The Perfect 20-Minute Yoga Flow for Runners

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Take 20 minute to reverse some of the tight spots running causes — limbering up your legs and opening your hips.
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Whether you run to train for a race, get faster or simply because you love it (or all of the above), your body is consistently being challenged, and you can use something to balance out the intensity of your training.

Especially if you've recovered from lower back pain, tight hamstrings, limited range of motion or even an injury, yoga can help you safely continue your training while also minimizing potential pain and injuries.

Yoga helps runners by stretching and strengthening the muscles of your legs, back and core; increasing blood flow to overworked muscles and joints and building body and breath awareness, making you more conscious of when your body needs a break or when you can push yourself. It also gives you an opportunity to practice breathing and work on your mind-body connection.

Below is the perfect 20-minute flow you can do before and/or after your run to help you reap all these amazing benefits. As you move through this sequence, let your breath to lead you while mindfully transitioning between each pose. Aim to hold each pose for at least eight to 10 breaths and complete three to five total rounds.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

Move 1: Child's Pose (Balasana)

Move 1: Child's Pose (Balasana)
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Activity Yoga
  1. Kneel on the floor, with your hips aligned over your knees.
  2. Lower your body to rest your glutes on your heels, separate your knees about hip-width apart and bring your big toes to touch.
  3. Exhale and bring your chest down toward your mat, elongating your neck and your spine, stretching your tailbone down toward the floor.
  4. Stretch your arms out in front of you and rest your forehead on the floor.

Tip

Spread the legs slightly wider than hip-width apart if you want to deepen this stretch within the hips.

Move 2: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Move 2: Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
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Activity Yoga
  1. From Child's pose, curl your toes under, grounding them into the floor, and push your sit bones up toward the ceiling so that you're in an inverted V shape.
  2. Lengthen your hips away from your ribs to elongate the spine.

Move 3: High Lunge (Ashta Chandrasana)

Move 3: High Lunge (Ashta Chandrasana)
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Activity Yoga
  1. From Downward Facing Dog, kick your right leg up toward the ceiling.
  2. Exhale and sweep your right leg underneath you and plant the food in between your hands, aligning your right knee over your ankle.
  3. Inhale and lift your torso to an upright position. At the same time, sweep your arms up toward the ceiling.
  4. Draw your shoulders down and away from your ears.
  5. Set your gaze at a point in front of you.
  6. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths, then switch sides.

Move 4: Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)

Move 4: Lizard Pose (Utthan Pristhasana)
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Activity Yoga
  1. From High Lunge, drop your back knee down onto the floor, relaxing your foot.
  2. Align the front knee with your ankle and as you exhale, place your hands on the inside of the foot — either on a block or come all the way down onto your forearms.
  3. Set your gaze down at the floor, keeping the tension out of your neck.
  4. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths, then switch sides.

Move 5: Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)

Move 5: Half Splits Pose (Ardha Hanumanasana)
Image Credit: Shawna Davis/LIVESTRONG.com
Activity Yoga
  1. From Lizard pose, come up onto your hands, placing them on either side of the front foot.
  2. Slowly come up onto your back knee, aligning your hips over your knee.
  3. Inhale to lengthen the spine and as you exhale, straighten out the front leg, lifting the toes up from the floor and toward the ceiling.
  4. From here, you have the option to keep the spine straight or exhale and slowly drop your head and fold yourself over your front leg.
  5. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths before switching sides.

Move 6: Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold (Upavishta Konasana)

Move 6: Wide-Angle Seated Forward Fold (Upavishta Konasana)
Image Credit: Shawna Davis/LIVESTRONG.com
Activity Yoga
  1. From Half Splits, release back and sit on the floor with your legs extended out in front of you.
  2. Separate your legs as wide as you can comfortably stretch and turn your thighs slightly outward so your knees point toward the ceiling.
  3. Flex your toes toward the ceiling and as you inhale, sweep your arms up toward the sky.
  4. Press the backs of your thighs and sit bones into the floor.
  5. Exhale and bend forward from your waist, keeping your back flat as you walk your hands in front of you to slowly lower your chest toward the floor.
  6. Set your gaze forward and stretch as far as possible without rounding your back.

Move 7: Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

Move 7: Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)
Image Credit: Shawna Davis/LIVESTRONG.com
Activity Yoga
  1. From the previous pose, lie down on the floor with your legs extended.
  2. Exhale and bend the right knee, hugging it into your belly.
  3. Press the back of the left thigh into the floor, and push actively through the left heel.
  4. Loop a strap around the sole of the right foot and hold the strap in both hands. Inhale and straighten the knee, pressing the right heel up toward the ceiling.
  5. Walk your hands up the strap until the elbows are fully extended and ground down the hips onto the floor.
  6. Draw the shoulders down and away from your ears and with every exhale, draw the foot a little closer to your head, increasing the stretch on the back of the leg.
  7. Hold for 8 to 10 breaths, then switch sides.
  8. After completing the sequence, come into the final rest pose, Svanasana, by lying on your back and taking several deep breaths.
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