Fitness Magazine

Yoga and Cycling

By Ninazolotow @Yoga4HealthyAge
by Nina and Bridget
As someone who walks and gardens a lot, I know how valuable it can be to use your yoga practice to balance your body after intense physical activity of different kind. Our editor, Bridget Frederick, uses her yoga practice to balance her body from all the cycling she does. She has been completely bicycle dependent for the last 5 years, and has experienced her share of body aches as a result of riding 100 miles each week just to get where she need to be. So she focuses her home practice the areas that tend to take a beating on the bike (outer hips, shoulders, calves, hamstrings) to keep herself mobile while still commuting daily.

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Because Bridget will  leading her second Yoga for Cyclists workshop this Saturday, September 28, 1-3 pm at Adeline Yoga in Berkeley, CA, I thought it would be a good time to interview her about why and how she uses yoga to keep her body in balance.

Nina: Why is yoga so beneficial for cyclists?
Bridget: Cyclists use their bodies in particular and repetitive ways while on their bikes. This leads to specific muscle tightness (quads, hamstrings, calves, shoulders), for which I’ve been using yoga poses as well as myofascial release to keep myself mobile while still commuting daily the last five years. Getting off the bike and really exploring these areas in depth, and especially learning a few key poses that you can do for yourself at home can lead to more comfort on and off the bike.

Nina: What are some of your favorite poses or practices for balancing your body after you've been cycling?
Bridget: Cycling tends to have the rider leaning forward (though some upright and recumbent bicycles address this issue) so slouching shoulders lead to tight chest muscles and back strain. I like to lie over a pair of blocks (one along the spine and one under the head on a higher level) for a chest opener, allowing my pectorals and biceps to widen and soften. Once my chest is open, strengthening my back and accessing more core strength is possible.
Outer hips and calves are important areas for me, so I do a lot of Supta Padangusthasana (Reclined Leg Stretch) at home, really focusing on getting some softening and opening in the hip crease of the leg I’m working with.
Yoga and Cycling
Pigeon pose is another pose that really gets into the outer hip region, as well as the hamstrings. Many standing poses help with stretching out the calves, for example, Virabhadrasana I (Warrior 1) and Parsvottanasana (Pyramid pose). But I also have a whole series of calf stretches I do, sometimes starting off with some myofascial work to ease my calves into those poses.
My yoga practice has grown over the years because it works for me. A deeper understanding of anatomy and the connectedness of all parts of the body have made injuries much less frightening. I feel more in control of what's going on in my body and more able to address particular aches and pains, as well as supporting my dedication to being bicycle dependent.
Bridget's Yoga for Cyclists workshop is:
Saturday, September 28, 1-3 pm
Adeline Yoga 3320 Adeline Street, Berkeley, CA
$35.00 (scholarships available—email [email protected] for details)

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