yoga for cyclists

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I’ve recently sung the praises of prenatal yoga high and low, but what about yoga for the non-pregnant out there? Are you someone who practices yoga on a regular basis? I have to admit that my relationship with yoga has been like one with an on-again off-again partner. I first gave yoga a try when I was in high school and neither the intructor nor the class spoke to me that much. I left unimpressed. Since then, I gave a few yoga centers in various cities a try but only once found a class that I truly loved. It was taught by a couple at a climbing center I attended as a complimentary practice to rock climbing. The idea was that rock climbing and yoga engage similar muscles and require you to hold similar poses for extended periods of time and so the study of one could greatly benefit the other. I loved that class and not just because this reasoning resonated with me, but because I really enjoyed the instructors.

I think my recent infatuation with yoga stems from a similar place; I really love the instructor and the yoga comunity I’ve found in my current town. This makes me excited to return to class and eager to learn more. And it also has me digging for yoga resources online that I can use for practice at home. So here are some of my findings, may they serve you well:

There are many obvious benefits to practicing yoga if you’re a regular cyclist: yoga stretches out all of those muscles that tend to contract and tighten while pedaling and can help you recover from long rides and stay injury free.

But as I know from my own experience, it’s hard to stick with something if you’re only doing it because ‘it’s good for you’. So since that may not be reason enough, I give you this…

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Keep practicing your yoga diligently and stick with your bike and maybe, someday, you too can perform extreme yoga moves on your bike while inches away from a cliff. It’s my new training goal. Intrigued? Learn more about yoga master Khiv Raj Gurjar, 61, who’s a practitioner of ‘Extreme Yoga’ here. Namaste.


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9 Responses to yoga for cyclists

  1. Kelly B says:

    as you’re ending your cycle through pregnancy I’ve been just starting mine, (I’m 13 wks now:) and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your experiences with us. I was a 3x a week yoga attender before I found out I was pregnant, and then becasue of terrible morning sickness I had to give it up. The yoga I was doing (power yoga) is not really recommended for pregnancy, and I have been missing it terribly these last few weeks as I’ve been feeling better. There is a prenatal class 2 blocks from my house, but you have to be in your second trimester to join in, so I can’t wait to start that up in the next week or 2.

    I was also diagnosed with gestational diabetes in the 1st tri, which was shocking, as the only category I fit into was the over 30 group…I’ve been struggling with that diagnosis, as I’ve not been able to get my fasting blood sugars down, but i’m hoping that by doing the elliptical and yoga, and then going to another prenatal fitness class once or twice a week, I can get things under control so I can birth in the birth center instead of the hospital.

    Thank you again for sharing all your experioences over these last 9 months with us…You’ve definately given me insipration on style (going back to my own bohemian roots during pregnancy…it’s just easier :), fitness and your outlook over life in general is also fantastic.

    Good luck in the coming days, I don’t know you, but I know you’re going to be a fantastic mother, and have a great little family!
    Kelly B

  2. Jen F says:

    I also cycle and do yoga. I usually gravitate toward the Iyengar style of yoga which is usually holding the poses for a long time and assuring that you get all of your joints in the right alignment to get the most benefit from the poses. But the teacher makes a big difference as well. I find that when I ride a lot the fronts of my thighs and my IT bands tighten up the most. Also, between working at the computer all day and riding my bike, my mid-back tightens up. Yoga helps with all of these things. The best for my midback (and you might have done this before) is to lie down with a block at the medium height between your shoulder blades (the bottom corner right where your bra strap would be) and another block at the tall height right at the base of your head. A bolster works for this as well.

  3. Great post! I teach yoga and bike so I’m all for it! More and more people are noticing the complementary connection between these sports–a lot of the cycling-only fitness studios (YAS in CA, Soul Cycle and Flywheel in NYC) actually pair these together in one workout–you spin for 30 minutes then move to a yoga studio and practice there for 30 minutes. For all the benefits of each, yoga rarely gets your heart rate up and cycling doesn’t always offer the body variety of movement. Together, you build strength and stamina in your full body and also get to stretch. Sounds like a pretty perfect routine to me!

  4. I do believe that the yoga instructor and studio really make a difference. When I’m crunched for time or just want to do yoga at home, I enjoy (free podcasts!) or (lots of free 20 min classes). There’s even a “yoga for cyclists” 20 min class that I enjoy. Lots of hip openers (pigeon)!

    • simplybike says:

      Lauren, thanks so much for these tips! I’m a huge fan of podcasts and have been looking for some good yoga ones but it’s hard to know which ones are good without watching and trying them (and there are so many!), so I really appreciate you pointing me towards some specific ones. I want to keep practicing after the baby comes at home and some online classes and podcasts will be perfect for that (also something I can do while watching baby).

  5. sarah says:

    i also wasn’t that into yoga until i found the right place – yoga to the people (locations in san francisco, berkeley, new york, and seattle). not specifically geared towards cyclists, but the atmosphere and community are great, and they’re all donation-based, which is nice if you’re on a budget!

    i also hadn’t thought about cycling (or rock climbing) and yoga complimenting each other, but it makes sense! thanks for pointing that out :)

  6. Dottie says:

    Yoga and bicycling go so well together. Nothing helps counter the tightness in the hips and legs from biking than some good yoga stretches. I really need to get back to yoga.

  7. Pingback: Simply Bike » foto friday: staying active at 39 weeks pregnant

  8. Ruth says:

    I also fell in love with yoga because of the instructors (and an awesome studio that has several great ones) and I definitely find that the instructor makes a HUGE difference to the practice. But I also love the physical movements of yoga – I find that it really complements my running routine very well and I think definitely helps with preventing injuries, and generally just rounding out my physical activity. Yoga is challenging in ways running isn’t, and my upper body is definitely stronger than it’s ever been! I really enjoy the patience, focus, and concentration it requires. And I love feeling my body support itself in poses I never thought were possible. I’m looking forward to seeing how yoga and my pregnant body work – I’m used to a non-pregnant practice so it’ll be a shift to see how to adjust for pregnancy.

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