• Allison Grippe

Why Cycle & Yoga Make A Great Pair

Did I just use cycle and yoga in the same sentence? Why yes, yes I did. Now more than ever, yoga and cycle are seamlessly flowing together for a multitude of mental and physical health reasons.

Reason #1: Builds Strength and Stability

For cyclists and yogi's alike, it is important to work on strengthening the core for balance and stability. Your abdominal muscles are connected to and work with the lower back. Core focused postures strengthen the muscles along the spine improving overall posture and naturally allowing the spine to be more flexible. Cyclist Sam Edwards of Core Coaching, believes that this can reduce pain and discomfort that can show up after a long ride.

Reason #2: Increases Flexibility

Tight Hips And Shoulders? Cyclists often feel tension in their hips and shoulders because they spend most of their time bent over hard handlebars. Many yoga poses target the hips and shoulders helping to balance muscle strength and prevent injury.

Reason #3: Decreases Stress Levels

When in doubt, channel your inner Faith Hill. Just breathe! It is important to have control of your breath on your bike and on the mat. A steady, smooth breath allows you to find calmness and decrease your stress levels. Your breathing affects your body and the power you’re able to exert. When you put your attention on the breathe and practice pranayama, you will cultivate better breathing habits that will appear automatically when you ride. If you're a nervous or competitive rider, pranayama will help you reduce your road-side anxieties.

Reason #4: Betters Your Performance

I understand that it can be difficult to attend a yoga class when you live for cardio bursts and enduring climbs, but yoga really presents so much potential to improve your performance in all your physical pursuits. We rarely take the time to fully tune-in and appreciate what our body is doing, how it feels in different positions, and how that affects us both mentally and emotionally – yoga provides that opportunity. 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins devoted his win to his training schedule which included a daily yoga practice. He believed it made him a more focused and flexible cyclist.

Reason #5: Goes Beyond Stretching

When I think of stretching, I think of a very passive activity. I think of hanging over my legs after an exhausting ride and trying to touch my toes. This is why Yoga should never be compared to stretching. The modern yogi B.K.S. Iyengar describes yoga in this way: “Yoga is an art, a science and a philosophy. It touches the life of man at every level, physical, mental, and spiritual. It is a practical method for making one’s life purposeful, useful and noble. As honey is sweet from any part of the honeycomb, so is yoga." By no means am I going to tell you to stop stretching. But yoga is something more than stretching, and it deserves our attention and a special spot in our training.

"Nothing's more freeing than the open road—unless it's the space you create inside." -Charity Ferreira

I instruct a YogaFusion60 Class (30 minute cycle + 30 minute yoga) at FLY| a fitness revolution in Fargo, North Dakota. Join me each week on Wednesdays at noon! Each yoga class is designed for students at all-levels and those who enjoy cycling. You can sign up on the MindBody App.

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