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.
LOCUST POSE (Salabhasana)
Locust pose will help to open the chest and strengthen the core and back. Begin with any sequence of your choice; possibly try some cat and cow to warm up. (see the previous issue). Arrive face down, prone, on your mat and breathe gently with your arms by your sides and the tops of your feet touching the floor. Inhale to lift your chest first, stretching the arms back with strong fingers. Then lift your legs, pressing them up and back, and finally lift your head slightly. It is important to lift your chest first, as you do not want to crank your neck upwards. Save the cranking for your race at 24 Hours of Adrenalin. As with many stretches, lead with your chest and not your head. Remember to breathe during this strong pose and release after a few breaths. Repeat the pose for as many times as you’re comfortable, preferably around 5, and finish with some cat and cow to release and relax.
The reclined pigeon pose is a wonderful way to stretch the iliotibial band (or IT band). The IT band can become troublesome for cyclists, leading to hip and/or back pain. After any sequence of your choice, or some movements in cat and cow, arrive on your back with your knees bent and feet firmly planted. Cross the right leg over the left thigh, just above the knee, and the point of contact should be just above the right ankle. If this stretch is enough for you, stay here and breathe into the feeling. Otherwise, place your hands around the left thigh, and begin lifting your left leg towards you. Keep the left leg bent at 90º, preferably with the lower leg parallel to the floor. Flex both feet towards your shins to protect your knees. Each exhale brings your left leg a bit closer to your chest. If you have a partner, have them press a little on your left foot to help, but only go further during exhalation. Breathe steadily through the nose as you work the stretch and feel it around your hip, glute, and lower back. Stay in the stretch for at least 5 long and full breaths. Make sure you do not arch your lower back to go further. Activate the core and tuck your pelvis to keep the lower back down. Switch sides when you feel ready and perform any poses in between to relax.