Why am I passionate about teaching “Yoga for Cyclists”? Because I am one and during a typical training week I’m on the bike for 10-12hrs.
That’s me on the front of the pack in the photo above during the weekly, local criterium (The Driveway Series) I use for interval training. In the photo above (thank you, Jim Hicks) I am also bleeding from the hand, elbow, and knee after a group crash midway through the race (the judges give you a neutral lap and let you back in after such mishaps). You can’t always continue racing after a crash, but I was lucky this time… and yoga is also a practice I use to prevent deeper injuries when the inevitable crashes do occur.
I understand the benefits of yoga for cyclists firsthand. Cyclists tend to have overdeveloped leg muscles (or what I call “MASSIVE leg muscles”) with an imbalance of flexibility in the hamstrings, quads, and hips. All of this usually leads itself to lower back pain that can occur on and off the bike. The bike also puts a lot of tension on the neck and shoulders. In the event of a crash this lack of flexibility can lead to torn/pulled muscles and ligaments to go along with the road-rash! Ouch! Most of these ailments can be alleviated through a regular yoga practice targeted at cycling recovery regardless if you’re a road racer, mountain biker, cyclocross freak, or commuter. Yoga probably can’t keep you from crashing, but it can help prevent injury and speed up recovery when a mishap does occur!
Yoga promotes flexibility and core strength and when these two come into balance cycling becomes more enjoyable and its a lot less painful. The lower back feels good, the neck is healthy, the chest is open, and the legs are always fresh.
In my “yin-style” classes we’ll focus on opening up the full-circumference of the hips, stretch the hamstrings (all three of them!), stretch the quads, open up the chest, and relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. We will also draw extra attention to the breath that will help relieve the muscles during the class while promoting good breathing techniques that can be used while racing or riding your bike.
Stay tuned for my class schedule for May 2013!