The following article is contributed by Aimee Pranava Yoga. Learn more about her below:
Yoga and cycling are a winning combination. They both work out our quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes as well as our core abdominals muscles. Yoga and cycling also require a tremendous amount of concentration and focus.
However, if you’re not careful to maintain proper form, you can throw your hips off balance. Furthermore, hunching over the handlebars for a long bike ride can cause strain in the upper, middle and lower back.
I have worked with yoga students who are also “city cyclists” back in NYC, teaching them to use the practice of Vinyasa yoga to develop their connection with their breath to each movement and helping them to recall that connection as they pedal.
This breath makes pedaling stronger from the core region, enabling them to cycle longer while taking in oxygen more efficiently by developing a more steady, focused way of breathing.
I recommend that cyclists try the following styles of yoga with a certified instructor: Jivamukti, Bikram, and / or Asthanga. At some point, you will find a good fit. Whether you ride socially on the weekends with your friends or are practicing as a professional, your cycling will benefit significantly from this ancient practice.
There are many different styles of yoga. The yoga postures described here are from Jivamukti Yoga, one of the popular styles. It is a vigorous hatha yoga practice which provides an intense strength-building practice combined with flowing movements. Each one of these movements connects its corresponding inhale and exhale with a movement that creates a deeper stretch for the practitioner.
Benefits of yogic breathing & meditation
Certain breathing and meditation techniques are capable of transforming a basic ride or competitive race preparation into a moving meditation. “Pranayama” (Sanskrit for “breathing exercises”), practiced with “asana” (Sanskrit for “physical exercises”), brings you more awareness of your breath at all levels. This combination of breathing and movement also strengthens the body’s circulation, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems.
Yoga benefits for cyclists
› Increased lung capacity
› Improved posture
› Increased strength and flexibility, overall stamina
› Increased concentration
› Energised body and mind
Start practicing these asanas after a ride while your body is still warmed up. Hold each asana for a few steady breaths, focusing on the deep inhale and even more on the complete exhale. However, come out slowly if there are any nerves being pinched or any pain which is intolerable.
Transition into and out of each asana with steady focus and awareness of each part of your body. Keep your inhale and exhale steady, smooth, and balanced. Slow the breath even more you’re finding it difficult to breathe. Always have compassion for your body and do not force it to do something it doesn’t want to do.
Pigeon pose – Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
A strong hip opener that relieves tension in the chest and in the shoulders while stimulating the internal organs and stretching the psoas muscle. Those who suffer from knee or ankle issues should seek the guidance of a certified yoga instructor.
Supine spinal twist – Jathara Parivartanasana
Twists are a great way to release the back of any stress and frustrations from day to day issues that come up. Twists are also the body’s natural way to detoxify and stimulate the internal organs in the upper body
Aimée Pranava is a Certified Yoga Teacher under Yoga Alliance US & UK with over 2000 hours of training in three core yoga disciplines: Sivananda, Bikram and Jivamukti. She has attended Teacher Trainings to teach the Ashtanga Primary Series under the tutelage of David Swenson & Lori Brunard while in NYC. Her practice of yoga began in 1995 after losing her brother to AIDS. Similar to her Grammy Award winning cousin, Olga Tañón, she wanted to share this gift with those that needed to heal themselves at all levels. In 2002, she founded Pranava Yoga, with the inspiration to offer yoga and meditation to those in businesses of all kinds. Aimée has been leading international classes, workshops, vacations that empower all beings to make a conscious choice to better their lives and the lives of all those around them. In 2011, she became Dechen Thurman’s 1st premiere 800hr certified teacher and returned to get her MBA in 2012 at Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands. There Aimee brought the ancient teachings of yoga to make it the 1st Business School in Europe to offer yoga and meditation to its students and staff.
In addition to teaching yoga, Aimée is “bridging the gap” between the world of consulting in business, technology and humanitarianism as eco-spiritual entrepreneur through her passion for yoga, mindfulness and overall wellness.