By – STEFAN GRECU
Yoga is great for cyclists to help improve flexibility and also for core strength. NAMASTE will show you two yoga poses each issue geared specifically for cyclists, so you can build a yoga practice into your schedule.
LOW LUNGE (Anjaneyasana)
Following last issue’s poses, you can come into this pose from downward dog by exhaling and stepping a foot between your hands. Otherwise, standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, inhale your arms up and exhale as you forward fold. Inhale your upper body parallel with the floor and support yourself on your shins, then exhale and come into high-plank position. Step your right foot forward and lower your left knee. Your left foot should be on the toes/ball and you should feel a nice stretch in your foot. Keep your right knee straight and directly above your ankle. Inhale as you engage your core and lift your upper body. Place your hands on your hips, and keep your core engaged and tail bone tucked. You will feel this stretch in your quad, hip flexor, and into your side. The hip flexor is the main target so breath slowly through the nose and stretch gently, do not push your hips too far. If your lower knee is sore on the floor, fold your mat or place a blanket underneath. You can use a combination of blocks or other items to support your right hip if the stretch is too low. To stretch the calf muscle, push your heel back to lift your knee off the ground slightly. After five long slow breaths, lower your knee or fold and place your hands on either side of your foot. Step back into high-plank, come into downward dog or slowly stand and repeat for the other side.
SEATED EAGLE ARMS(Virasana legs with Garudasana arms)
Following the previous sequence until high-plank, bring your knees to the ground and slowly sit back. Allow the tops of your feet to touch the ground, which will help stretch the front muscles of your lower leg and your ankle. If you have ankle issues, sit on supportive items to take the weight off your heels and feet. Otherwise, sit back on your heels with your knees straight and good posture. Extend your arms in front, palms up, and cross at the elbows right over left. Bend your elbows to bring your forearms toward your face, and this may be enough for your shoulders. If you would like to go further, rotate each hand inward toward the other, and your left hand will touch the bottom of your right palm. Slowly lift your hands and elbows toward the ceiling, only going so far as the stretch will kindly allow. Keep your upper arms parallel to the ground and your forearms parallel to your upper body. This will stretch your shoulders with the added benefit of stretching your quads and front lower legs. Take five slow breaths through the nose, then exhale and release your arms. Shake out your arms and relieve your knees, if necessary. Repeat by crossing your arms left over right and following the steps outlined above.