Yoga For Cyclists
Yoga For Cyclists

Finally, it’s cycling season again!

For many of us, the arrival of warmer weather means it’s time to pump up those tires, grease up those chains and get those tired legs moving again.

Cycling is not just a fantastic way of keeping in shape; it’s also a sustainable form of transportation that helps us to connect with nature and engage with our community.

It is most definitely yogi-approved!

However, like any form of exercise that uses a lot of repetitive movements, cycling can create patterns of tension and strain in the body that may cause discomfort over the long term.

So it’s a really good idea to supplement your cycling with another form of exercise that counteracts and retrains some of those patterns. Yoga is the perfect fit!

The following sequence of postures will focus mainly on 3 things:

  • Releasing the tension and stiffness that cyclists often experience in the hips and hamstrings.
  • Counteracting the slightly hunched posture of cycling with chest and shoulder openers.
  • Building core awareness and stability to maintain optimal posture and efficient movement.

When using yoga as a supplement to an athletic physical activity, it’s important to allow the body to remain still while in the postures.

Focus on slow, consistent and full breathing and try not to push too hard. Let the body adjust over time.

A couple of yoga blocks and a bolster will come in very handy for this practice.

Balasana — Child’s Pose

Balasana — Child’s Pose
Balasana — Child’s Pose

Kneel on your mat. Draw the big toes together and separate the knees roughly mat width apart.

Lay your torso down between your legs and reach the arms over the head placing your hands on the mat shoulder width apart. The forehead can rest on the floor.

Allow the sit bones to release towards the heels as you direct the breath into the lowest part of the abdomen.

Take full, quiet breaths in this pose, allowing the back body to expand with the inhale.

Remain still and draw your awareness to the sensations in the body.

Hold for 2 – 3 minutes. Come out of the pose by lifting up into a table top position.

Marjaryasana — Cat/Cow Pose

Marjaryasana — CatCow Pose
Marjaryasana — CatCow Pose

Come into a table top position, hips over knees, shoulders over hands.

On an inhale, start to tip the sitting bones up and back. Allow the belly to sink towards the floor as you draw the chest through the arms and slightly lift the gaze.

On an exhale, draw the tailbone down and forward. Allow the back to round, puffing it up towards the ceiling. Spread the shoulder blades and allow the crown of the head to sink towards the floor.

Repeat 5 – 10 times at your own pace of breath, allowing the breath to direct the pose.

The movement should last the whole length of the breath. Focus on articulating gradually through each part of the spine without pushing.

Phalakasana — Plank Pose

Phalakasana — Plank Pose
Phalakasana — Plank Pose

From a table top position, lower the forearms to the floor.

The forearms should be parallel, with the palm of the hand pressing strongly into the floor. Keep the shoulders over the elbows.

Spread the shoulder blades, slightly rounding the upper back.

Step the feet back into a plank.

The body should be in a straight line. Try not to allow the hips to sink below the shoulders or rise above them.

Keep a strong hollow body position by tilting the sitting bones towards the feet, engaging the abdomen.

If your alignment is correct, the abdomen should engage automatically. There’s no need to intentionally contract the abs, which might interfere with taking full breaths.

Focus on breathing into the belly.

Remain in the pose for 10 – 15 breaths.

Salamba Bhujangasana — Sphinx Pose

Salamba Bhujangasana — Sphinx Pose
Salamba Bhujangasana — Sphinx Pose

Lower down to your belly, with the forearms parallel on the floor, elbows in front of the shoulders.

Press the hips into the floor, and draw the chest through the arms, pulling the shoulders down and back.

Lift your gaze by drawing the chin up and forward.

Make sure the lower back is comfortable. If there is any pinchiness in the lumbar spine, either actively press the hips into the floor and engage the glutes, or don’t come quite so deep into the pose.

Focus on breathing into the side body.

If you wish to deepen the pose at any point you may press your hands into the floor and lift your elbows, straightening your arms as much as feels comfortable.

Remain in the pose for 10 – 15 breaths.

When the pose is complete, lower the chest to the floor, place the hands alongside the ribcage.

Press up to a table top position on an inhale.

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose
Adho Mukha Svanasana — Downward Facing Dog Pose

From a table top position, press into the hands and lift your hips towards the ceiling, entering Downward Dog.

If the lower back is rounded, consider generously bending the knees until the lower back is able to straighten.

Focus on drawing the sitting bones towards the ceiling and the shoulders towards the knees.

Gradually, over time, you may choose to begin straightening the legs. Make sure the lower back stays straight and comfortable.

Allow the shoulders to externally rotate, so that the biceps start to move towards the front of the room and the triceps to the back. At the same time, root down strongly through the thumb and index finger knuckles.

Hold for 10 breaths.

Utthan Pristhasana — Lizard Pose

Utthan Pristhasana — Lizard Pose
Utthan Pristhasana — Lizard Pose

From Downward Dog, step the right foot to the outside of the right hand, entering a long lunging position.

Lower the left knee to the floor and place the top of the left foot on the floor.

If the knee is sensitive or sore, you may place a flat pillow or the rolled up side of your mat under it for support.

Beginning with the hands on the floor, press into the left foot and contract the back of the leg to allow the left thigh to release towards the floor.

At the same time, engage through the right glute to allow the hip to open.

If mobility allows you may come down to your forearms at this point.

Hold for 10 – 15 breaths.

