Yoga and Cycling - The two meet

September 15, 2015

 

As cyclists and yoga teachers our vision at SoulFit Adventures is to unite these practices and to help others create their ideal health physically and mentally in life. We know, first hand, how beneficial yoga is for cyclists. As yoga is becoming more popular in the west and cyclists are realising the benefits, it is fast becoming an essential performance tool for cyclists and their everyday wellbeing. 

 

The philosophy and why we do what we do at Soulfit Adventures is simple: through basic yoga poses for the body and mind we balance the effects of a strong cycling habit, whether you are a social cyclist or more keenly competitive, on the trails of the most beautiful destinations in the world.  And let’s face it, there isn’t a much better feeling than cycling through a foreign country with the wind on your face and the sights and scents of that country at handle bar level!?

 

When you cycle through an unfamiliar and spectacular environment you combine and enhance all the beneficial aspects of yoga and cycling.  Your mind responds to the aesthetic and the newness while your body revels in the challenges of untraveled and unknown routes.  But there is much much more:

 

Why yoga and cycling?

 

We know yoga rejuvenates our bodies and calms our minds, but why are these a powerful combination for one another?

 

Blending yoga and cycling begins with understanding of the yin and yang philosophy. Yin and yang describes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary and interconnected. They give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another (such as light and dark, fire and water, expanding and contracting, yoga and cycling).

 

Cycling can lead to tightness in areas on the body. Pedaling long hours astride the saddle, with the neck up shortens the spine and causes tightness in the lower back, sacrum, and hips. Cycling requires leg strength, and also flexibility and lower back strength. Yoga poses alleviate tight hip flexors and tension in the lower and upper back balancing muscle strength. These poses bring an added harmony of keeping you focused on the breath both on and off the bike! The opposites of yoga and cycling together take your body and mind on a journey complimenting yin and yang energies through deep yoga poses aligning your body back to its natural state. The stretching and strengthening movement diminishes the after-effects of serious (or casual) rides.

Think about this first;

  • Look at your posture in the saddle.

  • Focus on lengthening the spine—be conscious of keeping space between the shoulders and neck (imagine a turtle with its head peaking outside of its shell – you don’t want to look like this on the bike or anywhere else for that matter!).

  • Engage your pelvic floor muscles and lift the navel to engage the core. This creates a lock which in yoga is called a ‘Banda’, around the lower back which then in turns protects the lower back.

 

Let’s look at a few of our favourite yoga poses for cyclists. Which will benefit your muscles, your breathing, endurance and your concentration while helping you get even more pleasure from your cycling.

 

Camel Pose

Beneifits of the pose include:-

  • Opens up the hips, stretching deep hip flexors

  • Stretches and strengthens the shoulders and back

  • Expands the abdominal region

  • Opens the chest, improving respiration

  • Loosens up the vertebrae

  • Relieves lower back pain

  • Improves flexibility, especially in the spine

  • Complements overall health and well-being

 

Twisted Roots (supine twist variation)

Benefits of the pose include:-

  • Helps release the lower back

  • Opens tight shoulders

  • Elongates the supporting spinal muscles

  • Improves digestion

  • Quietens the mind

 

Pigeon Pose

Benefits of the pose include:-

  • Opens the hip joint

  • Lengthens the hip flexor

  • Stretches the thighs, gluteals and piriformis muscles

  • Etens the groin and psoas

  • Deminishes lower back pain and stiffness

 

The benefits of yoga and cycling are endless both on and off the bike!

 

Virginia, Founder of Soulfit Adventures recommends finding a qualified yoga instructor who can help you choose the correct poses for your body.

 

Here at Soulfit Adventures we believe in balance. Regardless of whether you are a serious cyclist clocking up 100’s of kilometers a week or you hit the bike every now and then, your body will appreciate the stretching and strengthening that yoga brings you.

 

Our collection of active retreats offer something different; from yoga and cycling, luxurious wellness escapes to the beach and mountain trails, to destinations of adventure and discovery. 

 

The benefits don’t end with the holiday.  You will come home…

  • Relaxed and replenished in both your physical and emotional wellbeing.

  • Having lasting health benefits.

  • Yoga poses to improve your riding.

  • A restored balance to every cell in your body.

  • Newly acquired knowledge to keep you fit, strong and injury free.

 

If you would like to know more about how yoga can benefit your cycling, we are happy to put together a personalized sequence based on your body and your requirements.  We can do this in person or via skype.

 

For more information on 2016 dates and locations, or to organise a personalized yoga sequence, contact us directly on virginia@soulfitadventures.com.

 

And finally, here’s a treat for you to try out post ride or post yoga practice. The best bit, there aren’t any nasties in it and it’s a synch to make.  Enjoy!

 

Raw Cacao and Coconut Superfood Bar

 What You'll Need 

1/2 cup cacao powder

1/2 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup almond butter

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup toasted shredded coconut

1/4 cup crushed raspberries

1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds 

 

How You Do It 

In a saucepan on low to medium heat, melt down the coconut oil, maple syrup, cacao powder and almond butter. Keep stirring until it is smooth and chocolatey. 

Prepare a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle the almonds and raspberries. Pour the chocolate mixture over the top and sprinkle the coconut. Allow it to set and slice up and enjoy!

 

 

“Cycling and yoga side effects may include: sweating, euphoria, and general awesomeness”.  Unknown

 

www.soulfitadventures.com

 

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