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Relive 80s Yoga With These Awkward ‘Runner’s World’ Magazine Covers

in Featured, YD News, Yoga Pop

For their 50th anniversary this year, Runner’s World magazine shared their most awkward covers from their five decades of publication. Of the 13 gems, three of them feature yoga, and each come from the years between ’79-81, which means they’re so wonderfully retro, AND uncomfortably awkward. Because let’s be honest, that era was just super awkward all around.

Here they are in all their glory.

First up, April 1979.


“Stay loose, America!” If only these yogis could talk. Demonstrating what looks like Iyengar (their serious expression all but confirms it), we have a feeling these gals would opt to bypass the whole running thing and go straight to the parivrtta trikonasana.

Next runner up, February 1981


“Stretching exercises for the groin area.” This yoga duo is clearly all about getting the kinks out. While it seems more about backs than groins, we know runners have some tight quads and hip flexors and these poses would (eventually) feel pretty good. Or maybe they’re just runners trying to stay sane through their marathon training, as the man’s disconcerting smile seems to suggest.

Crossing the finish line, April 1980


“The Swedish 15 minutes?” We put this one last because we’re not entirely sure this is yoga happening here (that leg stretch hits somewhere between utthita hasta padangusthasana B and the National Cheerleaders Association), though in context, this may be illustrating that moment in time when yoga met the 80s aerobics craze. This is literally right when Jane Fonda was planning her world domination. The first “Jane Fonda Workout” video came out in April just two years later.

It wasn’t a huge stretch of time, but yoga for runners was having a moment in the late 70s/early 80s. (Apparently red and blue were, too.)

Here’s the July 1980 cover of Yoga Journal featuring a story on Jean Couch, author of “Runner’s World Yoga Book” (1979) followed later by “The Runner’s Yoga Book” (1990), and whose writing also appeared in Runner’s World as well as Yoga Journal.

Check out those cover models. Coincidence? We think not!


Couch, who studied with B.K.S. Iyengar and still teaches today, advised in her YJ feature, “Don’t run to get fit. Get fit, then run.”

Speaking of YJ, we think they may be taking home the prize for most awkward yoga covers.


This one’s from March 1981. Oh, 80s.





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