December 23, 2013

10 Yoga Tips for Cycling. ~ Hermione Armitage

1. Breathe out…relax.

Try not to hold your breath while negotiating traffic. Keep the breath flowing to stay relaxed and alert. As often as you can remember to breathe out and relax your shoulders, hands or forehead. We often don’t notice we are tensing these areas, so actively try to relax them.

2. Well oiled.

Circle shoulders, ankles, hips and wrists through their full range of motion before & after having them the more limited or linear positions on a bike. This will keep the joint lubricated and moving freely.

3. Love your brain.

Ahimsa (non violence), one of the five Yamas (restraints) in yoga, is a key foundation to the practice. Practice ahimsa towards yourself by always wearing a helmet.

4. Feet & Knees.

The knees are a key junction and connect the earth (through the feet) to our torso (through the hips). The knees must work together and in alignment with feet and ankles in order to effectively transfer effort through the legs & protect the knee joints. Keep feet facing forwards, not turning out or in, to keep knees and feet in alignment.

5. Shine light.

Shine light inside and out, don’t forget your lights and high visibility gear after dark!

6. Open the chest.

To open chest and shoulders after a long ride lie on the floor on your back with arms over the head, elbows bent or with hands interlaced behind the head. Breathe slowly and deeply feeling the whole rib cage expand and relax, gently stretching the chest as you do.

7. Lengthen top to tail.

The alignment principles of the spine we use in a yoga class can also apply when on the bike. Imagine the crown of your head extending away from your tail bone, ears in line with shoulders. Keep lower ribs absorbed into the body engaging your lower belly muscles. Arms and legs radiating out from this strong center.

8. Downward cycling dog.

Try rotating upper arm out as you would in downward dog when holding handle bars. Broaden collarbones and shoulders outward to create space for the breath and help stop shoulders from rolling or hunching forwards too much.

9. Hold your peace.

Santosha, or contentment is one of five Niyamas (observances) in yoga. Practicing this helps us to feel grateful and fulfilled from the inside, not relying on anything external. Don’t let others on the road ruin your ride or your day. No matter how they behave you can choose to react or not.

10. Create space. 

In Yoga the mind and body are completely linked; two sides of the same coin. You can’t work on one without also affecting the other. As we create space in our body through our physical yoga practice we also create space in our minds for stillness and peace, and in our hearts for compassion and acceptance. When on the road give yourself and others that same space you are developing in yourself.

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Assistant Editor: Cami Krueger / Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Hermione Armitage

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