The Only Yoga Sequence Runners Need to Do
As a runner, you already know you should be stretching more, so I'm not even going to go there. I'm just going to present you with the most amazing Sun Salutation variation ever, which has been specifically designed with your runner body in mind. This sequence is full of hip openers, hamstring stretches, quad and glute toners, and lower back lengtheners; if you only do one thing today (besides go for a run), make this it. Repeat this sequence at least twice before or after a run, and you'll notice a difference.
Note that this sequence flows like regular Sun Salutations, moving from one pose to the next with each inhale and exhale. If you prefer, you can hold each of these poses for five breaths for an even longer and more intense yoga session.
- Come onto the hands and knees into the classic upside-down-V shape called Downward Facing Dog.
- Take a complete breath here.
Tip-Toe Three-Legged Dog
- From Downward Dog, inhale to step the feet together so your big toes are touching, and raise your right leg into the air, rising up onto the left toes.
Arching Three-Legged Dog
- From Tip-Toe Three-Legged Dog, exhale to bend the right knee, as you lift your head up to look over your left shoulder, arching the spine.
- From Arching Three-Legged Dog, inhale to step the right foot forward between the hands, rising up into Warrior 2 with the arms extended into T position, gazing passed the right fingers.
- From Warrior 2, exhale to turn the left toes out, squatting deeply with the thighs parallel to the floor.
- Cross the right arm over the left and bring the palms together.
- From Goddess Eagle, take a breath in and turn the right toes in, lowering into Warrior 2 on the left side, gazing passed the left fingertips.
- From Warrior 2, bring the palms together and exhale as you bend the left knee deeply, lowering the hips into a Side Lunge with the right heel flexed.
- From Side Lunge on the left, inhale to shift your weight, bending the right knee into Side lunge.
Low Crescent Lunge
- From Side Lunge, exhale to plant the palms on the front of the mat, lowering the left knee.
- Inhale to raise the arms up, sinking the pelvis toward the floor to intensify the stretch in the hips.
Lifted Head to Knee
- From Low Crescent Lunge, exhale to shift your weight back, straightening the right leg and folding forward with both feet flexed.
- From Lifted Head to Knee, inhale to shift your weight forward, turning to the left, coming back into the Side Lunge on the right side with the palms pressed together.
- From Side Lunge on the right, exhale to shift your weight, coming into the Side Lunge on the left.
Low Crescent Lunge
- From Side Lunge, inhale to turn to the back of your mat, lowering the right knee and lifting the arms up.
Lifted Head to Knee
- From Low Crescent Lunge, exhale to shift your weight back, straightening the left leg and folding forward with both feet flexed.
- From Lifted Head to Knee, inhale to shift your weight forward, turning to the right, coming back into the Side Lunge on the left side with the palms pressed together.
- From Side Lunge on the left, exhale to shift your weight, coming into the Side Lunge on the right.
- From Side Lunge, inhale to turn toward the front of your mat, planting the palms and extending the legs behind you.
- From Plank, exhale to bend the elbows behind you, lowering the body in one straight line.
- From Four-Limbed Staff, inhale to scoop the chest forward, rolling onto the tops of the feet.
- From Up Dog (and this is tough!), exhale to roll back onto the balls of the feet, bending the elbows behind you, hovering over the floor.
- From Four-Limbed Staff, inhale to straight the arms.
- From Plank, exhale to lift the hips up, pressing the heels back, resting on the hands and feet with the legs and arms straight.
- Hold here for five breaths then repeat this sequence with the left leg leading.