Joëlle Sleebos really hopes that you enjoyed her introduction to yoga in the June/July issue of Full Sus and that you’ve been doing the Sun Salutation series every day. This time though she’s got something a little more cycling specific for you…
Teaching at The Concept Studio – an altitude cycling, functional training and yoga facility in Sea Point – I work with cyclists on a daily basis. So, I’m all too aware that riding your bike can lead to uncomfortable tightness in key areas of your body. Pedalling long hours astride a saddle with your neck up shortens the spine and causes tightness in the lower back, sacrum, and hips. The neck and jaw can lock up, too. Good posture and stretching will help diminish these after-effects. But first, look at your posture in the saddle. Focus on lengthening your spine, be conscious of maintaining broad shoulders while riding and lift your navel to engage your lower abdomen too. This last tip will strengthen your core with in turn will protect your lower back. Secondly: do yoga! There are so many benefits of practicing yoga that I do not even know where to start… Initially you will probably only be aware of the physical benefits: an improvement of your flexibility, stronger muscles, a better posture, a decrease or even disappearance of injuries etc etc… But the magic about yoga for me is that it can also change your mind, influence your nervous system, and improve your focus and ability to concentrate. If that has not convinced you yet; what about a deeper sleep and better sex-life!
“If that has not convinced you yet; what about a deeper sleep and better sex-life!”
Simple Yoga Poses for Cyclists The following series of poses are beneficial to anyone, but focuses specifically on those areas cyclist need to stretch and strengthen. The poses will help you:
- open your hips
- stretch your thighs, hip flexors, hamstrings and groin
- open your chest
- strengthen and stretch your spine
Remember the breath is highly important in yoga. Breathing leads the body from pose to pose. Try to slow down your breath – around 4 counts/seconds to inhale and 4 counts/seconds to exhale.
Simple Yoga Poses for Cyclists – Routine
A) Before starting the next series of yoga poses, please warm-up with Suryanamaskara A series as described in the June/July issue of Full Sus, or click here view it online.
B) Inhale: Reach arms up
C) Exhale: Bend your body forward
D) Inhale: Look forward, life chest halfway up, with a straight spine
E) Runner’s/Cyclist’s Lunge – Exhale: Step your left leg back and place left knee on the mat
F) Hold Runner’s Lunge Position – Breathe deeply and slowly 3-5 times
G) Crescent Moon – Inhale: Lift your arms up
H) Hold Crescent Moon – Breathe deeply and slowly 3-5 times
I) Half-Split – Exhale: Hands down and move hips straight back, flex front foot until you feel your hamstrings stretch.
J) Hold Half-Split – Breathe deeply and slowly 3-5 times
K) Crescent Moon – Inhale : Lift your arms up
L) Runner’s/Cyclist’s Lunge – Exhale: Step your left leg back and place left knee on the mat
M) Inhale: Look forward, step forward with left leg, lift chest halfway up with a straight spine.
N) Exhale: Bend your body forward
O) Inhale: Reach arms up/Stand-up
P) Exhale: Samasthitih/Relax Now repeat with the right leg
To download a printable version of this series of poses please click here.
Though the Runner’s Lunge is the more common name for this pose, (and it’s clear why – the benefits of the stretch are particularly amenable to runners, who tend to hold tightness in the legs) it is very relevant to cyclists too.