Quick Post Run (or Workout) Yoga Sequence
I will admit that I am not the best pre or post run or workout stretcher. I usually take a minute or two to warm up before a run (or workout but for the sake of quality writing, when I say run, I mean any type of workout because I also do HIIT and swimming workouts on my off days). I am also equally quick to stretch after a run but am getting better and taking a little more time to really stretch. Doing this quick post run yoga sequence helps me stretch out without feeling like I'm stretching. There's plenty of research out there for stretching before and after a run or workout. A lot of people (me included) neglect stretching after a workout, especially a hard workout. Why is this? Time, energy, there's probably a million excuses but it doesn't take away from the fact that stretching after a run or workout is super important. The lactic acid builds up in the muscles and when you stretch, it releases which helps to reduce muscle fatigue.
Since I am guilty of not stretching after a run mostly, sometimes I also neglect to stretch after a harder workout, I tend to get a little more sore than I should. When I was teaching elementary and middle school, I ran before work because I knew most days I would be too tired to go after work. Plus for most of my teaching career, I lived in Tempe, AZ which is hot almost all the time. So, running early was my only option most of the time. The negative of running before work was I am not a morning person, or at least I didn't used to be. So getting up, running, showering and eating before heading out the door was a huge time crunch. I didn't stretch hardly ever.
Now that I am teaching yoga and love leaving for "work" (it's not work for me, I love it so much) I find I have a little more time in the morning. So stretching happens a lot more often. Sure, I still run out the door sometimes but the nice thing about being a yoga teacher is that I can stretch while I teach!
Plus I made a commitment to myself a few months back to start practicing yoga every morning just to get my day started on a good note. In making this commitment, it also made sense to try to stretch or flow after a run. Sometimes the post run yoga flow is quick and right to the point. Other times the flow is a little more involved with some strength poses as well.
I developed this quick post run yoga sequence after finding that my tightest areas are my hamstrings, hips and quadriceps. There's no sun salutations involved but if you would prefer to add in some before doing this sequence it would help to ease the muscles into the cool down stretch. When I have more time, I include a couple surya namaskar A's before heading into downward facing dog (adho mukha svanasana).
Quick Post Run (or Exercise) Yoga Sequence
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** indicates do the series of poses between the stars and then repeat on the second side.
Downward Facing Dog (adho mukha svanasana): Come to hands and knees, curl the toes under and start to press the earth away with the palms and feet as the hips lift. Knees can be bent or more straight (be careful not to lock the knees). Continue pressing the palms and fingertips into the earth as the inner thighs reach in and back. Melt the heart toward the feet and gaze toward the navel. Stay here a few breaths.
**Modified Lunge (anjaneyasana): From downward dog, inhale the right leg up behind, exhale bending the knee and placing the right foot at the front of the mat, in between the hands. Inhale extending the chest forward and exhale the left knee and top of the foot down to the mat. Stay here or inhale the arms to the front knee or above the head. Stay here a few breaths, working the hips forward and stretching through the front of the left hip and quadriceps.
Revolved Lunge (parivrita anjaneyasana): Building on from anjaneyasana, inhale bringing the hands together at heart center and extend out through the crown of the head. Exhale twisting the torso with the option to hook the left elbow to the outside of the right knee. Hold here for a few breaths and release to runners lunge (option to flow through a vinyasa-plank, chaturanga, cobra or upward facing dog into downward facing dog). It's nice to add a twist here just allowing the spine to stretch a bit. **
Triangle Pose (trikonasana): From downward facing dog, step the right foot forward between the hands, turn the left heel down so the outer edge of the left foot is parallel to the back of the mat. Inhale the torso and arms up coming into warrior II for a breath. Inhale straightening through the front knee and reaching the right hand forward. Exhale tipping the torso so the right hand rests on the shin, ankle a block or the mat, while the left hand reaches up toward the sky. Hold for a few breaths and repeat on the second side. Stretching through the inner and outer thighs and backs of the legs.
Standing Forward Fold (uttanasana): From downward facing dog, inhale and step the feet to the front of the mat, hip distance apart and putting a bend in the knees as needed (especially if there's pulling or strain on the low back). Exhale folding at the waist, reaching the crown of the head down toward the earth. Hold here for a few breaths, breathing into the backs of the legs.
Garland Pose (malasana):From standing forward fold, inhale turing the toes out, exhale sinking the hips down coming into a low squat (if there are knee issues, keep the upper thighs parallel to the floor). Hands can be on the floor or bring palms together at heart center pressing the elbows against the inner knees. This stretches the inner thighs.
Disclaimer: The information on this website (Alt Yoga Vibe) is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for medical treatment or hands on instruction. If you are experiencing any severe pain or symptoms, please consult a healthcare practitioner.