Yoga is something that is great for most everyone. Many athletes can take advantage of the calming, stretching, and toning benefits of yoga. While the practice is great overall, there are specific poses that benefit cyclists more than others. Below are some of the best yoga poses to benefit the cyclist body and lifestyle.
Start with this wonderful, gentle release for the low back. Imagine your pelvis as a bowl of water. While lying on your back with your knees bent, tip your pelvis back so that the water spills onto your belly and your lumbar spine presses flat to the floor. Inhale and release. Repeat this about ten times. The movement is subtle but effective.
Supine Spinal Twists
- Lie down on your back.
- Bend your knees and put the soles of your feet on the floor with your knees pointing toward the ceiling.
- Press into your feet to lift your hips slightly off the floor and shift them about an inch to your right.
- Draw your right knee into your chest and extend your left leg flat on the floor. Keep your left foot flexed throughout the pose.
- Cross your right knee over to the floor on the left side of your body. Your right hip is now stacked on tip of your left hip. You can hook your right foot behind your left knee if you like.
- Open your right arm to the right side in line with your shoulder. Rest your left hand on your right knee or extend it to make a T shape with the arms. Turn your palms toward the ceiling.
- Turn your head to the right, bringing your gaze over your shoulder to your right fingertips. You can skip this step if it doesn’t feel good on your neck.
- On your exhalations, see if you can release your left knee and your right shoulder toward the floor.
- Hold 5 to 10 breaths before drawing your right knee back into your chest. Release both legs to the floor to neutralize your spine for several breaths before doing the other side.
Seated Forward Bend
- Begin by coming to sit in staff pose – dandasana.
- Bring your arms straight out to the sides and up over your head, reaching toward the ceiling.
- Inhale and draw your spine up long.
- As you exhale, begin to come forward, hinging at your hips. Imagine your pelvis as a bowl of water that is tipping forward.
- On each inhale, lengthen your spine you may come a bit out of your forward bend to do this. On each exhale, deepen into your forward bend.
- Keep the neck as the natural extension of your spine, neither cranking it to look up nor letting it go completely.
- When you have come to your full extension with the spine long, decide whether you want to stay here or let your spine round forward.
- Take hold of your ankles or shins, whichever you can reach. You can also use a strap around your feet. Keep your feet flexed strongly throughout.