the other side.

2. Reverse Child’s Pose


An ideal asana for stretching and releasing the quads and hip flexors. It also elongates the back and relaxes the entire body.

Proper Form

To perform this pose right, start by sitting on your heels with your big toes touching, knees about hip-width apart and hands resting on your thighs.

Then, lay your torso between your thighs and lower your belly and chest to rest between your knees, bringing your forehead to the mat.

Next, extend your arms straight in front of your, palms down on the floor, and stomach sitting comfortably on top of your thighs, forehead to the mat.

Stay here for at least a couple of minutes.

3. Legs up the Wall


If you pick only one pose from this whole list, do the Viparita asana.

This inverted pose speeds up recovery by draining fluids from the legs, stretching the hamstrings—troubled area for runners—and releasing tightness and stress in the lower back, feet and legs.

Plus, it’s so simple and easy to perform.

Proper Form

To perform the Viparita asana, start by sitting with one hip close to a wall. Next, swing both legs up the wall and get your butt as close to the wall as it’s comfortable. If you feel any pain in the lower body—especially in the hamstrings—then slide a few inches away from the wall.

Hold the position for as long as you can, then to come out safely from the pose, bring your knees into your chest for a couple of breaths, roll to one side, rest for a moment, then slowly get up.

4. Star pose


A great pose for releasing tension in the hips, lower back, shoulders and neck.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting; bring the soles of your feet together, then form a diamond shape with your knees bent out to the sides.

Next, fold forward so the head falls towards the feet, and lightly hold your ankles as you slowly round forward.

To come out of the pose, straighten your legs in front of you, rest for a moment, then move into the next pose.

5. Reclining cobblers pose


A great restorative yoga asana for releasing the abductors, chest, hips, groin, and the lower back.

Proper Form

Start by sitting in a Staff Pose, with the legs extended straight in front of you on the floor. Then, bend your knees and draw your heels in toward your pelvis.

Next, press the soles of your feet together and slowly drop the knees open to the sides, then slowly lean backward and bring your elbows to the mat. Lower your back as far as you can.

Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths, then to come out safely, roll over to your right side and sit up, using the hands to support you.

6. Happy Baby Pose


Another ideal pose for opening and releasing the hips and groin. This pose stretches the hip joints, which can get tight and stiff from running.

Plus, this pose is very calming for the body and mind.

Proper Form

Start by lying down on your back, and on the exhale draw your knees into your chest and grab the outside edges of your flexed feet with your hands. If this stretch feels too much, then grab behind your thighs.

Next, open the knees and bring your hips down to the floor as far as you can, and hold the outside of the feet as you draw the knees toward your armpits while keeping your lower back firmly on the floor.

Breathe deeply and make sure to rock gently from side to side to release any tension.

Hold the pose for 10 deep breaths, then move on to the next pose.

7. Corpse Pose


The perfect pose for rest, relaxation, letting go and contemplating after a workout.

Proper Form

To make the most out of this awesome pose, lie flat on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor. Use a small pillow (or fold your mat) below your neck if you have to.

Next, close your eyes, keep your legs comfortably apart, release your feet and knees complexly and breathe deeply.

There is nothing to do. Just be present and turn your attention inward and scan your body from head to toe, looking for tension and contracted muscles.

Go deep as deep as you can and enter a complete state of total relaxation. Let your mind go then bring all of our attention to your breath. Be in the now.

Stay in Shavasana for at least 10 minutes. You can have soothing and relaxing music in the background.

Featured Image Credit – Amella Through Flickr

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David Dack


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