Over the past year, I’ve been lucky enough to include a weekly yoga class in my life and it’s reiterated to me, the benefits of yoga for cyclists. A couple of years ago I attended an interesting workshop with a guy called Angelo, who has developed his own variation of hatha yoga called Pedal Stroke Yoga.
A few interesting points I learnt from Angelo in the workshop include:
- Yoga helps you create a body that is pain free
- Cycling keeps your body in a linear motion whereas yoga is about twisting
- In cycling you use your big muscles & sympathetic nervous system, in yoga you use small muscles & your parasympathetic system which controls rest & digestion
- Yoga helps you learn diaphragmatic breathing (it’s something I learned through yoga and it helps me on and off the bike – you breathe deep into the bottom of your lungs rather than shallow breathing)
- As a cyclist you need to strengthen your glutes and core and yoga can help you do that – strengthening your core allows you to hold a forward-leaning position for longer.
Angelo says he created Pedal Stroke Yoga by studying the muscles used to produce power in the pedal stroke, and the impact this movement has on the cyclist’s body. The traditional hatha yoga sequences were then reformulated to create a style of yoga that is specific to cyclists’ needs.
The main aim of Pedal Stroke Yoga is to create a body that is both strong and supple, in order to allow cyclists of all levels to maximise their performance and enhance their enjoyment of the sport.
On Angelo’s website he lists the benefits of Pedal Stroke Yoga as:
- Strengthens the precise muscles used in the pedal stroke to maximise power output
- Restores tight muscles and improves flexibility in order to maximise extension, power and bike comfort
- Improves Core stability to create a strong platform from which the legs can generate power
- Improves bike comfort by creating a body that is pain free and supple, so you can perform to you true athletic potential or simply enjoy your cycling more
- Creates strength without adding bulk
- Introduces lateral movement to break you out of linear motion of pedal stroke and alleviate tension in neck, shoulders, hips, knees and other joints that are impacted
- Prevents injury and illness so you get more time on the bike
- Mobilises and balances the nervous system to increase stamina and ensure muscles are firing efficiently
- Uses breathing exercises to improve lung capacity and endurance
- Reduces recovery time after a ride
- Trains the mind to create razor sharp focus to keep you in the zone and cycling safely.
Angelo’s philosophies can be extended to regular yoga classes which is what I attend every week. The benefits I gain from yoga are realised not just on my bike but also in other aspects of my life.
If you live on the Central Coast or in Sydney you should consider going along to one of Angelo’s classes listed here.
What are your experiences with the benefits of yoga for cyclists? Let us know via comments or the Women Who Cycle Facebook page.