Yoga for CyclistsBack
Posted by Karen and Kev Green (Mind & Body Consultants) on 21 Jan 2015
As a recent convert to cycling, I am beginning to understand its appeal and fascination. Since August 2014 when I first took my tentative trip out on to the local highways and byways around my home, I have become thoroughly hooked on pedal power! I totally look forward to the next opportunity to break out the lycra and push myself to better my previous best on the relatively short circuits I’ve found around my local area. I have managed to gradually build up my rides to around 25-30 miles at about 14-15mph as an average speed, so I’m pretty chuffed… for now.
One thing I have noticed, apart from all the hills there are in my locale (or ‘climbs’ as we in the cycling fraternity call them), is how my body has begun to tighten up and become stiff quite quickly.
After every ride, the first few steps I take are akin to the humorous ‘Evolution of Man’ T shirt, as I walk a bit like a Neanderthal until I can straighten myself up again! I have found that my lower back, butt, hamstrings, quads and calves, along with my upper back, shoulders and neck muscles, are all aching and stiff.
Luckily for me though, I’m a qualified Yoga teacher and Remedial Bodywork Therapist, so I can combat all that shortening of muscles and subsequent loss of joint mobility by deploying some targeted Yoga Asanas to relax and re-lengthen my cycling muscles.
With that in mind, I have devised a cycling-specific Yoga programme looking at Asanas to assist cyclists to improve and then maintain their flexibility and range of movement, which will improve machine control.
Incorporated in this programme are Pranayama (breathing exercises) to improve breath awareness and control. This will help to better utilise the full lung capacity, providing more fuel in the form of oxygen, more efficiently, for the muscles to burn to drive forwards. Plus techniques to aid mental focus to enable us to ride harder and faster for longer, and recover quicker.
Cyclists taking up yoga are in good company, with luminaries such as Tour de France winners Sir Bradley Wiggins and Cadel Evans incorporating yoga into their training.
I currently run two Yoga for Cyclists a week (during school term-time only): Monday afternoon, 2-3pm at The Poppy & Pint pub in Lady Bay, and Tuesday evening, 7-8pm at Bingham Robert Miles Infant School.