Cool Down, Stretch Out: The Postrun Yoga Sequence You Need

Cool Down| Stretch Out: The Postrun Yoga Sequence You Need

After a tough run| this yoga sequence is the perfect way to cool down. By targeting the legs| lower back| and hips| these poses stretch all the areas that need special attention after running. And since the muscles are already warmed up| it’s the primetime to work on extending flexibility.

| Downward Facing Dog

Downward Facing Dog lays a strong| active foundation for the rest of your practice:

  • Begin on your hands and knees; your wrists should be underneath your shoulders| and your knees should be underneath your hips.
  • Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips| coming into an upside down “V”” shape called Downward Facing Dog.
  • Spread your fingers wide and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button. Hold for five breaths.
  • Traditionally| this pose is done during Sun Salutation A| so you can also come into it from Upward Facing Dog.

| Warrior 1

Warrior 1 will give a big stretch to your hip flexors:

  • From Downward Facing Dog| step your left foot forward between your hands. Turn your right heel in| press into your feet| and lift your torso up. You want your left foot to be slightly to the right of the center of your mat (not directly in front of your right heel).
  • Once your hips are square| lift your arms up| and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down towards your hips and gaze up toward your hands.
  • Stay here for five breaths. Then come back to Downward Facing Dog| step your right foot forward and do Warrior 1 on the other side| and come back to Downward Dog.

| Sugar Cane

Sugarcane Pose is an essential asana for any runner who needs to give her legs and back a little love:

  • After you’ve completed Warrior 1 on both sides| you’ll be in Downward Facing Dog.
  • From here| step your left foot forward between your hands| and float into Half Moon Pose with your left hand planted firmly on the floor and your right leg lifted in the air. Stay for a few breaths to relax into the posture.
  • On your inhale| bend your right leg in toward your chest. On the exhale| reach back for your right foot with your right arm. Your right hand will catch the top of your right foot.
  • Once you’ve got a firm grip and you’re stabilized in the pose| imagine you’re kicking back. Press the top of your right foot into your right.
  • Hold for five breaths before releasing the right foot back into Half Moon Pose. Return the foot to the floor| and try it on the other side.

| Wide-Legged Forward Bend C

Wide-Legged Forward Bend C is a perfect pose to alleviate any stress in the back of your body. After any tough cardio| your legs will appreciate this posture:

  • From Sugarcane Pose| come back to standing. Stand with your feet three to four feet apart| turning heels out slightly wider than toes.
  • Bring your arms behind your back| clasping your fingers and pressing the heels of your palms together in a fist.
  • Fold forward| hinging at your hips| drawing the crown of your head and your hands toward the floor. Relax your toes| and try to shift the weight of your hips forward so they’re in line with your feet.
  • Stay here for five deep breaths. Then press into your feet| engage your quads| and inhale as you stand up.

| Hero Pose

Hero Pose is a contemplative posture that really stretches your quadriceps:

  • From Wide-Legged Forward Bend C| come to kneel on your mat with your knees together. Separate your feet| so you can sit down on the ground in between them.
  • Use your hands to roll your calves away from your thighs. Curl the arches of your feet around the curve of your bum| so your toes are pointing behind you and slightly toward one another.
  • Rest your hands on your thighs| press your palms together in front of your chest| or raise your hands overhead. Stay here for five deep breaths.

| Butterfly

Butterfly Pose opens up the back and inner thighs:

  • From Hero Pose| sit on your bottom. Bend both knees| and bring your feet together.
  • Using your hands| open your feet up like a book| pressing your knees toward the floor with your elbows. If you want more of a stretch| then extend your arms out in front of you.
  • Stay here for five breaths.

| Legs Up the Wall

Tight legs and stiff lower backs will find comfort in this simple but important posture| Legs Up the Wall:

  • After Butterfly Pose| grab your mat| and move it toward the closest wall.
  • Sit sideways| and position yourself a few inches away from a wall. On your exhale| swing your hips 90 degrees to bring legs up the wall.
  • Allow your shoulders and head to rest lightly on the floor| relax your arms at your sides| and close your eyes.
  • Keep your legs firm against the wall| but don’t force anything in this pose. If it feels uncomfortable on your lower back| then move a few more inches away from the wall.

The Post-Workout Stretches to Perform After Cardio

After a tough cardio session, taking the time for a cooldown helps regulate blood flow, prevent injury, and improve flexibility. Take a few minutes to move through these stretches and give a little love to your tired muscles.

Cross-Legged Fold

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Stretch out tight IT bands with a quick cross-legged stretch:

Bend in half at the waist and hang over, and cross your left foot behind your right, pressing your left big toe down into the floor.Twist your upper body to the left, and hold onto your right leg. You should feel a gentle pull on the outside of your right leg. Hold the stretch for a minute.Uncross your legs, and switch legs to stretch the other side.Tip-Over Tuck

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

You’ll mostly reap the benefits in your chest and shoulders, but this move also releases tension in your hamstrings and lower back:

Begin standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Bring your arms behind you, and interlace your fingers right below your sacrum (back of your pelvis). Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest. From here, lean your chest forward and lift your hands up overhead as you fold your torso toward your thighs. If you’re only concerned with feeling this stretch in your chest and shoulders, then keep your knees bent. To bring this stretch into your hamstrings and lower back, straighten your legs.Stay like this for at least 30 seconds, and when you’re ready to come out, actively press into your feet, engage your thighs, and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position. Perform again for another 30 seconds.Kneeling Quad Stretch

