I’ve written a few times about the benefits of yoga for cyclists, and think it is an idea that’s worth sharing again. Yoga is great for cyclists, but it’s also great for anyone. It’s a very accessible practice to add to your routine.
I’ve been attending a weekly yoga class for 20 years or more, with a few lapses over the years but it’s something I keep coming back to. My current weekly yoga class is via Zoom because I’m in lockdown and classes cannot be held in person.
I started attending Zoom classes in March last year when we first went into lockdown. Before that, I’d been attending a weekly class close to home at Balance Yoga. The clever people at Balance started the Zoom classes as soon as we went into lockdown last March and while many people returned to the yoga studio last year, I continued with a weekly Zoom class. It’s the ideal activity to do as a virtual class because you don’t need any special equipment and because I’ve been doing yoga for so long I don’t feel the need to have the instructor in front of me in person.
Some people find the spiritual side of yoga to be important but I’m more focused on the physical and mindfulness benefits. This is why I enjoy a weekly yoga class:
For me, it’s like an hour-long stretch for various muscles. I find my shoulders/upper back/neck and my hips are the stiffest parts of my body, and my yoga classes really help with these two problem zones. These two areas of my body are stiff, partly from cycling, but also from sitting at my desk while I work. Yoga also helps with my overall flexibility and balance.
Helps with breathing
By attending so many yoga classes I’ve learnt to breath more deeply right down into my belly, rather than just in the upper part of my respiratory system. This benefits my ability to breathe well when I’m cycling and particularly when I’m pushing myself, but also in all aspects of my life. Being more aware of your breathing which is usually a subconscious thing, can help with random stuff like curing hiccups, which I’m now very proficient at.
Learn to be present
Yoga also helps me to focus on being present, at least for the hour that I’m undertaking the class. When I’m focusing on the postures and listening to the teacher, I generally don’t think about loads of other things. That’s not to say that I don’t sometimes let my mind wander but I do try to focus on being present and enjoying the moment. When I’m cycling, I also focus on being present, rather than wishing I was somewhere else.
There are loads of online classes, both live and recorded so you’ll have no trouble finding something that suits you. I prefer to sign up for a weekly live class and pay for it so that I always turn up. If I had a subscription to an online yoga class that I could watch whenever it suited, I’d always run out of time or forget.
I also suggest that if you’ve never done yoga before you find a beginner’s class and attend in person if possible, or via an online class where they carefully explain every posture.