Like salt and pepper to a dish, peanut butter and jelly to a sandwich, what does yoga and cycling equate to? Or do they even need to equate to anything?
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. So how does the two of Yoga and Cycling give rise to you as an athlete?
As a practice that dates back many centuries, Yoga is trialled and tested, and it’s benefits are unparalleled. At its core, yoga is an exercise for the body and mind that leads to increased aerobic strength, flexibility and focus. Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of their training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins’ benefits from the focus it brings to his cycling, while others, such as pro mountain biker and Olympian Jeremy Horgan Kobelski, use yoga to gain strength. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury. In this letter, we are going to take a look at a few of the many benefits yoga has for cyclists.
Yoga offers many varieties and styles, but the most applicable for cyclists are styles that focus on continuous movements which are steady flowing and work through a full range of movement, eventually building great muscle endurance.
As a cyclist you need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but you also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength. Cyclists spend most of their time bent forward over the handlebars, which leads to tight hip flexors. Many yoga poses target the hip flexors and lower back, helping to balance muscle strength and prevent injury. Yoga also keeps you focused on a deep and steady breath, forcing you work aerobically. Training your muscles aerobically and learning how to control your breathing are two very important aspects of training and racing for any endurance athlete.