FIT TIP: Post Run Yoga Cool Down

woman laying on yoga mat

Right after a long run, your muscles are still warm and can greatly benefit from a good stretching. This is a great time to enhance your flexibility and increase your chance to prevent injury. This sequence movement will target running muscles like quads, hips, calves, hamstrings, ankles, feet and hip flexors.

These yoga poses are intended to ensure that your body is flexible and tough to handle the demands of running that places serious strains on your body.

♥ Downward Facing Dog

Allows you to breath and stretch those just-used muscles.

Start with your hands and knees; place your wrists under your shoulders, and your knees beneath your hips. As you fold your toes beneath your heels, inhale. Then exhale as you lift your hips, going to an upside down position V shape known as Downward Facing Dog. With your fingers widely spread, form a straight a straight line between your elbows and middle fingers. Then slowly straighten your legs and lower your heels to the ground. Ease your head in-between your arms and focus your gaze up toward your belly button or your legs. Stay in the position for five breaths. Usually, this yoga pose is ideally done during Sun Salutation A, so that you can come to this pose from the Upward Facing Dog pose.

♥ Warrior 1

Is a pose that provides a great stretch to your hip flexors.

From the Downward Facing Dog pose, position your left foot forward in the middle of your hands. Turn your right heel in, pressing into your feet, and then lift up your torso. It might be good to position your left foot slightly to the right in the center of the mat and not directly in front of your right heel. After you position your hips are squared, lift up your arms and palms pressing together. Pull your shoulder blades downwards to your hips and then look towards your hands. Hold for five breaths. Then return to Downward Facing Dog pose, with your right foot forward, do Warrior 1 on the opposite side and return to Downward Dog. Sugarcane Pose is an important asana for runners who require giving love to her back and legs:

After completing Warrior 1 on two sides, you will be in a Downward Facing Dog pose.

From this pose, left foot forward between your hands, and hover in the Half Moon Pose with left hand firmly placed on the floor and right leg raised in the air. Hold for a few breaths in this posture to relax. During inhalation, your right leg bent toward your chest. And when you exhale, with your right arm, reach back to your right foot. Your right hand will clasp the top part of your right foot. When you have a steady grip and you are stable in the pose, try imagining that you are kicking back. Press your top right foot into your right hand. Stay in this pose for five breaths before letting go of the right foot in the Half Moon Pose. Place your foot back to the floor, and do the other side.

♥ Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

A great pose for relieving stress in the back of your body. After doing a tough cardio work out, your legs will like this posture.

From the Sugarcane Pose, return to standing pose. Stand with feet apart about 3 to 4 feet, with the heels slightly wider than the toes. Place your arms in your back, grasping your fingers and the heels of your palms pressed together in a fist. Bend forward, hinging at your hips, drawing your hands and the crown of your head toward the floor. Your toes should be relaxed, and try shifting forward the weight of your hips so they will be in line with your feet. Hold this pose for five breaths. Then pressing your feet, employ your quads and as you stand up, inhale.

♥ Hero Pose

This is great posture that focuses in stretching your quadriceps.

From the With-Legged Forward Bend C pose, kneel on your mat with knees together. Your feet should be separated so that you can sit on the ground in between them.
With the use of your hands, roll your calves from your thighs. The arches of your feet should be curled around the curve of your bum, so that your toes are slightly towards one another and are pointing behind you. Hands rested on your thighs, your palms should be pressed together in front of your chest, or have your hands raised overhead. Hold for five breaths.

♥ Butterfly Pose

Helps in opening up the inner thighs and the back.

From the Hero Pose, sit on your bottom. Both knees bent, and your feet brought together.
With the use of your hands, open your feet just like a book, with your elbows, press your knees towards the floor. If you do want more stretch, you can extend your arms in front of you. Hold for five breaths.

♥ Legs Up the Wall

Is a great posture if you want comfort for your tight legs and lower backs.

From the Butterfly Pose, take your mat and have it positioned near a wall. Sit sideways and station yourself just a few inches from the wall. When you exhale, bring your hips 90 degrees to put your legs up the wall. Let your head and shoulders rest lightly on the floor, put your arms at your sides and relax them, and then close your eyes.
Maintain your legs firmly on the wall, but do not force anything in this position. When it starts to feel uncomfortable on your lower back, then slowly move just a few inches from the wall.