Should I Do Yoga After The Marathon

Completing a marathon is an outstanding achievement, a testament to your strength, dedication, and endurance. However, the immense effort can leave your body feeling worn out and desperately needing recovery. Runners often ask the question should I do yoga after the marathon. Yoga can balance stretching, relaxation, and strength-building, which is crucial for your post-marathon recovery. Here are some of the best yoga stretches to help speed up your recovery and keep you fresh. The only item we need is a good yoga mat.

Understanding Post-Marathon Recovery

A marathon puts your body through extreme stress, and prolonged physical exertion results in muscle fatigue, inflammation, and soreness. Therefore, post-marathon, giving your body time to heal and recover is vital. Incorporating gentle yoga stretches can significantly assist this recovery process, relieving muscle tension and promoting overall relaxation.

Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

This restorative pose helps facilitate venous drainage and increases circulation, which is especially beneficial after a marathon when your legs might feel heavy and tired. Start sitting sideways against a wall, then gently swing your legs onto the wall while lowering your back and head onto the floor. Let your arms rest by your sides, palms facing up, and hold for 5-10 minutes, breathing deeply.

Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

The seated forward bend is excellent for stretching your hamstrings and calves, areas that can tighten up during a marathon. Sit tall with your legs stretched out in front of you. Inhale to extend your spine, and as you exhale, bend forward from the hips, reaching for your toes. Keep your spine long, and avoid rounding your back. Hold for 1-3 minutes.

Reclining Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

Another fantastic stretch for your hamstrings and calves. Lie on your back and bring your right knee into your chest. Loop a strap (or towel) around the arch of your right foot, and slowly straighten your leg towards the ceiling. Keep both hips grounded. Hold for 1-3 minutes, then switch to the left leg.

Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)

The pigeon pose is an effective hip opener, helping alleviate tension in the hip flexors and glutes, which are often tight in runners. Start in Downward-Facing Dog, then bring your right knee towards your right hand, placing your right foot towards your left hand. Extend your left leg behind you, keeping your leg and hips square to the floor. Hold for 1-3 minutes, then switch sides.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

The Child’s Pose is a restful posture that stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles while calming the mind. Start on your hands and knees, then sit back on your heels, separating your knees about hip-width apart. Extend your arms forward and lower your forehead to the floor. Hold this pose for up to 5 minutes.

Bridge Pose (Setu Bandha Sarvangasana)

The bridge pose is a gentle backbend that stretches the chest, neck, and spine. It also strengthens the back, buttocks, and hamstrings. Start by lying on your back, knees bent, feet on the floor hip-width apart. Press your feet and arms into the floor as you lift your hips towards the ceiling. Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Legs-On-Chair Pose (Viparita Karani Variation)

Like Legs-Up-The-Wall, this pose is restorative and helps with circulation. Place a folded blanket on the seat of a chair. Sit in front of the chair, then lie back, positioning your calves on the blanket and your feet through the chair’s backrest. Let your arms rest by your sides, palms facing up. Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes, allowing your body to relax deeply.

Reclining Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

Twists can be particularly beneficial for relieving lower back tension and encouraging spinal health after a long run. Start lying on your back, then hug your right knee into your chest. Gently guide your right knee across your body using your left hand, extending your right arm to the side. Keep your shoulders grounded. Hold for 1-3 minutes, then switch sides.

Thread the Needle Pose (Parsva Balasana)

This pose is excellent for releasing tension in the hips and lower back, common areas of tightness in runners. Begin on all fours, then slide the right under your left arm with your palm facing up. Allow your right shoulder to rest on the mat. For a deeper stretch, extend your left arm in front of you. Hold for 1-2 minutes, then switch sides.

Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Savasana is the final pose of most yoga classes, intended for deep relaxation. Lie on your back, legs, and arms extended, palms facing up. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths, allowing your body to relax on the floor thoroughly. Stay in this pose for 5-10 minutes, releasing all tension.

Tips for Post-Marathon Yoga

Remember, the aim of post-marathon yoga is recovery. Your body has undergone immense stress, and your yoga practice should be gentle and restorative. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Begin Slowly: Give your body a day to recover post-marathon before introducing gentle yoga stretches. If you feel any discomfort during the poses, stop and rest.
  2. Breath is Crucial: Maintain a smooth, steady breath to help the body relax and the muscles release tension. Breath is a powerful tool for recovery.
  3. Hydrate and Nourish: Ensure you’re adequately hydrated before your yoga practice. Also, consume a balanced diet rich in proteins and complex carbs to facilitate muscle repair and energy replenishment.
  4. Listen to Your Body: Everybody is different. Pay attention to your body’s signals and avoid pushing into any pain.
  5. Patience is Key: Recovery takes time. Be patient with yourself, acknowledging that recovery is an integral part of your marathon journey.


Finishing a marathon is a significant accomplishment requiring much physical effort. After the race, focusing on recovering and helping your body heal and get stronger is essential.

Yoga can be beneficial for recovering after a marathon. It has gentle exercises that can help you relax, stretch your muscles, and activate them, precisely what your body needs to recover quickly. Doing these recommended yoga poses after the marathon can help your body regain shape faster, so you can run more in the future.

Remember, yoga is not just about the physical side. It also helps your mind and emotions. After a marathon, doing yoga can make you feel better physically and mentally.

So get your yoga mat, take a deep breath, and start healing!

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