Through this sequence, we hope to provide the fundamentals for developing a practice that can help you find better results on the bike with the practice of yoga.
While riding bikes is a big part of the culture here at Saris, so is maintenance and stretching. Our own certified yogi, Stephen Balsley, regularly leads yoga sessions here in our office. There’s no one more qualified around here to lead a 40-minute, simple flow that cyclists of all levels could use to build strength, flexibility and core stability.
Through this sequence, Stephen focuses areas that most impacted by the common riding position for both road and mountain bikers. These areas are the wrists, shoulders, lower back and hamstring. While developing these muscles hunched over the handlebars can develop better endurance and strength for your ride, without the practice of counter balance through a routine such as yoga, these same areas can suffer from slow recovery from an effort and possible injury.
Most riders don’t think about their wrist until they suffer an injury, ignoring a key contact point with the bike for both road and mountain riders. For this reason we started with wrists. Opening and warming up the wrists can help alleviate pain points while riding.
We then moved from wrists to shoulders, finding motion to help open both the front and back of the upper body. Finding effort through both the front and back of the chest and shoulders provides a good example of seeking balance in an overdeveloped area of the body to enhance recovery time and prevent injuries.
Common yoga poses like cat/cow will ultimately lead to longer and faster rides.
3. Low Back & Hamstrings
Many cyclists experience lower back pain and stiffness as a result of issues with tight hamstrings, weak cores and long rides. Moving through a series, like Sun Salutation A, can help open up this space through the use of movement and breath.
Riders tend to grow accustomed to movement and effort, and so moving through a sequence offers the best chance to build the flexibility and strength to counteract the hours spent on the bike.
Related: Yoga for Cyclists, Part 1
There is a moment in pursuit of physical activity where one surpasses the feeling of effort and challenge, and discovers a deeper level to the process. The moment you ride up over a challenging hill on a morning ride and glimpse a far-away valley, knowing only a wonderful decent is to follow. The feeling of hitting a smooth, effortless flow, through a difficult section of single track. And for some of us, an understanding of the connection between our breath, body, and mind in a yoga pose.
We hope you enjoyed this sequence and encourage you to take your interest further by working with yoga instructors in your area who can help you with your individual concerns and needs. The more you learn about your riding, and your body, the more efficient your time will be on the bike.