5 Yoga Poses for Sore Muscles

Today’s post comes from Trish Adkins, a certified yoga teacher who teaches both kids and adults; but has a particular passion for teaching special populations with yoga as a tool for recovery, pain management and therapy.  As I am gearing up to walk the Breast Cancer 3-Day and trying to incorporate more yoga into my workouts and recovery, I turned to Trish for her advice on poses that will help with recovery. Here is her stellar advice regarding yoga poses for sore muscles:

Whether training for a walk or a run or simply amping up your weekly cardio workout, sore muscles can stop you in your tracks, literally. And while just having sore muscles is not a medical reason to stop working out, it can be completely demotivating. But, never fear, by introducing yoga into your weekly workout routine, you can minimize muscle soreness and shorten recovery time.

Sore muscles can happen during your workout because of the build up of lactic acid. This type of soreness should be worked through—feeling the burn and breaking through the burn leads to a true change in your muscle strength and memory. Sore muscles can also happen because you are using muscles you have not used in a while—this is called delayed onset muscle soreness. And of course, sore muscles can also develop from injury.

Yoga can help with strength building (which can delay the in-workout pain), post-workout recovery (which can minimized delayed onset soreness) and flexibility (which will help you prevent injury.). By understanding the cause, you can work towards the cure.

I practice yoga as often as possible—my aim is daily, but with three kids, I am lucky if I get in a short yoga practice 3 days a week. If you are integrating yoga into your rotation you can do these poses as a series or pick and choose your favorites to perform after your cardio workout.

Here are my 5 go-to yoga poses to help with muscle soreness.

Ujjayi Breath
Ujjayi breath which translates to mean “Ocean Breath” is often used in yoga class. When practiced, Ujjayi breath sounds like the gentle roar of ocean waves crossed with Darth Vader. It has the benefit of working your intercostal muscles (the muscles that run between your ribs) and other deep core muscles. This breath will help minimize your core muscle soreness, while soothing your soul. Breath work also helps increase your cardio capacity and send more oxygen to all your muscles.

To practice, sit comfortably. Begin to become aware of your breath by inhaling through your nose and inflating your torso and then exhaling through your nose and deflating your torso. After a few rounds of just breathing, press your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Close your mouth and continue breathing. Notice the soft humming of the breath. Practice for 5 complete rounds or how ever long you like. You can use this breath through all the yoga practice.

Ujjayi breath - yoga poses for sore muscles

The Half-Sun Salutation
The half sun salutation is a mindful series of forward folds that help length your hamstrings, stretch your back and lengthen your arms. Begin standing with your feet hip distance apart and your arms at your sides. Inhale and draw your arms overhead. Exhale and length down towards your toes. If you cannot touch your toes, no worries. Simply place your hands on your legs wherever they land.

On an inhale, lengthen halfway up, making you back flat and keeping your hands on your legs. Exhale and fold back down into the full forward fold. Stay there as long as you like. Inhale and reserve swan dive all the way back up to where you began. Perform 3-5 rounds.

Half-sun salutation - Yoga poses for sore muscles

Bandha Konasana (Bound angle pose)
Bandha Konasana is a wonderful way to open your hips and inner thighs.

Sitting with your back straight, draw the soles of your feet together, pulling your heels in towards your body. Your hands are wrapped around your feet and your knees are out towards the side. Inhale and length spine, exhale and hinge forward until your inner thoughts scream (just a little) and then round your back. And breathe. Hold for 5-10 rounds of breath. Inhale and return to a seated position.

Yoga Mudra
Yoga Mudra is an amazing pose for opening your shoulder and chest muscles, which tend to become tight when running or cycling. When your chest is open, your heart is open as well helping you breathe more efficiently. Sitting with your knees bent and your legs folded beneath you, lengthen up into a high kneel. Your arms are long at your side. Turn your thumbs out so your palms are facing forward. Draw both arms behind your back and interlace your finger tips. If your hands do not reach, you can use a yoga strap or an old men’s tie to make up the gap. Inhale and length your interlaced arms long. Exhale and fold forward, bringing your head or forehead to the floor. (You can also rest your head on a block or pillow.) Inhale and lengthen back up. Unlace your hands and do some shoulder rolls.

