Running is a fantastic form of exercise, but there is a tendency among runners to focus only on aerobic development and to ignore other aspects of fitness. In many cases, this leads to overuse injuries.

Incorporating other basic forms of exercise into your routine will fire your muscles in different ways, making them stronger and more resilient. Yoga, an ancient form of exercise that centers around holding full body poses, has been shown to increase range of motion and running efficiency, and is practiced by more and more runners every day. The next time it's raining, you're pressed for time, or need a break from running, take a deep breath, relax, and mix it up with this basic yoga routine.  

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Cat-Cow Pose

Begin on your hands and knees. Arch your back slowly upwards, tightening your core as you do so. Hold the pictured cat pose for several seconds. Then, slowly lower your back and push your abdominals towards the ground, into the cow pose in the second picture. Alternate between these every ten seconds or so.

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Downward Dog & Upward Dog

Begin on your hands and knees. Walk your hands forward and bring your knees off the ground, forming your body into an upside-down V. Hold for a minute.

To change to upward dog, keep your hands placed and lower your hips back down to the ground while raising your torso upwards, placing the tops of your feet towards the floor.

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Warrior I

Inhale and extend your left leg; as you exhale, step your left leg into a low lunge position.

Spin your right heel flat so your left toes are pointing slightly forward, and raise your arms and chest up.

Reach your arms toward the ceiling as your pinky fingers turn in toward one another. This will allow your shoulders to relax.

Maintain the deep lunge position, at ninety degrees if possible.

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Warrior II

From Warrior I, open your arms so they are parallel to the floor. Turn your head and focus your gaze out above your right arm. Then, bring the right leg out underneath your extended right arm. Keep this forward knee slightly bent and the thigh parallel to the floor.

Keep the shoulders aligned directly over the hips.

Remember to reach out your finger tips!

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Warrior III

With an exhalation, step your right foot back, while keeping your body weight forward on your left foot.  Keep your left toes facing forward. 

Contract your core muscles, then inhale and lift your right foot as your lean your torso forward, hinging at your hips. 

Watch the floor beneath you to steady your balance.

As your torso and left leg move into a parallel position with the floor, lengthen both legs without locking the left knee.

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From a standing position, spread your legs wide apart, about twice your shoulder width. Bring your arms out so that they are parallel to the ground.

Then, hinging at your right hip, rotate your torso slightly forward and lower it down and to the right, without changing the position of your legs. Try to bring your arms down so that they are perpendicular to the floor.

Child's Pose

Kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees about as wide as your hips.

Exhale and lay your torso down between your thighs.  Reach your arms out in front of your torso, laying your palms flat on the ground in front of you.


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Bridge Pose

Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Raises your hips high off the floor so that your legs and torso form a straight line. Bring your arms beneath your torso and fold your hands together against the ground to help maintain balance and symmetry.