Wow, I guess a lot of people are curious. I'm mainly just interested in doing good stretch routines (including on my off-run days) that would help me be more limber, flexible, have more relaxed leg and hip muscles.
I think any kind of yoga is beneficial to runners. When I did Hatha yoga at a yoga studio there were always a handful of runners in the classes. I really like yin yoga which is where you hold a pose for a few minutes to get a deep stretch but its a personal preference. There are lots of free videos on you tube or check out some videos from the library if you don't want to invest in going to a studio (depending on where you live it can get pricey). I try to do at least an hour of yoga on my rest day to stretch everything out.
I am a beginning runner and I also love yoga. I do MUCH better running if I do at least some yoga on my off days. I think half an hour is enough time to get the benefits you're looking for andI agree with Julie Ann who suggested yin yoga. It is good for working out the kinks and relaxing/stretching the leg muscles.
If you have never done yoga before I would suggest going to a couple of classes just so you can learn how your body should feel in the basic poses. A good teacher will correct your alignment and also show you modifications if a particular pose is especially difficult. Keep in mind that it's ok to feel discomfort but not ok to feel pain! Most gyms/studios will let you pay by the class so you don't have to commit to a long-term membership.
I found an app that I really like for the iPhone and iPad called Yoga Studio. It has several pre-programmed sequences broken up by level (beginner, intermediate, advanced), length of time, and what you want to accomplish (flexibility, balance, etc.) You can also select your favorite poses and create your own sequence - it will automatically fill in the gaps to make sure you make the right transition between poses. I think the app was around $5.99 but I don't remember off hand.
I'm an active runner (also do some tri's) and a part time yoga instructor. I hate to give away competitive secrets but yoga will improve your running performance: speed, endurance, recovery and injury prevention. Like any activity you will get back from it what you put in - I'd recommend taking at least 3 classes per week to see the results. If you are a regular runner you are probably over using certain muscles and under using others which is a recipe for injury and pain. Yoga will help even out this imbalance and provide greater strength for the long term.
Try many types. There are so many misconceptions about yoga - most common I hear: "I tried yoga once and didn't like it." That's similar to saying "I tried exercise once and didn't like it"
There are thousands of styles of yoga - you can find one that matches your interests, abilities, etc. If you are new I urge you to try different studios and different types of classes with an open mind and discover what works for you. Keep in mind that Rome wasn't built in a day and you'll need to learn yoga (you wouldn't expect to play Wimbeldon after your first tennis lesson) but it's well worth the time/effort
YES! I've done 5 marathons, and too many halfs to count and I credit hot yoga with REALLY helping me stretch. Wish I had discovered it prior to completing my last one. I swear, my pace is faster the next day and I sleep better at night after a solid hot yoga session. So I completely agree with ERazsurf, though I don't have anything other than personal experience. It really helps reach all muscles, especially considering the repeitive nature of running (again, completely agree with ERazsurf). If you can't spare the time on a regular basis, I recommend taking at least 1 beginner to class to learn the proper positions. If regular yoga doesn't seem challengning enough for you (it didn't for me), I suggest hot yoga. Once you have good form (which is critical for the benefits), try: http://www.runnersworld.com/runners-world-yoga-center
I just discovered this a few weeks ago and will do a video when I don't have time to make it to class or just feel really tight. It's also really fun to feel your body learn new moves...I just did a hand stand for the first time last night! I have also seen greater strength in my legs and behind without the bulk since starting yoga. Hope this helps!
Wow, thanks to all three of y'all for your responses. There is a group that does a small yoga class on Fridays in the office park where I work, and I joined in with them lalst Friday. I also have been trying some of the videos I am finding on youtube after I run or on my non-run days, so I'm hoping that they will start to pay off soon (they have paid off some by making my glutes and leg muscles sore already).
I hope I didn't pull a leg muscle. I had done a few minutes exercising my legs on the machines and then started a flexibility routine. I actually did a pose (can't remember the name, maybe butterfly, seated, legs to the side and knees bent, feet touching, leaning over to touch your feet) before starting it, then during the routine when it went to pigeon and I pulled my left leg up in front of my right, the lower muscle on the back outside of my left leg screamed at me. Guess I did those in the wrong order, or I didn't have my leg muscles warmed up enough before pushing my legs to the left and right in that initial pose. Ouch.