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Sore quads will find relief in this move. Just be sure to breathe deep if it feels tough:

Start off in a high lunge position, with your right foot forward. Then, slowly drop your left knee to the ground.Take a few moments to find balance, and once you’re stabilized, with your left arm, reach back for your toes on your left foot.Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly release your hold on your left foot. Come back to the high lunge position, and then switch sides with your left foot forward. Perform this move on your right quad.Seated Leg Cradle

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Most people aren’t sure how to stretch out their glutes, so they’re often skipped in a stretching session. Try this seated move after your next workout:

Sit on your mat cross-legged or with your feet touching each other. Lift up your left leg, and hook your calf over your left arm. Grab onto your feet with your hands for support.Slowly lift up your left leg until you feel a stretch in your glutes and hips. You can gently rock your leg from side to side to move the stretch to different parts of the muscle.Hold for 30 seconds, and then switch legs.Butterfly

Source: Jenny Sugar

Don’t worry about bringing your nose to your toes in Butterfly Pose! Just focus on lengthening your torso, so your hips and lower back get the stretch they deserve:

Bend both knees, and bring your feet together.Using your hands, open your feet up like a book. Use your muscles to press your knees down toward the floor.Lengthen your spine, drawing your belly button toward your spine. Relax your shoulders, and gaze either in front of you or toward your feet.Stay here for 30 seconds, and then slowly begin to fold forward, drawing your torso toward your legs.Keep your hands on your feet, pressing your knees down with your arms, or if you want more of a stretch, extend your arms out in front of you.Fold forward to increase the intensity, and hold for an additional 30 seconds.Modified Hurdler Stretch

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Finish on a strong note with this relaxing stretch that continues to stretch the hips but also targets tight hamstrings:

From Butterfly Pose, straighten your left leg, and press the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.Remain seated or, if you’re more flexible, fold over your left leg, coming into Head to Knee.Try to keep both shoulders parallel with the ground. Hold for 30 seconds, and then do this stretch on the other side for an additional 30 seconds.

The Post-Workout Stretches to Perform After Cardio

After a tough cardio session| taking the time for a cooldown helps regulate blood flow| prevent injury| and improve flexibility. Take a few minutes to move through these stretches and give a little love to your tired muscles.

Cross-Legged Fold

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Stretch out tight IT bands with a quick cross-legged stretch:

Bend in half at the waist and hang over| and cross your left foot behind your right| pressing your left big toe down into the floor.Twist your upper body to the left| and hold onto your right leg. You should feel a gentle pull on the outside of your right leg. Hold the stretch for a minute.Uncross your legs| and switch legs to stretch the other side.Tip-Over Tuck

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

You’ll mostly reap the benefits in your chest and shoulders| but this move also releases tension in your hamstrings and lower back:

Begin standing with your feet hip-distance apart. Bring your arms behind you| and interlace your fingers right below your sacrum (back of your pelvis). Actively pull your hands away from your shoulders to increase the stretch in your chest. From here| lean your chest forward and lift your hands up overhead as you fold your torso toward your thighs. If you’re only concerned with feeling this stretch in your chest and shoulders| then keep your knees bent. To bring this stretch into your hamstrings and lower back| straighten your legs.Stay like this for at least 30 seconds| and when you’re ready to come out| actively press into your feet| engage your thighs| and slowly lift your torso back up to a standing position. Perform again for another 30 seconds.Kneeling Quad Stretch

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Sore quads will find relief in this move. Just be sure to breathe deep if it feels tough:

Start off in a high lunge position| with your right foot forward. Then| slowly drop your left knee to the ground.Take a few moments to find balance| and once you’re stabilized| with your left arm| reach back for your toes on your left foot.Hold for 30 seconds. Slowly release your hold on your left foot. Come back to the high lunge position| and then switch sides with your left foot forward. Perform this move on your right quad.Seated Leg Cradle

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Most people aren’t sure how to stretch out their glutes| so they’re often skipped in a stretching session. Try this seated move after your next workout:

Sit on your mat cross-legged or with your feet touching each other. Lift up your left leg| and hook your calf over your left arm. Grab onto your feet with your hands for support.Slowly lift up your left leg until you feel a stretch in your glutes and hips. You can gently rock your leg from side to side to move the stretch to different parts of the muscle.Hold for 30 seconds| and then switch legs.Butterfly

Source: Jenny Sugar

Don’t worry about bringing your nose to your toes in Butterfly Pose! Just focus on lengthening your torso| so your hips and lower back get the stretch they deserve:

Bend both knees| and bring your feet together.Using your hands| open your feet up like a book. Use your muscles to press your knees down toward the floor.Lengthen your spine| drawing your belly button toward your spine. Relax your shoulders| and gaze either in front of you or toward your feet.Stay here for 30 seconds| and then slowly begin to fold forward| drawing your torso toward your legs.Keep your hands on your feet| pressing your knees down with your arms| or if you want more of a stretch| extend your arms out in front of you.Fold forward to increase the intensity| and hold for an additional 30 seconds.Modified Hurdler Stretch

Source: POPSUGAR Studios

Finish on a strong note with this relaxing stretch that continues to stretch the hips but also targets tight hamstrings:

From Butterfly Pose| straighten your left leg| and press the sole of your right foot against your left inner thigh.Remain seated or| if you’re more flexible| fold over your left leg| coming into Head to Knee.Try to keep both shoulders parallel with the ground. Hold for 30 seconds| and then do this stretch on the other side for an additional 30 seconds.