How to use Yoga to improve your cycling and cycling to improve your yoga!
It may seem that yoga and cycling are quite opposite from one another, but in reality they can be melded together to create balance and synergy.
There are not only health benefits of combining the two but also a great deal of peace of mind, aerobic strength and breath control. Here are some thoughts to get the most out of both.
1. Think about length on the bike
From sit bones to top of your head think about length, imagine each vertebrae being drawn apart, creating space either vertically or horizontally when you are closer to the drops. The core and the spine hold you up, but can get compromised when tired after long hours in the saddle.
On the mat! Keep the spine long and loose with these poses.
Down Dog: feel free to create length in the spine here, pedal the feet or move the hips side to side.
Twisting at a stop in the saddle or on the mat in supine reclined twist can add flexibility and space in the spine for better movement and comfort. Remember to twist from mid back not low back and draw your belly back.
2. Open the hips
It’s no secret that riding can tighten the hip flexors due to its repetitive nature. In addition tight hip flexors can lead to a tight back or sore back. Give them a break by standing periodically and drawing the hips forward.
Balance cycling’s internal hip rotation by adding some external rotation or hip openers on the mat.
Try easy pose. Or Supta Baddha Konasana to gently open the hips, drawing knees outward, helping to balance opposing muscle groups.
3. Drop your shoulders
If I have said it once I have said it a million times. Loosen the death grip on the handlebars and slide your shoulder blades into your back pockets. Add a behind the back clasp, eagle arms or reverse namaskar into your mat practice.
Many of us have tight shoulders and suffer from internal rotation with being riders along with sitting at a desk all day. These simple stretches will help remind us to keep our shoulders away from our ears.
For overall happiness use yoga to cycle better and cycling to build strength and endurance that can benefit your practice. What postures make you happy cycling?