Yoga and cycling – a perfect match
A few months ago I was lucky enough to attend a workshop run by Angelo from Pedal Stroke Yoga, a variation of hatha yoga developed by Angelo to utilise the benefits of yoga especially for cyclists. I used to attend yoga classes on a regular basis so I know the benefits that yoga can bring. Unfortunately I’ve not managed to fit regular yoga into my schedule of late but I’m eager to change that in the near future. Despite my own lack of attendance at yoga classes I’m a true believer in the benefits it can bring to your life and your performance on the bike.
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 you 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 cyclists 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.
If you live in Sydney you should consider going along to one of Angelo’s classes listed here.
If you don’t you could find out if there’s something similar offered in your home town or find some general yoga classes to attend.
I have used yoga for several years now to help stretch out and make my body feel better after long arduous rides. Now I understand why my body seeks out yoga as a recovery method. I also use swimming for the same reason.
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