Most runners know they should do yoga. Most runners also think that means spending an hour in a yoga studio, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Even a few poses practiced regularly could mean the difference between an okay run and a good run. They call it a practice for a reason.
I am starting a new series called Runner Strong Yoga. Each month or so I’ll share one yoga pose that complements your running. I’ll share tips to do the pose correctly and fix any misalignments you might have. I’ll let you know what muscles the pose targets and any contraindications for the pose.
Pyramid Pose: Good all around post run stretch
Pyramid Pose is actually a very accessible pose for most runners. It’s a standing pose that can easily be done before you even head home. Simply grab onto a tree, a wall, the trunk of your car, or a park bench. In addition to being a great hamstring and low back stretch, done right it can also help you strengthen your core and your legs.
- Lower Back
- Moderate hip stretch
- Good allover body stretch
- Be careful going too deeply into Pyramid Pose if you have low back issues
- Be careful if you have hamstring injuries/issues
Watch Out For
- Feet not pressing evenly into the ground
- Legs not straight and/or activated
- Hips not level, side to side, up and down — or both!
- Back rounding or dipping down (can you balance a coffee cup on your back?)
How to Modify It
While this pose is great for beginners and experienced yogis, props can be a great addition to really give you the full benefit of the pose.
- Prop your fingers up on blocks (no death grips, please!)
- Practice with your hands pushing into a wall (or tree, or park bench if outside — even your treadmill!)
- Place your hands on your hips or low back to see if your hips are level
- If you find turning out your back foot bothers your knee, just keep the foot pointing straight ahead — but still keep it very active!
Now let’s get into Pyramid Pose
- Standing at the top of your mat, legs hip width apart, step one leg back roughly the width of one leg. Both legs are straight, with just a slight microbend at the knees.
- Toes of the front leg point forward.
- Rotate the back leg out roughly 30 degrees, from the hip. If this bothers your knee, you can allow the heel of the back foot to come off the mat, or play with the angle of your foot until it’s comfortable for you.
- Press both feet firmly into the mat (if available to you), and really activate both legs so much that you feel a slight lift in your kneecaps.
- Feel your legs yearning towards each other and your big toe pressing firmly into your mat; this will help you balance.
- Draw your navel to your spine to activate your core.
- Think about lengthening toward the front of your mat as you slowly hinge forward from your hips until your back is parallel to the ceiling.
- Keep your gaze down and slightly forward (to the top of your mat if you’re on one); you want your neck in line with your spine.
- As you hold this pose for several breaths, think about your head and your tailbone continuing to move away from one another.
- To come out of the pose, slowly raise your head back towards the ceiling.
- Step your back foot forward to meet your front foot.
- Pause, notice if you feel differently side to side.
- Repeat Pyramid Pose on the second side.
Do you have a yoga pose you’d like to see featured here?
Do you have a favorite arm variation for Pyramid Pose?
If you try Pyramid Pose after a run, let me know how it felt!