Yoga mudra - yoga poses for sore muscles

Savasana literally translate to mean corpse pose; but I always tell my students that it is “Let it all go” pose. So much is accomplished when you just lie still and focus on releasing tension.

To begin, lie on your back with your arms relaxed at your side. Breathe. Close your eyes. Then beginning at your feet and moving systematically through your body, mindfully relax each of your body parts. Make those sore feet of your like jelly. Your tired arms and legs like cooked spaghetti. Soften your brow, make you tongue heavy and just rest.

As with any exercise, check with your doctor before starting anything new. And if something hurts—like really hurts—stop and ask your doctor!


Want to read more from Trish? She is a freelance writer and can be found over on her blog Yoke. You can also follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/trish_adkins.

And if by any chance you might like to donate to breast cancer research, here is a link to my fundraising page.
#Bloggers4Boobs linky. Join us as we fight for a cure


  1. Yoga Mudra looks like a very challenging pose, for me at least. Your form looks great!

  2. These are awesome thank you so much for sharing this! I have been doing a lot of DIY around my house lately and have some sore muscles going to try these poses!

  3. Good to know. I only did yoga once, but it was hard for me to settle down long enough to get through the class.

  4. my husband loves yoga, but I’ve always been intimated by it. maybe this year is the year i try!

  5. I do have a problem with balance so those are real challenging for me. I wonder if it’s not to late to start yoga..

  6. I love this! Great tips

  7. I am always so sore. And I really think the Yoga Mudra would help.

  8. Ohh I need that yoga mudra one!… but my issue is not from working out.. its from carrying kids!

  9. I have to try these poses after a day at the gym.

  10. I needed to read this today! My Insanity workouts have left my legs feeling SO sore!

  11. Savannah miller says:

    I need to try the yoga mudra! I always get sore shoulders after working out! It goes to the point that I can’t even sleep at night because the soreness stays with me.

  12. Trish, this is such a helpful post! I have toyed with practicing yoga for many years but haven’t been able to make going to classes a regular part of my life. I love that you picked out 5 poses that can help with soreness that we could do at home! Thanks!

  13. I am sure these work, but i am not sure i can bend in any of those ways.. lol but hey i will try next time i am sore!

  14. Good pose ideas. However, I don’t prefer to do the one with the top of my head on the ground, but I can figure out a different pose to do instead.

  15. Maria Oller says:

    I do all everyday part of my yoga preggop routine but I can’t do Yoga Mudra anymore it’s un-comfy with my bump =(. It’s amazing to relax your back shoulders and arms

  16. I will have to try these. Great information.

  17. I love yoga and know that it would really help sore muscles to feel better! These are great poses!

  18. Great tips! Yoga is one of the things I have missed since moving to PA from MD. Need to get back into it!

  19. I miss yoga! I need to get back into it!

  20. I should definitely try these. My husband does yoga every day and swears by it!

  21. I am really trying to put some yoga into my weekly exercise schedule, wish there was more time in my day.

  22. I never realyl “clicked” with yoga, but I have to say, that last pose really works- and works well. I’ve used it many times!

  23. Ooh how cool! My hubby is always sore, I am going to see if I can get him to try these. Anything to try to help him!

  24. I used to love yoga, but since my anxiety levels have been so high, I have trouble focusing on it. Maybe more yoga would help me concentrate? haha

  25. I love yoga. I like having specific poses for sore muscles. As a new mom (again), I find my arms to be sore from holding the baby and washing cloth diapers. This is helpful!

  26. Thank you for this! I try to do a bit of yoga every day and I have to admit that I could tell when I haven’t worked on something because it gets quite sore. These are great postures. I will try them tomorrow.

  27. These are really good to know, I would hvae never thought of stretching to help, thanks!

  28. Yoga is on my bucket list. What great ideas and techniques. I have a lot of issues with sore knees, so these may be helpful! thanks!

  29. Great tips! Having never loved yoga, I have developed a new appreciation for it since practicing every day in British Columbia. Am aiming for 2-3 times/week now that I am home.

  30. I’ve never tried Yoga before – I definitely need to do SOMETHING and yoga does sound mentally good.

  31. great tips .. thanks for sharing

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