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Young man does upward dog, or Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana outside in jungle gym park at sunrise

How to Stay Limber this Summer: Runners, Cyclists, Swimmers & Travellers

written by: Kyneret Azizo

Do you love it when your summers are loaded with energizing activities like running, biking, swimming and riveting travelling excursions? Want to know how you can boost your body’s performance, and even make travelling gentler on your body? 

You’ll want to include a steady dose of yoga in your schedule to complement all your favourite summer activities. It relieves tension and stiffness, speeds up the recovery time for any physical activity you’re into, and brings balance to your entire body. 

For those summer-loving enthusiasts who can’t miss a beat outdoors and love to explore, here’s the 101 on how yoga can help you flourish and what poses will help you shine.

Yoga for Runners

If you’re a dedicated runner, you undoubtedly love the endorphin rush it gives you – that so-called “runner’s high.” As much as it feels good to hit the road running every single day and keep going for hours, you also need to take great precautions not to overwork your body. Whether you’re doing slow running, interval running, hill repeats or fartlek, running is a high-impact exercise that can be pretty intense on your lower back, hips, knees and ankles. 

How Yoga Benefits Runners

Yoga is a great way to combat these negative effects, lowering your chances of injury and enhancing your recovery time. After an intense run, Hatha and Yin work nicely to help you ease tension and alleviate soreness. Both help to create more space and lengthen muscle tissue. You can also benefit from fast-paced practices like Vinyasa or Power Flow, which help develop stability, strength and resilience. Work on spreading those toes in your standing and seated sequences to improve your balance while running!

3 Good Yoga Poses for Runners

Two girls practice Ardha Matsyendrasana or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, in a yoga studio, which is a good yoga pose for runners.

Ardha Matsyendrasana (Half Lord of the Fishes Pose – variation) 

Ardha Matsyendrasana is great for stretching the IT band, which is the connective tissue of the outer thigh, from hip to shin. This in turn helps prevent knee problems. Do this pose after a run, but try not to overdo it, as an overstretched IT band can lead to instability in the knee.

An older woman practices Warrior 1, or Virabhadrasana 1, a good yoga pose for runners, inside a greenhouse with beautiful greenery behind her.

Virabhadrasana 1 (Warrior 1)

Warrior 1 strengthens the muscles of the legs, core and back, which are all essential for maintaining proper form in running. It also develops the stabilizer muscles of the ankles and feet, giving you better balance and reducing the likelihood of injuries to these extremities. 

An older man practices Runner's Lunge on a yoga mat in a yoga studio with lots of windows behind him and uses two yoga blocks to support him.

Runners Lunge

This popular pose among runners helps to loosen up the lower back muscles and increases flexibility in the hip joint. It opens up the ankles, calves, hamstrings, quads, and groin. You also get a good stretch in the sole of the back foot, which helps relieve the plantar fasciitis that runners often struggle with.

Yoga for Cyclists

If you love the high heart rate but prefer a lower impact sport, then cycling’s the sport for you. But what cyclists often have to deal with is knee pain, which results from overuse and tight quadriceps. Back pain is also a common complaint, due to prolonged flexion of the spine. The sustained linear movement of cycling can lead to imbalances in the body, creating tightness in the adductors, and weakness in the abductors and rotators of the legs.

How Yoga Benefits Cyclists

Yoga perfectly complements biking, because it improves flexibility, builds strength, and develops breathing techniques. It also helps speed up recovery time. Cyclists usually spend a lot of time hunched over and would thus benefit from creating space in the muscles of the front body. Yoga also adds a dimension of lateral movement that cycling is deprived of.

3 Good Yoga Poses for Cyclists

A young woman is practicing yoga and doing Standing Forward Bend or Uttanasana in her living room with a laptop sitting a few feet in front of her on the floor.

Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend)

Uttanasana helps decompress the entire spine and stretches the hamstrings, calves and hips. It also remedies the tension in the neck and upper back caused by leaning over the handlebars for extended periods.

A young woman is practicing bow pose or Dhanurasana on a yoga mat in a yoga studio with marble walls behind her.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose)

For cyclists, the chest muscles and abdominals could use a good stretch to counter the hunched shape they’re in while riding. Bow pose creates space at the front of the vertebrae. It also helps tone the glutes and back muscles, countering the lengthening (and weakening) of these muscles from persistent forward flexion.

An older woman is practicing trikonasana or triangle pose outdoors on a wooden boardwalk bridge in an area with lots of greenery.

Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)

After all that linear cycling motion, it’s time for some healthy lateral movement! Parsvakonasana is great for opening up the hips and placing the legs in abduction to stretch the inner thighs and hips.

Yoga for Swimmers

If swimming is what floats your boat during the hottest months, you probably enjoy how dynamic it is compared to other physical activities. Swimming works out your entire body and cardiovascular system. With various strokes to add to your workout, you can easily focus on strengthening different muscle groups. But swimming comes with its own risks when it comes to overuse, mainly in the shoulder girdle. It’s also easy to pull muscles that are chronically tight when pumping out your daily laps.

