Below I list 5 yoga postures that you can do after a run. You may practice the postures in a few minutes and they will help enhance your fitness by toning, stretching, and balancing your body, stabilizing your breath, and calming your mind (of course these are a few of many yoga postures helpful to runners–check out this sequence I provided months ago). I suggest that you do the balancing poses using support, especially if you keep your sneakers on while you practice, and even if you are an intermediate to advanced yogi (the high impact of running and and your elevated heart rate will leave you destabilized for balances). For all poses, build your alignment from the ground up.
Standing Hand-To-Big Toe Pose and Revolved Hand-To-Big Toe Pose
A Few Tips
~Stack hip over knee and knee over ankle for standing leg.
~Rest your elevated heal/sole of foot of raised leg on a bar, railing, or a wall at a comfortable height unless you are confident about balancing.
~You can also use a strap. It is not necessary to hold your big toe; just let your arms drop along your waist or raise them along your ears.
~You may modify either of the yoga postures by bending your elevated knee and lifting it to less than 90-degrees or by using a strap.
~Make sure that your spine is tall.
~If you choose to hold your toe, plug your shoulder into its socket.
Benefits of Hand-To-Big Toe Pose:
~Stretches hamstrings, knees, and calves of the elevated leg.
~Tones the shins, quads, hip flexors, and glutes of both the elevated and the standing leg.
~Stabilizes and strengthens ankles (elevated foot: stretches top tendons of foot or Achilles depending on whether you choose to point or flex your foot; strengthens all foot and ankle muscles of standing foot).
~Tones your core.
~Focuses your mind.
~Helps to stabilize your breath.
Benefits of Revolved Hand-To-Big Toe Pose:
~ The same as in the non-twisting variation above plus…
~Opens abducters of elevated leg as well as outer hip and glute.
~Stretches pectorals, front of shoulder girdle, bicep, and forearm of back elevated arm.
~Enhances rotational capacity and mobility of the spine.
~Tones the obliques.
A Few Tips
~To modify fan pose, bend your knees and/or assume half fan by maintaining your spine in a horizontal position to the ground.
~Make sure that your neck is in line with your spine for all variations.
Benefits of Fan Pose:
~Stretches outer ankles.
~Lifts arches of feet.
~Stretches all muscles along back of legs including glutes as well as outer muscles of the legs.
~Lengthens all muscles of back (lower and upper).
~Relaxes shoulders and arms.
~Provides rest for body and breath.
~Helps to lower heart rate.
A Few Tips
~Hold the support structure with your free hand for dancer pose.
~You may modify dancer pose by assuming less of a back bend (you can even just draw your heal to your buttocks while drawing your core back towards your spine).
~Only elevate your front arm to where it is comfortable.
Benefits Of Dancer Pose:
~Tones and stretches all muscles of standing leg.
~Stretches hip flexor, quad, knee, shin, ankle, and toes of back elevated leg.
~Tones bicep, tricep, and muscles that support shoulder of front raised arm.
~Stretches entire front torso.
~Stretches pectorals, muscles that support front of shoulder girdle, as well as bicep, elbow, and forearm of back arm.
~Increases flexibility of entire back body.
~Expands breath capacity.
A Few Tips
~To modify gomukasana arms hold your shirt or use a strap if you cannot clasp your hands.
~Make sure to rotate the arm that will be moving up your back (the right arm in the above photo) forward (internally) as much as you can as you get into the pose.
~Inhale as you raise arm that will move down your back (left arm in photo) elevating your shoulder before you release it.
~You must relax your biceps to do this pose.
Benefits Of Goumkasana Arms:
~Opens triceps of both arms.
~Allows for mobility and relaxation of upper back muscles.
~Enhances mobility and rotational capacity of both shoulders.