Why Yoga is Important for Runners: Poses to Improve Flexibility and Strength

Often when people start running they have to deal with injuries: problems with their knees, shins, hips, and lower back. Running does not necessarily cause all these problems, but the imbalance that running brings to the body can lead to them. Think about the pounding, the one singular movement that you repeat for the length of your run. Really it’s a repetitive strain. Yoga is the perfect recovery activity for runners. It relieves soreness and tension in your hardworking muscles and restores your range of motion so you can run better the next time you hit the road.

Warming up with yoga

Doing some yoga to warm up before running helps prepare the muscles, making the body warm and balanced before you start. Your run will no doubt be more pleasant and also you will be less likely to injure yourself.

Cooling down with yoga

Cooling down with yoga after a run balances the actions you took during the run. You stretch out what is tight, such as your calves, strengthen what the weak, such as your core, and soften what has tensed up, such as the hips, hamstrings, and upper back. You will feel so much better, more relaxed and loose.

When you perform your normal stretches, pre- and post-run, you’re just focused on one particular area. With yoga, however, you are focused on the whole body, the breath brings you into the pose while the mind is relaxed and alert.

When breath and movement are synchronized, magic happens. The “feel good feeling” that yoga is famous for has to do with this simple thing: synchronizing movement and breath.

At Wizard Athleisure[1], we believe in creating a magical experience, to give you the confidence to overcome all your challenges. One of these many challenges is to avoid injuries during running and to improve posture. We’ve put together some of the best yoga postures you get started:Downward dog:

Downward dog targets your upper and lower body at the same time, so you’ll feel it in your arms, shoulders, back, calves, hamstrings, and ankles. Not only does it provide a great ankle and calf stretch but it also strengthens lots of smaller stabilizing muscles in the foot.


  • From an all-fours position, place your hands in front of your shoulders and tuck your toes. Spread your fingers wide.
  • As you exhale, lift your hips up and back, making your spine long.
  • You can keep a bend in your knees if your shoulders are round. You want to lift up and out of your shoulders, with a flat upper back, pressing the floor away from you.
  • Take 3 deep breaths here. You can stay still or walk on the spot, bending one knee at a time.

Low lunge:

Low lunge is a must for runners. The low lunge can train the balance and proprioception of the body and help with the mobility of your torso, hips, and ankle joints. The low lunge mainly stretches the quadriceps, abdominals, and hip flexors and helps strengthen the glutes. Wizard men’s compression long tights and Wizard women’s impact seamless high waist legging would be an ideal choice for yoga and stretching. Pair it with your favorite Wizard tank top or crop top.


  • From your downward dog, move your right foot between the hands, dropping your left knee to the floor. Untuck your left toe.
  • You can place your hands on either side of your right foot. Keep pressing into your right foot and the top of your left foot while you breathe into the lunge.
  • As you press into your feet, sink your hips forward and down to stretch the quadriceps on the left leg. Take 3 deep breaths.
  • Change legs, bringing your left foot forward and right leg back, and repeat.

Intense side stretch:

An intense side stretch pose is a deep stretch, focusing not only on the legs, ankles, and feet but the spine. This pose relieves stiffness in the legs and hip muscles and helps with mobility in the hips and spine. The core muscles are working while the head rests on the knees. The shoulders are drawn back, which helps correct rounded, drooping shoulders.


  • Come to stand with your feet around a leg’s distance apart. Turn your right toes out to the short side of your yoga mat and turn your left toes in towards the center of your mat.
  • Inhale and lift your arms up, turning your hips in the same direction as your right foot, and exhale folding from your hips over your right leg.
  • Place your hands on your right shin or the floor, if you can reach. You can also use yoga blocks under the hands for support or loop your arms behind you.
  • As you take 3 deep breaths here, keep turning your left hip towards the right foot so your pelvis stays level.
  • Inhale, press firmly into your feet, engage your thighs, and lift your arms up, coming to stand. Repeat on the other side.


The bridge pose is great for stretching out after a long run and improving your hip strength. Running can put pressure on your hips that, over time, can take its toll on your performance. Bridge pose is here to help you build strength in your hip muscles.


  • Come to lie on your back, with your feet on the floor close to your back. You should be able to touch your heels with your middle fingers.
  • Place your arms down beside you, palms facing the floor. Press into your upper arms and forearms and start to lift the hips up as you inhale.
  • Keep tucking your tailbone to the back of your knees and lift your hips up higher. Your chest should be moving towards your throat.
  • Take 3 deep breaths here before releasing back down on an exhale. You can repeat this posture a few times.

Reclined pigeon pose:

Reclined pigeon pose offers multiple benefits. It opens the muscles surrounding the hips, the low back, and the backs of the legs. When we don’t take the time to stretch out over-taxed areas properly, it can often lead to tightness and pain. Gently stretching these specific muscle groups will let your body heal and recover properly from overuse


  • From your bridge pose, keep your feet on the floor and place your right ankle in front of your left knee.
  • Ensure your right knee is moving away from your right shoulder so you can feel a stretch in your outer right hip. You can stay here with your left foot on the floor or if you can’t feel much in your outer right hip, try the next step.
  • Inhale and lift your left foot off the floor. Thread your right arm through the center of the legs and your left arm around the left side of the left leg so you can take the back of your left thigh.
  • Take five deep breaths here before changing to repeat on the other side.

Head-to-knee pose:

The head-to-knee pose stretches the hamstrings, hips, and groin muscles. Athletes and runners who need to run often will benefit from this excellent technique for tight hamstrings.


  • Come to a seated position with your legs outstretched in front of you. Bend your right knee and place your foot on the inside of your left leg.
  • Inhale and place your hands on the floor next to your hips. Lift your chest up, lengthening your spine but relaxing your shoulders down away from your ears. Exhale here and then inhale to lift the arms up overhead.
  • Exhale and fold forward, hinging from your hips over your left leg. Take three deep breaths here before changing sides.

Running is repetitive in nature. This can cause musculoskeletal imbalances in flexibility or strength. Yoga helps restore symmetry and balance to the body by improving flexibility and strength in the muscles and provides a full-body workout. Muscles especially in the arms and upper torso not usually used in running are called upon and strengthened.

So why not try these yoga poses before and after your running sessions? If you are looking for perfect run-wear, check out Wizard Athleisure Running collections.


  1. Welcome to the world of Wizard Athleisure. We are an ethical active-wear and lifestyle brand with a focus on technology, sustainability, and empowering our diverse audience.
  2. Kat Bayly,
  3. Esther Ekhart,

Poovamma C K

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