How Yoga Can Help You Become a Better Runner


As a yoga teacher, I’ve always enjoyed working with athletes. I became a runner about ten years after I took up yoga, and naturally, I soon took a liking to teaching yoga to runners in my circles, especially minimalist and barefoot runners. Runners can benefit amazingly from a yoga program, and I’ve found many easy links through that can help you create a great and simple practice that can help your running.

Why is yoga so good for runners? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Running gives you tight hamstrings – the most basic yoga poses are great for lengthening the hamstrings to give a better stride and to help prevent injuries.
  • Yoga helps you balance your pelvis with relation to your legs, ankles and feet, so it helps you create smoother gate when you’re running.
  • Yoga cleanses the mind and body from within, so it helps you get deeper into your running as it is part of your life.

Creating a runner’s yoga program

Runners have a big advantage here – very basic, foundational yoga poses do the job quite well. A beginner’s yoga program on will tune you up to the basics of yoga and help you build a foundational practice that will compliment your running regimen nicely.

Build from these essential, basic poses

Start with downward dog – it’s one of the easiest ways to safely lengthen you calves and hamstrings with very low risk of injury. Focus also on anchoring your feet in this pose. Grip the mat with your toes to help lift your arches – this will help tweak the muscles that hug the sides of your knees and improve leg coordination.

Warrior pose is another must.’s instructions are easy to follow. This pose helps not only with pelvic balance and leg coordination, it does the essential function of tightening the muscles around your knees. This is critical for any yoga practitioner, especially runners.

Why? As you do different poses that make your hamstrings longer, you literally make your legs longer. As a result, you loosen the knee joints. If you don’t do a bit to tighten the muscles around the knees after your legs are lengthened, you run the risk of having your knee joints get twisted because they’ve been loosened.

Revolved triangle is another great pose. I like’s approach with this pose because it uses a wall as a guide. You don’t actually lean on the wall, you simply use the wall as a visual guide to help you coach yourself into your alignment. Revolved triangle is a mechanically-simple pose that is challenging because it literally stretches every muscle in your body. It will help decrease the length differences of your limbs and eliminate the tightness you can have when muscles are shorter on one side of your body than the other.

Cap it off with tree pose. Tree pose helps strengthen all the muscles in your legs from toe to hips. Tiny muscles control 30 different joints in each foot and which connect to muscles in your ankles. It also helps coordinate the core with the legs so that they work in sync when you’re on the trail or pounding the pavement.

Yogasync me! Are you a runner looking for more yoga syncs to work into your training? Try this sequence specifically designed to lengthen the hamstrings and hips.

Yoga for Runners

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About Vincent Gerbino

Vincent Gerbino is a YogaFit™ Certified Yoga Teacher. “Yoga isn’t what I do, it is who I am.” Yoga completely changed my life for the better. Soon after I started my own practice, I said to myself that I had to eventually become a teacher so I could give to the world what Yoga gave to me. In 2006, Vincent began teaching Yoga, five years after he began his own practice. Vincent is also a trained barefoot runner, a co-organizer of the Boulder Barefoot Running Club, and enjoys bicycling, rollerblading and hiking.

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