Cycling is truly one of the best ways to stay fit as well as being an extremely enjoyable outdoor activity. Also, as Nature-conscious citizens, we need to look at cycling as a viable mode of transportation. By reducing pollution, we are doing our bit to save Mother Earth. If our city-municipalities could do more for cyclists, such as providing independent cycle lanes – more of us would surely be able to incorporate cycling in our daily lives!
In this article we look at how cross-training with Yoga can help You as a cyclist benefit. Usually cyclists complain of over-worked Quadriceps (Thighs) and consequently tight Hamstrings. This often leads to the Hips being out of alignment. Apart from this; Cycling forces you to bend your back forward for long periods and if the posture is not right; then you can strain your back and shoulders. Yoga will help enhance Core Strength and align your Back.
Another important aspect is the focus that Cycling requires. When you are preparing for ascent up a hill; and your mind is ready to give up, the mind-body connection and breathing training in yoga helps you to focus on the present task of cycling.
PARSVOTTANASANA (Hamstring stretch variation) helps to stretch the hamstrings before and after cycling.
– Stand straight. Take one leg 2 feet back. Exhale and slowly stretch downwards. Hold the posture for a few breaths and then repeat on the other side.
DWIKONASANA Variation stretches the shoulders, upper back and opens out the chest muscles. This is a great stretch to do before your cycling as you will hold a closed upper-body pose during cycling.
– Hold one wrist with the other palm and stretch your chest and shoulders outwards.
DOLPHIN Stretch helps you to open the shoulders and upper body in preparation or even after your cycling.
– Start in Mountain pose by placing your palms and feet flat on the floor, while raising your hips high.
– Now drop your elbows on the floor and allow the shoulders to stretch while taking a few deep breaths.
– Then release the pose by dropping you knees on the floor and relaxing your back.
SETUBANDASANA (Bridge pose) will help you to relax your back muscles after your cycling is over.
– Lie on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet close to your hips. Inhale and raise your hips off the floor. Hold for a few deep breaths and then return to a lying down pose.
SARPASANA Variation will help you strengthen your lower back muscles; while stretching your chest and shoulder muscles.
– Lie on your stomach. Interlock your hands behind your back.
– Inhale and raise your chest and upper back while contracting your lower back muscles.
– If you are comfortable; then raise your legs off the ground as well to further strengthen your back. Hold for a few deep breaths.
– Then release the pose and relax your back.
Enjoy YOGA! Enjoy CYCLING!