Getting the blood flowing is one reason to warm up before a run, but you also want to slowly open up tight areas to avoid injury and to make running feel easier and more comfortable. Since tight hips and quads are a common complaint, give this yogic warmup a try before your next run. Aside from opening up the hips, it'll also target the shoulders and get the core fired up.
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog with equal weight on the hands and feet. Flare the heels slightly wider than the toes so the outside edges of the feet are parallel with the outside edges of your mat. Spread the fingers wide, and press into the palms to push the hips away from you. Work on lowering the heels to the floor without rounding the spine. Relax the shoulders and head, and gaze at your navel as you breathe for five breaths.
- Inhale to step both feet together and raise the right leg into the air, coming into Three-Legged Dog. Bend the knee, and hold Arching Three-Legged Dog for five breaths.
- On your next inhale, draw the knee forward into the chest, keeping the abs engaged and the shoulders directly over the wrists.
- Exhale to lift the knee back into Arching Three-Legged Dog.
- Continue flowing between these two poses eight or more times.
- Lower the right leg to the floor, coming back to Down Dog. Hold here for one complete breath, and then raise the left leg into the air, repeating on this side.
If you loved warming up with this yoga move, here's another Down Dog variation called Down Dog to Tuck-Toe Up Dog, which is great for warming up the hamstrings, calves, lower back, and shoulders. If your hips and hamstrings need more love, try this Circling Down Dog.