Once the pose is complete, come back up to the hands and step back into Downward Dog.

Repeat on the other side.

Uttanasana — Standing Forward Bend Pose

Uttanasana — Standing Forward Bend Pose
Uttanasana — Standing Forward Bend Pose

From a standing position, step the feet hip width apart and place 2 blocks shoulder width apart about a foot in front of the feet. Place the hands on the hips and inhale, opening the chest.

On an exhale, fold forward from the hips, keeping the chest open. Place your hands on the blocks, keeping the arms straight.

From this halfway lifted position, work on straightening the back and legs at the same time. Engage the fronts of the legs strongly to keep the knees from hyper extending.

Allow the sitting bones to travel up towards the ceiling, lengthening the hamstrings.

Hold for 10 breaths

Prasarita Padottanasana — Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose

Prasarita Padottanasana — Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose
Prasarita Padottanasana — Wide-Legged Forward Bend Pose

Stand in the middle of your mat, facing towards the side. Step the feet out so the legs are on roughly a 90 degree angle relative to each other.

Place the hands on the hips and inhale, opening the chest.

On an exhale, fold forward from the hips, keeping the chest open. Place your hands on the floor, underneath the shoulders.

On an inhale, lift the gaze and focus on lifting the sitting bones towards the ceiling, expanding through the chest.

If mobility allows, on an exhale, start walking the hands back between the feet, draw the elbows over the hands, shoulder width apart. Release the crown of the head towards the floor.

Hold for 10 breaths.

On an inhale, lift halfway.

On an exhale, place your hands on your hips.

On an inhale, rise up to standing.

Vrksasana — Tree Pose

Vrksasana — Tree Pose
Vrksasana — Tree Pose

Stand with your feet together. Rooting down through the left foot, bend the right knee and draw it in towards the chest, balancing on the left foot.

Take the knee out to the right as far as you can and place the bottom of the foot on the inner left thigh. Try not to press the foot directly into the knee, if you find it difficult to bring the foot higher place it on the calf instead.

On an inhale lift the hands up overhead and reach towards the ceiling, elbows back, shoulders forward.

Hold for 10 breaths.

On an exhale release the pose, bringing the feet together and repeat on the other side.

Salabhasana — Locust Pose

Salabhasana — Locust Pose
Salabhasana — Locust Pose

Lying down on your front, reach the hands towards the feet, placing the backs of the hands on the floor. Bring the feet together.

On an inhale lift the legs off the floor, lift the chest off the floor and lift your gaze by bringing your chin up and forward. Press the hips into the floor and focus on breathing into the side body.

Hold for 5- 10 breaths.
On an exhale lower down placing the forehead on the hands.

Janu Sirsasana — Head-to-Knee Forward Bend Pose

Janu Sirsasana — Head-to-Knee Forward Bend Pose
Janu Sirsasana — Head-to-Knee Forward Bend Pose

Sit on the floor with the left leg extended in front. Bend the right leg and take the knee out to the side, placing the foot on the inside of the left leg.

At first it may be more comfortable to take the foot away from the torso until the knee is able to reach the floor. Over time the heel can be drawn towards the groin.

If there is any pressure at all in the knee, consider supporting the leg by placing a block underneath the right thigh.

If mobility allows, take hold of the left foot. Otherwise, place the hands flat on the floor.

On an inhale expand through the chest and extend the lower back, lifting the gaze.

On an exhale fold forward.

Try not to round the lower back. If the back is rounding significantly, consider bending the left knee.

Hold for 10 – 15 breaths.

On an inhale, lift the gaze and expand through the chest.

On an exhale, release the pose and repeat on the other side.

Anantasana — Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose

Anantasana — Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose
Anantasana — Side Reclining Leg Lift Pose

Lie on your back. Squeeze the legs together and flex the feet.

On an inhale, lift the legs, pressing the heels up towards the ceiling, keeping the legs as straight as possible.

Hold for 5 breaths.

On an exhale, lower the legs about 1/4 of the way to the floor and hold for 5 breaths. Press the lower back into the floor.

On an inhale, lift the legs back towards the ceiling.

On an exhale, lower the legs 1/2 way down and hold for 5 breaths. Press the lower back strongly into the floor.

On an inhale, lift the legs back towards the ceiling.

On an exhale, lower the legs to the floor as slowly as possible.

Matsyasana — Supported Fish Pose

Matsyasana — Supported Fish Pose With Blocks
Matsyasana — Supported Fish Pose

Place a bolster lengthwise on the mat about a hands width away from your sacrum.

Bring your feet together, knees out to the side, legs in a diamond shape. Place blocks under your thighs to allow your legs to release fully into the support.

Lie back over the bolster. Let your arms fall out to the side with your palms facing towards the ceiling.

Hold for 3 – 5 minutes.

To exit the pose, use your hands to close your legs up like a book. Carefully roll off the bolster to the right side before removing the props from your mat.

Savasana — Corpse Pose

Savasana — Corpse Pose
Savasana — Corpse Pose

At the end of this sequence, rest on the back for 5 – 10 minutes.

Relax all the muscles in the face, abdomen and hips. Do your best not to fidget while in this final resting pose.

Breathe slowly and quietly, focusing on the sensations in the body.

Doing this sequence 2 – 3 times a week will help raise your energy level, increase your mobility and keep you cycling at your best all season.

So stay safe, stay loose and have fun on your bike this summer!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*