yoga and moutain biking in wales

Most of us cycle because we love to, many of us because we want to get better and faster at it.

Yoga and Cycling Holidays Around the World

Cycling is obviously one of the best ways to do that - but just like ice cream (sorry!) it is possible to have too much of a good thing.

If you're riding more than four times a week, it might well be better to swap one of those rides for a yoga session. Here's why...

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However your bike is set up, you're still going to be spending quite some time asking your glutes, hamstrings and quads to pump away whilst you're seated.

This can cause certain muscles - such as those in the glutes, quads, and hamstrings - to tighten up. Unless your body is perfectly symmetrical in terms of strength, length and flexibility - which is very rare, most people have one stronger, shorter or more flexible leg - this can cause rotation in the hips, which will worsen over time and become uncomfortable.

The cycling position can also put stress on your lower back and neck, as you bend over the handlebars.

Do Cyclists Need to Be Flexible?

A Yoga class will give you the opportunity to stretch out the tight areas - and you'll often be asked to look for in-balances, areas where one side is tighter than the other.

warrior

Yoga isn't just about relaxation - you can build up a lot of strength holding poses like the Warrior and The Chair.

Building strong core muscles will help to make you more powerful, and reduce injury.

Yoga for cyclists, part 1: the core

Imagine a cyclist with a weak core - the lower body wiggles with each pedal stroke, the hips rock, and the power comes from the legs alone. Now, compare this to a rider with a strong core - the legs are powering away from a strong, stable stomach and back - less energy is wasted, and there's less waving around in the hips. Yoga will help you be more like the second rider.

focus

When you're struggling on a hard ride, a lot of the battle is mental. For example, on a steep climb, it is very often the head that gives up before the body.

Some of the poses in Yoga, such as the Eagle, where you're balancing somewhat precariously, require some serious mental focus, just to stop yourself from wobbling over.

Technique: Master uphill climbing on your bike

This same mental focus can translate to the road and trails and could really help to boost your ability to blank out distractions - such as the pain in your legs, other riders around you, or that annoying little voice that questions your ability.

Yoga vid Dšdsklippan

Ah - we cyclists can be busy people. Fitting in work, family life, the general chores and admin that most people use their Saturday mornings for, and lots of hours on the bike can sometimes feel like a lot to balance.

Most Yoga classes end with a short meditation - this is just a few moments to lie back, relax, breathe, and listen to your body.

Of course, you could just promise yourself you'll do this once a day, or once a week, before you go to sleep - but will you? Dedicated time at the end of a session will hold you to that promise.

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How do you view your body?

Is it a mother for your children, a protector? A clay model to be sculpted as you wish? Or a group of moving muscles that need to be pushed in directions that will take you to your goals?

Or is it a home for your mind?

Yoga sessions stretch you out, improving flexibility, they force you to hold yourself in bizarre contortions which work your muscles to wobbling point.

However, throughout most sessions, you'll be told to be kind to yourself, to listen to your body, and appreciate it for what it can do, not for what it can't YET do. Yoga encourages you to see your body in a positive light, and to celebrate its abilities, and potential.

Do you practice Yoga? Check out some of these poses...

Face down dog pose - cycling yoga

Pigeon Pose Sequence

Crescent pose with twist - cycling yoga