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.
HALF LORD OF THE FISHES (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
This twisting pose will help to open the ribs and chest, enhance digestion, and stretches the IT band along with the back and shoulders. If you have spinal, shoulder, or chest injuries, please respect your needs and modify or choose a previous pose. To start, follow the previous sequence to arrive in downward dog, and find your way to a seated position. Prop your hips with a bolster, block, or blanket if you need extra support. With your legs stretch out, cross your right leg over your left making sure your foot is firmly planted. You may bend the right leg and tuck it back against your thigh to stretch the quad, but only do so if your knee and body permit. Place your right hand off to the side and slightly behind you, and inhale to bring the left arm up. If your leg is extended, tilt your foot toward you to strengthen the pose. Stretch your arm towards the ceiling to lengthen the spine, and exhale as you slowly twist to the right. Place the outside of your left arm against your right thigh, look slightly back and allow yourself to get deeper into the stretch as you breathe. Inhale to release the stretch, and feel free to forward bend or perform any other movements before moving to the other side.
CAT-COW (Marjaryasana to Bitilasana)
The cat-cow pose is an easy sequence used to warm up or even release your torso from having been in a twist, like the previous pose. To begin, bring yourself to all fours with your hands firmly planted in line with the shoulders. Your knees should be bent at 90 degrees with your toes curled under to stretch the feet. Begin by rocking back and forth with your breath, releasing any leftover tension. At one of the points rocking back, exhale and begin to slightly arch your back like a cat. When you inhale, allow your torso to move in the opposite direction, slightly sinking the chest and lifting your head slightly, which brings you into cow pose. When in cow pose, let your arms settle into their sockets. Use your skeleton to support weight and not just muscle. As you exhale, begin to slowly make the cat movement more exaggerated to stretch your back, and remembering to make full breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth. Continue with this sequence at least 5 times each, or more if desired. Do this pose anytime to move the spine and free up tightness.