“Yoga is for hippies, for flexible people and for women only.” Or that’s what Joëlle Sleebos thought when she was first introduced to it in Australia in 2007, now she’s writing for Full Sus to tell you how it can improve your cycling too.
I’ve been combining two careers since starting university; one as an economist and the other in the fitness industry. As a personal trainer I knew that a balanced training schedule should include the following three elements: cardio, strength/weight, and flexibility/mobility training. I used to stretch a bit after each training session and figured that was enough.
Looking at those yogi’s; sitting dead-still with their eyes closed, their hands in prayer position or even lying on the floor, I did not see the benefit of that kind of ‘exercise’. Exercise should be hard-core, you should push yourself, get out of your comfort zone and suffer!
So there I was, working out over lunch in the gym across from my office. On Tuesday’s they only offered a yoga class, so I figured it was better to do the class, instead of eating a sandwich in front of my desk. After a couple of weeks, I started to feel different during my Wednesday trainings. I used to feel fatigued and have ‘heavy’ muscles, but now suddenly something had changed. My body felt “reset”, it felt like my batteries had been completely recharged. My overall performance improved and the only thing that had changed was the fact that I was doing yoga…
As they say, the rest is history… That was 8 years ago and if I had to explain everything that yoga has done for me, not only physically and mentally but how it helped me get to know myself and make major life-changing decisions, all the upcoming columns would definitely not be enough. Simply, yoga has become my main form of exercise and it has made me a stronger, more confident, more flexible, healthier, and a more balanced person all round.
I hope the yoga exercises I will share with you might make you feel better in the morning when you wake up stiff from a night’s sleep. They might make you just as a fanatic yoga practitioner as me, or maybe they just give you a nice stretch after a long ride on your bike.
I will try to keep things simple, understandable and accessible and I really hope you will enjoy it.
Why not try? Put on some nice chilled music and go for it!
Suryanamaskara A (Surya: Sun | Namaskar: greeting)
This is the first of two types of sun salutations to warm up the body. Each move is performed in coordination with the breath. Below you find an overview of what you should do. The breath is ideally in through the nose and out through the nose.
If you’d like a printable version of this series of poses please click here to download it.
Inhale: Reach your arms up
Exhale: Bend your body forward
Inhale: Look forward, lift chest halfway with a straight spine
Exhale: Step or jump backwards, come to Chaturanga Dandasana (plank)
If you find the Chaturanga Dandasana (plank) too difficult you can try one of the following positions rather to build up the strength and balance to perform the plank:
Inhale: Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (upwards facing dog)
Exhale: Adho Mukha Svanasana (downwards facing dog)
If you find the Adho Mukha Svanasana (downwards facing dog) to difficult you can try this as an alternative:
Inhale: Step or jump between your hands and look forward, lift your chest with a straight spine simultaneously.
Exhale: Bend your body forward
Inhale: Come all the way up and reach out your arms
Perform this Suryanamaskara as a warm up three times before starting any yoga routine or as a general stretch after a ride.