By Faye Martins
Yoga teacher training courses prepare you to help students develop balanced bodies. Biking is a great activity, but enthusiasts really need to practice Hatha Yoga. With growing interest in healthy living and eco-friendly lifestyles, biking has become one of the top two outdoor activities around the world. In spite of its benefits, it is, nevertheless, a relatively one-dimensional sport that taxes the upper body and hips, leaving muscles tight and strained if core strength is lacking.
A biker’s posture encourages tight quadriceps and hamstrings and affects balance and flexibility. In addition to traditional stretching routines, many cyclists are turning to Yogic exercises as a means of enhancing training, avoiding injuries and staying fit. For Yoga instructors and studios this is an opportunity to network with local bicycle clubs and shops.
Yoga and Biking
• Yoga is all about balance, and nothing is more important to bikers than stability. Mountain Pose and Tree Pose are simple postures that encourage equilibrium; Sun Salutation, a series of flowing movements, offers a good warm-up and prepares the body for the flowing motion of cycling.
• Yogic breathing not only circulates freshly-oxygenated blood to restricted muscles; it also contributes to smooth and rhythmic pedaling.
• Bikers need neutral, relaxed spines, but the requirements of the sport itself, along with tight, overused hamstrings, strain back muscles and cause riders to hunch over their bikes. Yoga poses like forward bends and front stretches elongate the back and keep it flexible.
• Proper alignment of the arms when riding allows the body’s weight to be equally distributed, protecting the shoulders and allowing proper breathing. Triangle Pose and Cobra Pose support body alignment needed for safe biking.
• Cycling demands freely-moving hips and properly-balanced weight throughout the body. Asanas like Downward-Facing-Dog and Archer Pose distribute weight evenly through the arms and legs and prepare the pelvis for proper alignment on the bike seat.
• For best performance, cyclists need to be free of mental and physical tension. Corpse Pose, a meditative posture that usually comes at the end of a session, relaxes the body and mind. So does a regular meditation practice.
Like any sport, biking requires appropriate equipment, good training, and self-discipline. The addition of Yogic principles means that cyclists can ride for longer distances while experiencing less fatigue, greater comfort and increased safety. Who knew the bike seat and the Yoga mat had so much in common?
© Copyright 2012 – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division
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