How Yoga Benefits Swimmers

Yoga is a great “dry land” activity for swimmers, with poses that challenge the stabilizer and core muscles. Being most beneficial after the primary swim workout, yoga will help you improve the range of motion of your joints and lengthen muscle tissue. This will develop joint integrity and stability and help prevent your muscles from becoming strained or pulled. Yoga also helps you deepen your breath by increasing your lung capacity. Because swimming is a lower impact sport, it doesn’t do as much for bone density as dry land exercises do. Adding yoga to your routine can help increase bone density if done consistently and properly.

3 Good Yoga Poses for Swimmers

A younger woman is helping a younger man do the yoga pose Gomukasana, or cow face pose to relieve tension in the shoulder after swimming front crawl.

Gomukasana (Cow Face Pose) 

This is a great post-swim tension releaser for the shoulders, especially after doing front crawl. If you can’t clasp your hands together, modify by holding a strap to fill the gap between them. As you hold the pose, direct the breath into the armpit area and try relaxing the shoulder girdle as much as possible. 

A young woman is doing Setu Bandha Sarvangasana or Bridge Pose to relieve tension in the front body known as swimmer's slouch.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose) 

To help counteract “swimmer’s slouch,” press up into your tallest bridge pose and take some deep breaths to unwind the front body. This position is also great for expanding the breath into each lung’s lobes – a technique every swimmer can benefit from.

A young woman performs Salabhasana or Locust Pose which strengthens and lengthens muscles of the spine, core, chest, shoulders, arms and thighs.

Image source: Nikiwiki242, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Salabhasana (Locust Pose) 

Salabhasana both elongates and strengthens the spine, core, chest, shoulders, arms, and thigh muscles. This is advantageous to swimmers, as they need the right balance between flexibility and strength for maximum output.

Yoga for Travellers

The travelling life is a capricious one! With so much movement to different places within different time zones, it can be jarring for the body. It’s common for travellers to experience bouts of digestive problems or constipation due to such changes, and even women’s menstrual cycles can be affected. The stiffness from being seated for long periods is reason alone to treat yourself to a satisfying yin yoga sequence once you settle in.

How Yoga Benefits Travellers

Travellers can benefit from the grounding effect that yoga has on the body and mind, as well as its circulation-boosting effects. What we travellers need in our ever-changing schedule is something consistent. A morning yoga routine helps, as does focusing on poses that balance the first chakra, Muladhara.

3 Good Yoga Poses for Travellers

A young woman performs Cobbler's pose or Baddha Konasana.

Baddha Konasana (Cobbler’s Pose)

Cobbler’s Pose is essential for grounding Muladhara chakra and establishing our roots. Being a deep hip opener, Baddha Konasana aids emotional and physical release. It also gives an excellent stretch to the lower back muscles, which are shortened and tight after sitting for long periods of time. 

A man is performing Ustrasana, or Camel pose.

Ustrasana (Camel Pose) 

After being in slouch mode for so long, you need a pose like Ustrasana to open up the entire front body. This can also be modified with the toes tucked under and the heels propped up higher so there’s less compression in the lumbar spine.

A woman is doing Viparita Karani, or Legs Up the Wall, with her eyes closed and looking relaxed.

Viparita Karani (Legs Up The Wall Pose)

This pose helps break up stagnant energy and improves blood circulation in the legs, which is especially good after long flights or even after walking around all day on a sightseeing tour. It’s another superb pose for grounding energies, which helps reset your circadian rhythm so you can recover from jet lag quicker.

Stay Connected to Your Yoga Practice This Summer!

During the summer months, you may be tempted to skip the hot classes, in search of cooler spaces. But practicing in the hot room regularly during the summer months allows your body to acclimate to hotter temperatures…which makes a heatwave far easier to deal with! Plus it will greatly improve your body’s performance in everything else you do this summer.

In addition to our heated Modo and Modo Flow classes, you can also jump into any one of our equally juicy reduced heat and non-heated classes: Pilates, Barre, Yang/Yin, Yin and Restorative.

Join our 20 in 30 Day Summer Challenge in July 

Trying to commit to a daily yoga practice, but having a hard time getting started? Our 20 in 30 Day Summer Challenge is a great opportunity to finally cement a yoga routine into your weekly schedule! Everyone who completes at least 20 classes will be entered into a draw to win awesome prizes! 

Take Part in our Yoga in the Park Fundraiser – Saturday, July 9

Join us for our Annual Yoga in the Park Fundraiser – the first since 2019! This year we will be giving back to the Ontario SPCA to support our furry friends. Click here for more details.


Kyn Blogger

Kyneret has been practicing and teaching yoga for over a decade. She began as a yoga teacher for Modo Yoga Maple in 2012, and has recently set off on a nomadic adventure to South East Asia. She remains active within our Modo community as a blog writer.

When not writing, she is fully immersed in the day-to-day adventures of travel life and actively seeks out as many foreign yoga experiences as possible to further her knowledge and skills! You can follow Kyneret’s travels on her instagram account @planes_trains_autoimmunity