Everyone knows that you should stretch after a run, but what exactly should that entail? Certain yoga stretches can help you to prevent injury, revive your muscles and prepare yourself for your next run.
Half Pigeon—opens up tight glutes and hips
Beginning in table top position, exhale and bring your right knee forward so that the thigh and knee are directly in front of the left hip socket. Be sure that your right heel is also aligned and your knee isn’t sliding. Your left leg should jut straight back with your foot laying flat. As you inhale, lift your torso upright and hold that position for eight breaths. On the next exhale, walk your hands forward, keeping your knee in position, and hold for eight breaths. Switch legs and repeat.
Downward Facing Dog—relieves hamstrings
Begin in plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart, your middle fingers pointing straight ahead, your feet hips-width apart, and your heel directly behind your second toe. Lift up onto your toes and bring your torso inward to form a “V” with your body. Bend your knees rather than arching your back if you’re uncomfortable.
Toe Squat—opens toes and strengthens ankles
Start by sitting on your heels with your feet together. Tuck your toes under to lift up on the balls of your feet. Remain there for as many breaths as you would like. To come out of the pose, lean forward and place your hands in front of you then lift your hips forward and release your feet.
Supine Split—relieves hamstrings
Using a yoga strap, lay on your back and wrap the strap around one foot. As you exhale, lift your leg pulling the strap toward you. Hold it for a few breaths and then on an exhale pull your leg in closer. Release your leg and repeat with the opposite leg.
Thread the Needle—releases upper body tension
Start out in table pose. Slide your right hand between your left hand and left knee. Next slide your arm out to the left until your right shoulder and right side of your head are resting comfortably on the ground. As you inhale, reach toward the ceiling with your left hand. Hold the stretch for four or five breaths. Release and repeat on the other side.
Reverse Child’s Pose—stretches quads and hip flexors
Sitting on your heels with your feet together, reach your arms back behind you with your hands facing forward and tuck your tailbone under as you slowly lean backward. Continue backwards onto your elbows, but don’t force it if you begin to feel pain. Lean all the way back onto your shoulders if possible. Stay there for a few breaths.
Figure-4 Stretch—relieves the glutes, hips and lower back
Stand with your feet together and bend your knees as you come into a squat. Cross your right foot over your left thigh, placing it above the knee. You can either bring your hands to heart’s center or sit deeper into the pose and lift your hands forward either up above your head or down onto the floor. Repeat with opposite leg.
List adapted from runnersworld.com