Most people wouldn’t automatically make a connection between practicing yoga and riding a bicycle. After all, riding a bike is something you do zooming through the great outdoors. Yoga, on the other hand, is usually done inside in a single room, and although you may be stretching your mental and physical abilities, you are hardly hurtling through space.
Yet, believe it or not, there are real benefits of yoga for biking enthusiasts.
Enhanced Strength and Endurance
One of the best ways to improve your overall physical strength is through yoga, because the practice of yoga helps to develop every muscle in your body. In contrast, when it comes to bicycling, the strength and endurance benefits are often limited to the lower body, especially the legs. When it comes to other parts of the body such as the chest and back, the amount of development is not as great.
Through the use of yoga, you can develop these other areas that don’t get enough exercise while bicycling. Later, you can use that increased strength and endurance to handle and balance the bike better while having better endurance on long rides.
If there is one thing most people get out of practicing yoga, it is better flexibility of movement. This is very helpful to cyclists, who tend to have problems with tightening of the muscles of the ankles and hips. The overuse of these muscles can result in feelings of soreness and stiffness, which can be a disadvantage when racing or on long rides. With greater flexibility due to the practice of yoga, cyclists can avoid or delay the onset of cycling related muscle soreness.
Better Mental Focus
Because yoga includes non-physical aspects such as intense mental focus and a higher awareness of breathing, it can also aid in developing skills that are beneficial to bicycling. For example, knowing how to breathe consciously can help a cyclist to not lose their breath from exertion.
Better mental focus helps to raise awareness of one’s surroundings and the actions of other bikers, both of which will help make you a better racing and long distance biker. The better mental focus also helps you to remain calm under competitive pressure.
Yoga is all about balance, both of the body and mind. Bicyclists are also very much into balance, and for the very practical reason that a bicyclist that can’t maintain their balance is likely to fall and be injured.
The same balance that enables you to perform complicated yoga movements will help you to keep your bike upright on the road and when riding in close quarters with other riders. If you do fall off your bike, then a stronger sense of balance can help you to land better and avoid injury.
Yoga and Training
The truth is that bicyclists who also practice yoga are better cyclists both mentally and physically than if they did not. Try thinking of yoga as just another dimension of biking training, something done to ensure that you have the strength, flexibility and focus for maximum biking performance and as a way to avoid injuries.
The bottom line is that the use of yoga for biking enthusiasts to enhance their performance is something that will result in many benefits for bikers.
About the author: Faye Martins, is a Yoga teacher and a graduate of the Yoga teacher training program at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. To receive Free Yoga videos, Podcasts, e-Books, reports, and articles about Yoga, please visit: http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org/
Photo by Mr. T in DC.