Cycling pushes you beyond your limitations. It connects you with nature. It brings you to a place of presence and focus. And it kicks your butt! This is like yoga, a strong full-body practice that leads you to peace and well-being while feeling at one with your environment.
On a physical level, cycling increases strength and muscle tone, improves cardiovascular fitness, and enhances coordination. It also promotes a healthy heart, builds stamina and decreases stress. However, the positioning of the body and repetitive motion of cycling can be demanding, and can result in tight muscles and restricted posture.
Yoga builds strength, flexibility and agility, opening up the spine and improving the quality of your ride. By incorporating a few yoga stretches to your cycling routine, you can help prevent stiffness, fatigue and injury. You can also deepen the awareness of the body, allowing you to feel your limitations more accurately.
Here are four yoga poses that will allow you to stay in balance, enhancing your performance and your enjoyment on the bike:
Utthita Hasta Padangustansana: Extended Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose
How to Do it: Begin standing. Grab the right big toe and inhale foot up. Bend the right knee if you have tight hamstrings, otherwise extend the leg straight out in front of you. Exhale, and continue to breathe steadily. Pull the right toes back towards you, lengthen through the heel, lift your chest and drop the shoulders down. If possible, allow the standing leg to remain straight, not clenching the toes to the floor. Use strong concentration and a steady gazing point to assist balancing. Stay in pose for 30 seconds, lower your leg, and switch sides.
Why Do it: Stretches the hamstrings and calves, and strengthens the legs and ankles. Promotes core strength and balance.