Yoga for Runners – Tips & Tricks

Jogging is a wonderful sport for training the entire body, burning calories properly, building muscles, strengthening the immune system, and blocking out stress and hecticness for a short time. And best of all, running isn’t even expensive. If you are already a runner, you certainly have a great basic level of fitness, but can you also touch the ground with your fingertips? If it doesn’t work, then you are like many other runners.

Also: The large muscle groups in the thighs, hips, and bottom are shortened. Many runners often neglect to stretch before or after a jog. Yoga, in particular, is ideal after a running session to stretch all muscle groups and make them supple. Even if you’d rather jump straight into the shower after your run, still take a few minutes and try out the exercises. Your muscles will recover faster, and thank you in the long run.

1- Yoga for Runners: Why Do Our Muscles Shorten?

First of all, it should be said that the shape of a muscle can neither be shortened nor lengthened anatomically. Therefore, the muscles are not shortened through sport, but their elasticity is reduced. Muscle shortening often has two main causes: either there is a lack of physical activity, or the muscles are only strained on one side.

Anyone who sits a lot in everyday life suffers from muscle shortening just as much as active athletes. Sitting for too long shortens the muscles due to the lack of strain. In athletes, the muscles are stressed on one side. In other words, a muscle is used more than its opponent and shortens in the long run.

The second cause applies when jogging. The leg muscles, in particular, are strained for too long or too often and adapt accordingly. The muscles become stronger, but at the same time, their tension increases, so they pull on the joints with more force. Even when the muscle is at rest, it continues to contract.

Muscle shortening is mainly caused by unequal agonists and antagonists. If you take the arm as an example, then the biceps are the agonist, and the triceps are the antagonist. When you bend your arm, your biceps contract, and your triceps stretch at the same time. Extending your arm stretches your biceps and tightens your triceps.

This function occurs in most of the muscles in our body, even in the fingers and toes. So both muscles sit at the same joint and pull in opposite directions. The nervous system commands our muscles to contract and relax. If a muscle is so tense that it can no longer be stretched to the maximum, this is referred to as muscle shortening. However, this can also lead to poor posture, inflammation of the muscles and tendons, and muscular imbalances.

2- Yoga for runners: yoga against muscle shortening

When running, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the legs and feet are particularly stressed. This shortens the muscles and increases the pull on the ligaments and tendons. There may be an increased risk of injury with long-term consequences. In the case of muscle shortening, however, stretching alone is not enough because both muscles (agonist and antagonist) must be trained evenly.

Regular stretching promotes blood circulation in the muscles and increases their mobility. Muscle regeneration is also accelerated during the rest phase so that you will feel more rested on the next run. Exactly when is the best time to stretch is still a matter of debate among runners, but it may make more sense to warm up before your run and stretch after your workout. After the actual run, you should first slow down, let your breathing calm down, and then start stretching.

Yoga is ideal for stretching after jogging.

Yoga stretches the deep muscles, and the exercises even reach the connective tissue. Just like running, yoga also helps to strengthen not only the body but also the mind. Yoga unites the body, mind, and soul and helps you switch off from everyday life and let your thoughts come to rest. Depending on the yoga style, breathing is also trained, which in turn can be very beneficial when running. If you master the correct breathing during yoga, you will not get out of breath so easily when jogging.

We have put together four asanas for you that you can incorporate right after your run. All asanas should be held for about 15 breaths to give the muscles enough time to relax during the stretch. If you are very sweaty, it is advisable to put on something dry before stretching so that the muscles and ligaments do not cool down and contract. Otherwise, this has a counterproductive effect on yoga exercises.

3- Yoga for Runners: The Arch (Dhanurasana)

The asana Dhanurasana stretches the entire front of the body. The groins and chest, in particular, are stretched. The groin contains the muscles that shorten the hips. Runners also often suffer from slumped shoulders, which can interfere with chest breathing. The arch stretches the shoulder girdle and opens the chest. This improves posture and stimulates chest breathing.

4- Yoga for runners: the straddle forward bend (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Post-run, this exercise is great for stretching your hamstrings. The knee muscles are strengthened, and the back is relieved. You don’t need a mat for this asana, and you can do it outdoors.


  • Stand in a wide straddle. The feet are parallel to each other, and the toes are turned slightly inward.
  • As you inhale, pull your spine up and your legs tight. As you exhale, bend forward from your hips and pull your head down toward the floor.
  • Your tailbone and buttocks pull up. Place your hands on the floor between your legs, and your elbows are slightly bent.
  • Feel the stretch in the backs of your legs, but only stretch as far as you are comfortable.
  • You can also decrease the distance between your feet. The head should not touch the ground.

5- Yoga for Runners: The Little Dancer (Natarajasana)

The little dancer is a great balance exercise and primarily stretches the front of the thigh muscles. The chest muscles are also stretched, which in turn promotes deep breathing when jogging. Again, you don’t need a yoga mat and can practice the asana outdoors.


  • Stand with your arms hanging loosely and stand hip-width apart. Shift your weight onto your left leg. When you feel that you are stable, bring your right foot back, rotate your right palm outward and cup your right foot or big toe.
  • Now raise your right hand vertically and raise your right leg so that your thigh is parallel to the floor.
  • Rotate your right shoulder outward, so your elbow is pointing slightly up. After several breaths, switch sides.

6- Yoga for Runners: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

The down-facing dog corrects a hunchback posture and stretches the armpits, which are often shortened in runners because the arms are always close to the body when jogging. The lumbar spine is relieved, and deep breathing is improved. Even the Achilles tendon is stretched, which often suffers the most damage from regular running.

This video shows you how to get into downward facing dog correctly:

Do you regularly stretch before or after running? We look forward to your feedback and even more tips for the runners among us.

Read also: How to be fit and healthy in the spring


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *