Yoga for Runners: Yang Postures for Warm Up & Cool Down

by Jessie Givens January 05, 2017

Hitting the pavement often takes a toll on the physical body so the recovery process is just as crucial as the training regimen. As endurance athletes, it’s imperative to carve out time for your body to repair and rejuvenate, which is why incorporating yoga into your routine could be a game changer.

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.

Here we'll explore Yang yoga postures. Yang postures are active and dynamic, supporting your large muscles groups with the focus being on fostering strength and endurance. Ideal for before & after a run or workout, to warm up or cool down the body with active stretching.  Check out our post on Yin yoga postures which are great for recovery.


Half Splits with Foot Flexion

From a kneeling position, send your right leg long and flex your right foot toward your face. Place your hands on the ground by your hips, lengthen your spine and encourage your chest toward your extended foot. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side. 

Yoga - Half Split with Foot Flexion

Benefit: Stretches the hamstring and back line of extended leg. Flexion of the foot supports a deeper calf stretch.

Modification: Walk your hands closer to your body. If you have yoga blocks, place one block under each hand to bring the earth closer to you. 

Tip: Be mindful of your hips that they remain square by drawing your right hip back and left hip forward. 


Modified Crescent Lunge/Low Lunge

Bend into your right knee and send your left leg long behind you. Rest your left leg to the mat and make sure your right knee is stacked directly over your ankle to protect the knee joint. Raise your arms overhead and relax your shoulders down your back. Engage your core to assist with balance. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side. 

yoga modified crescent lunge 

Benefit: Increases mobility in the hip flexor and shoulder girdle. Strengthens quadriceps.

Modification  Tip
If there's too much sensation in your shoulders, bring hands to your front thigh.
For a deeper stretch in the hip flexor, place your right hand on your thigh and send your left arm up and over to the right. Repeat on the other side.


Warrior III

From mountain pose, step forward onto your right foot. Tilt your torso parallel to the mat and extend your left leg long to create a capital T with your body. Relax your shoulders away from your ears. Hold for 5 breaths, then repeat on the other side.

 yoga warrior 3

Benefit: A cardiovascular posture that improves balance and focus. Strengthens the ankle joint and all muscles in standing leg.

Modification: Bend slightly in the standing leg to aid with balance and avoid locking out the knee. Option to bring hands together at heart center.

Tip: Draw the hip bone of your lifted leg down and forward to align with the hip bone of your standing leg to help with balance.


Half Pigeon

Place your right knee on the mat behind your right wrist, and relax left leg long to create a check mark with your legs. Place your hands on the mat beside your hips and lower your chest and head toward the earth. Hold for 5-7 breaths, breathing into any tension you may feel in your hips. Repeat on the other side.


Benefit: Lengthens hip flexor, opens hip joint, stretches the glutes and piriformis muscles. Calms the mind and slows the breath.

Half pigeon Modified yoga half pigeon modified block yoga
If too much sensation in your front knee, lie on your back and cross your right ankle over your left knee. For a deeper stretch in your right hip, places your hands behind your left knee and pull both legs closer to your chest. Repeat on the other side.
Place a block under the hip of your bent knee for more support. (Note: this does not apply to the modification). 



Post written by certified yoga instructor Amber Oliveira 

Jessie Givens
Jessie Givens


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.