“Yoga. Because punching people is frowned upon.”

I’ve said it before, I’ve said it again and I’ll never stop staying it: Runners need to stretch after a workout. I know all of you runners out there have been, and using my 5 essential stretches for runners as a starting point. Right? Right! And even you non-runners, I hope you’re discovering that stretching can further your workouts too.

Now, I want to take you all one step further: yoga.

I hope I didn’t lose half of you. I know the word itself can cause visions of chanting, annoying hippies and switching to a vegan diet. But, to me at least, yoga is really just deeper, more focused stretching that’s great for recovery and furthered athletic performance. Not only that, it forces you to focus on balance and breathing, a naturally calming and meditative state. Who couldn’t use more peace and mindful time?

If you’re not sure where to start, I’ve put together 5 simple, intro yoga poses for runners. These yoga poses build off my 5 essential stretches for runners and add in a couple staples that are great for beginners advanced yogis. For best experience, do the first three on one side, then switch sides. Warrior

1. Warrior Pose
Start your yoga stretching session with Warrior Pose. It allows for focused breathing, gets you into the right mindset and offers a nice stretch for the hip flexors.

Focus on a tight core, strong shoulders and a proud chest. Find a focus past your front hand and lock into it as you breathe and hold the pose. Triangle

2. Triangle Pose
You’ve been doing the V-stretch, now take on the Triangle Pose. It deepens the stretch and adds an element that opens up your chest and improves balance.

Place your bottom hand on the ground, your foot or shin, depending on your flexibility level. Your gaze can be straight ahead or up at your hand. Lunge

3. Lunge with Quad Stretch
This pose builds on the runner stretch and the basic quad stretch. Take this one slow – you’ll really feel it!

Gently grab your foot or ankle. Slowly pull until you feel the stretch. You can also go further into the lunge to feel a slightly different stretch. Downward

4. Downward Facing Dog Pose
This is another fairly basic pose that encourages focused breathing and balance, as well as shoulder strength. Bonus: it feels great for the calves.

The closer your hands to your feet, the more it will stretch. So find the placement that feels best for you (and your hammys will allow) then dig in your heels to feel the deep calf stretch. Ragdoll

5. Ragdoll Pose
A standing form of the seated hamstring stretch, the Ragdoll is a great way to relieve the hamstrings as well as loosen your lower back and shoulders. Because of it’s simple, relaxing nature, it’s a perfect way to cap off your yoga sesh.

Remember: Like stretching, yoga should never be painful. Only take the pose far enough that you feel the stretch yet in a comfortable way.

If you like this post, please share it with fellow runners on Facebook and Twitter. And let me know! I plan to continue to build on my stretching and yoga blogs with more so I’d love to know people are interested, trying them and enjoying them. Comment or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.

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