Three Basic Yoga Postures for Cyclists

Three Basic Yoga Postures for Cyclists

Yoga for Cyclists

I am frequently asked if practicing yoga will  improve cycling performance.   The answer is “yes” and “no”.   Yoga increases the practitioner’s perception of self and body, relative to gravity and space, which is good.  It also can stretch  the hell out of connective  tissue, when practiced improperly, which  is  bad.  Connective tissue is important to postural  and joint integrity.  Strong, healthy muscles, that perform within a broad range and relax easily, is a benefit from practicing yoga in true form.   The ability to experience greater depth in postures is achieved through coordinating movement and breath, in regular practice, without attachment to a specific outcome.

Legs Up the Wall Pose:

Trains hamstrings to relax in a lengthened state, but only if practiced without strain.  Helps equalize lower back hamstring muscle-length (L/R).  Also allows pooled blood and lymph to move from feet/legs to heart.  Great for reducing recovery time.

Practice 5-10 Minutes in the evening.

Position yourself on the floor with booty-to-wall distance sufficient to feel like nothing is happening.  Both knees straight, WITHOUT hamstring Strain.  You’ll know it is working if you feel like it is a waste of time.  Feel free to use a bolster under the  back or  heels.

Awkward Chair:

Strengthens quad-muscles, low, mid and upper back, and shoulders.  Great backside-core-strengthening.

Practice 2-3x >10 breaths, 3x weekly off-season and to address minor back pain.

Legs  together, knees pressing, weight  in heels.  Tilt and drop booty while reaching arms and torso at the same angle as shins.  Check low back muscles for recruitment and weight distribution (heels) regularly.  Adjust the difficulty by increasing/decreasing the amount of knee-bend/arm position.

Cobra:

Strengthens booty, back and shoulders.

Practice 3-4x>10 breaths, 2-3x weekly off-season; 1-2x>5 breaths on-season.

Lie flat on floor, chin touching, hands either side of the  ribs, and elbows alongside the body.  Press the pelvis into the  floor and lengthen from hips to toes.   Engage the boot (which  is an exception to most teaching styles, but appropriate for cyclists), and coil the torso upward with low-back muscles.   Draw shoulders away from ears and slide scapulas together and downward.  No pressure in hands.  Elbows towards body, back, and down.