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5 Hip Stretching Yoga Poses for Runners

May 21, 2014

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I’m a big runner, which can be a bit of a blessing and a curse. Of course, I feel lucky that I enjoy lacing up my running shoes and heading out the door. Not only is it a great way to stay in shape, I also don’t have to pay for a gym membership, and it’s an excellent excuse to explore different neighborhoods in my city!

However, as any runner knows, pounding the pavement can be really hard on your joints, and this can often result in an IT band injury. Your IT band runs from your knee all the way up to your hip, so if you’re suffering from pain on the outside of your knee or your hip while you’re running, your IT band could be the culprit.

Luckily there are a few yoga poses that are very beneficial for strengthening your hip flexor, which will release tension on the IT band and ease the pain you’re feeling while you run. When doing these poses, try to hold each one for 15 slow and steady breaths. If that’s too much for you at first, don’t worry! Start at whatever level works for you.

Pigeon

This pose will open up your hips and stretch your inner thigh and IT band. Start in downward facing dog, then sweep your left shin down on the mat in front of you, slowly lowering your upper body down over your bent left leg. Keep your right leg stretched out long behind you. Your left knee will be pointing toward your left elbow, and your left foot will be pointing toward your right wrist. Slowly stretch your arms forward on the floor in front of you, coming deeper into the fold as your muscles release. Repeat on the right side. 

Butterfly

This pose is great for stretching your inner thighs. Just sit tall on your mat with your legs out in front of you. Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together so your knees pointed out to the sides. If you can, bring your hands to the mat in front of you and slowly bend forward to stretch your lower back. 

One Leg Chair Pose

Chair pose is another great way to stretch your inner thigh and strengthen your hips. From standing position, bring your left leg up and rest your left foot on your right knee. Next, bend your knees and push your hips back as though you’re about to sit in a chair. Stretch your arms straight up and hold the pose.

Frog

This pose is a bit harder, but the stretch to your inner thighs is worth it! Start on your hands and knees, and then slowly spread your knees out so that your inner thighs come closer to the mat. When you reach your limit, rest your arms and head on the mat in front of you. You’ll feel an opening in your inner thighs as well as your hips.

Low Squat

This pose will strengthen your hamstrings and inner thighs. Start in a standing position, and then drop your seat back while you bend your knees. Go low enough that you’re about 3 inches from sitting on the ground, and then press your elbows into your inner knees and bring your hands together in prayer in front of you. You can use the strength of your arms to press your knees further apart?

What about you, are you a runner? Do you have any go to hip stretches? Let us know in the comments below!