Whether you are new to yoga or a seasoned yogi, these stretches will help to release tightness and tension in the pelvic area, release tight hamstrings and generally make you feel calmer and content. You can use these exercises as a warmup or warm down.
Perform these poses for five breaths on each side before or after running or just use for a gentle stretch two to three times per week.
Targets: hips and chest, stretches the groin and legs, lengthens the spine and strengthens the lower body.
1. Step one-foot forwards and the other leg backwards. Bend the front knee and have it stacked over your ankle. Checking you can see your big toe. Have heels in line with each other. Extend the back leg up towards the sky, pushing the knee backwards. Engage all your leg muscles and glutes, coming onto your toes on the back foot. Push down the heel, stabilising on the ball of the foot.
same as high lunge but push hips forwards and draw torso backwards.
Targets: inner thighs, groins, and knees.
1. Come into a seated position onto the floor. Come to the front of the sitting bones
2. Bring your feet in towards you clasping your feet with your hands.
3. Lift through the sit bones, lengthening through your spine. In every exhale, move your knees out feeling your hip flexors opening. Engage your core muscles and lengthen through your chest.
Seated Spinal Twist
1. Come to a seated position with your legs out in front of you and sitting on your sitting bones.
2. Bend the right leg over your left and place your right foot just the other side of your left knee.
3. Keeping the left leg straight, push the heel away from you, flexing the toes towards the shin engaging all the leg muscles.
4. Bring your left elbow to rest on the middle or outside of your right knee with your hand pointing upwards, palm facing away from you.
5. With your right-hand place it behind you, pushing into the mat and twist round on your next exhale. Using a block to get extra height if needed.
6. On every inhale lift through the crown of your head and on every exhale twist the chest round further, making sure your torso is forward and up.
Cow Face Legs
1. Come to a seated position with your right leg bent and foot placed under your left thigh, knee facing down.
2. Bring your left foot over the right knee and place to the outside.
3. Hug your knee drawing it towards your chest, pushing into the sit bones, lengthening through your spine and the crown of your head. Feeling the hip flexors opening.
Standing Forward Fold
1. Stand with feet together and bring the weight to the back of the heels.
2. Bring hands to your hips and engage knees into thighs, squeeze your glutes.
3. Start to fold forward, hinging from the pelvis and not rounding in the back. Try to keep your back flat. Send the hips backwards.
4. Bring your arms to fold forward, either reaching to touch the toes or holding your shins.
5. With every exhale, fold further down. Stay here for 5 breaths.
6. Inhale come back up to standing.
1. Come onto all fours. Bring right knee towards right wrist, placing the shin on the mat with foot facing towards the left hip aiming to get shin parallel to top of the mat. 2. Push the left leg back aiming to sink hips towards the front foot. Releasing the thigh to the mat. Keep pelvis straight.
3. Have hands down by your hips, lifting up through the chest. Squeeze your glutes (bum muscles) and activate all leg muscles. Push front foot towards left hip. Keep in a straight line.
4. To advance it, push hands forwards releasing the chest towards the mat coming onto forearms or fold forward to bring chest completely to mat.
Reclined Pigeon Pose
1. Come onto your back with knees bent.
2. Bring right ankle on top of left thigh pushing that knee out to the side
3. Bring left leg up pushing into the back of the mat, flexing toes.
4. Thread your right arm through your legs and left arm to the side, interlacing fingers behind your left thigh.
5. Draw legs towards chest, pushing right knee out towards the right shoulder.
6. Keep pushing tail bone down towards the floor.
Seated forward fold
1. Sit on the mat with your legs out in front.
2. Flex toes, pushing heels away. Push calves and hamstrings into floor.
3. Come onto sit bones by pulling bum cheeks away.
4. Draw arms up on an inhale, engaging core, exhale fold forward, sending hips backwards, keeping form in the spine and not rounding. Use each breath to fold forward more. Gaze towards your toes.
1. Stand with feet three foot apart. Toes facing towards the front of the mat. Press down into heels.
2. Bring arms behind and hold onto forearms or elbows drawing shoulders backwards lifting through the chest.
3. Sending hips backwards, inhale lift up lengthening through the spine and exhale folding forwards keeping legs straight.
4. Look towards the front toes and fold chest over the front leg keeping arms drawn backwards. Engaging all leg muscles.
1. Come into low lunge, stacking knee over ankle on the front leg.
2. Squeezing glutes and activating all leg muscles, bring hands down to the mat inside of the front leg spreading fingers in line with toes.
3. Push into the front leg pressing down into the foot making sure knee is over ankle.
4. To go further bring forearm’s down to the floor.
Reclined Knee to Shoulder
1. Lie on back, keep tail bone pushed down and lower back into mat. Activate all leg muscles on left leg pushing leg away.
2. Bring right knee up and hug into chest drawing knee towards the top right of right shoulder. Push both heels away, toes flexed
Gemma Nice, Online Relationship and Yoga Coach, Public Speaker and Entrepreneur on Yoga poses to help runners stretch hips, quads, hamstrings and calves.
Gemma started running around 13 years ago but gave it up due to bad hips. She used chiropractors but, in the end, found yoga really helped to stretch those tight hip flexors and hamstrings. She found yoga while traveling the world with her husband. She saw these 5 Thai people doing really weird things all in unison on a beach in Koh Phangan and from then was hooked. Yoga looked idyllic in Thailand so when she returned to the UK, she qualified as a yoga teacher, passing on her passion through her classes. She now continues with running and uses yoga afterwards and hasn’t visited a chiropractor for 10 years.