Yoga for Runners: Yin Poses for Recovery

by Jessie Givens January 05, 2017

Integrating active and passive yoga postures into your training program can aid in muscle and joint recovery as well as help build balance and symmetry within the body.

Yin yoga postures are more passive and are meant to be held for a longer periods of time. These yin postures require the targeted muscle to relax around the connective tissue, called fascia, to promote recovery.  Ideal after a run or workout, or as a restorative practice on your rest day.  Check out our article on Yang Yoga Poses for great warm up and cool down postures.


Toe Squat To Ankle Stretch

Toe Squat

Come to a kneeling positions, thighs to touch, with your shoulders stacked over your hips. Tuck your toes and rise to the ball mounds of your feet. Sit your hips back on your heels. Keep your chest lifted. Hold for 1-2 minutes, if possible.


Benefit:  Stretches the muscles in your feet and toes and strengthens your ankles.

Stand up on your knees or place your hands on the ground in front of you to reduce the sensation in your feet.

Be gentle! This can be an uncomfortable posture at first so ease your way into it.


Ankle Stretch  

From Toe Squat, untuck your toes so the tops of your feet rest on the mat. Sit your hips back down on your heels. Sit tall and hold this posture for at least a minute.


Benefit:  Opens the front side of the foot and ankle. Nice counter stretch to Toe Squat. 

Stand up on your knees to reduce the sensation in your ankles.
If you have a yoga block or a towel, slide it under your knees to elevate your shins off the mat for a deeper stretch along the front side of your lower leg.  



Legs Up the Wall

Find a wall and sit with your right hip and shoulder touching the wall. Roll down onto your back and keep your sit bones as close to the wall as possible. Send your legs up the wall and rest your back and head down on the ground. Rest your arms by your side. Allow your legs and hips to relax. Suggested time is 5-10 minutes or longer.


Benefit: Drains tension and fatigue from your legs and feet. Relieves lower back pain.

 Place a pillow or a rolled up towel under your tailbone for more support in your lower back.
If you close your eyes and focus on your breath, this can a perfect time to get in a short resting meditation. 


Iron Cross Shoulder Stretch

Start by lying on your stomach, with your forehead to the mat, arms wide and palms on the earth. Bend your right knee and lift your right leg up so that your right foot lands on the earth outside your left leg. Stack your right hip directly over your left hip, place your left ear to the mat and draw your gaze out to the right. Stay here for 5 breaths. Repeat on other side.


Benefit: Stretches across your shoulder and clavicle. Neutralizes spine. Releases tension in lower back.

Modification: Rest your top knee onto the bottom knee to support the lower back.

Tip: Stretch your fingertips wider to feel a deeper expansion along the shoulders and chest. It is okay for the shoulder of the top leg to lift off the ground.



Written by Certified Yoga Instructor - Amber Oliveira  

Jessie Givens
Jessie Givens


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