Taking care of your body with Yoga 15 - Total Women's Cycling

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Training & Nutrition

Taking care of your body with Yoga 15

Here's how you can take care of your cycling body with Abi Carver's yoga for athletes

We believe that a healthy mind, and a healthy body is an essential balance for achieving your optimum performance on the bike.

Training the body doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym, breaking a sweat and cycling those miles for improved fitness. Floor exercises, meditation and strength training are fundamentals to ensure your mind and body are in the right place for hitting those cycling targets.

Downward Dog position

There’s been a growing awareness in the value of yoga to help with breathing, meditation, improving flexibility and core strength. These things are crucial for any cyclist, and Abi Carver, the founder of Yoga 15, has developed a series of instructional yoga videos designed for the cyclist, and athlete in mind.

Follow the tutorials from your phone app, your TV or your laptop. All you need is some space, a yoga matt, and 15 of those precious minutes from your busy day.

Who is Abi Carver?

The main issue I hear [from cyclists], without a doubt, is lower back pain

Abi is a trained and qualified yoga instructor, and personal trainer with a wealth of experience that has taken her all over the world to assist professional athletes on their journey’s to that podium finish.

She’s had a personal involvement with mountain biking for over a decade, and has built up a valuable understanding of what various aches and pains we cyclists suffer with. With a strong support network of riders to draw upon for insider knowledge, Abi is able to tailor her yoga training videos to target those common problematic areas.

What is Yoga 15?

Abi launched the Yoga 15 app in January 2015 that allows you to follow her 15 minute program wherever you go. Yoga 15 is a series of 15 minute yoga tutorials for athletes. These aren’t spiritually focused either, they purely focus on breathing exercises and muscle movements. These videos are clear and easy to follow, so we tried them out over a course of a few weeks.

Yoga 15’s Vimeo page has a wealth of videos, including 6 collections to cover the whole body, and the needs of every athlete: All-rounder, Balance, Flexibility, Mobility, Relaxation and Strength.

We put it to the test… 

Equipped with my downloaded tutorials, my yoga mat and 15 minutes of free time… I was ready to begin. Because I like to keep fit and cycle as much as I can, I thought I was in pretty good shape for flexibility and core, but Yoga 15 showed me just how wrong I was.

Each day I followed the instructions from one of Abi’s videos, working my way through Balance and Agility, to Breathing Meditation, and Post-Ride Stretches, until I eventually finished the collection.

Looking and feeling stiff in the Downward Dog position

Despite a rather stiff start, where my body felt like a plank of wood, I persevered with my 15 minutes a day, and after 2 weeks, I was beginning to see and feel a significant difference. My muscles felt more relaxed, and with each attempt of a stretch and hold, I felt stronger and it became more rewarding.

Use a mirror to check your form, and pop the pets in another room

I found it easier to train in front of a mirror to ensure my position mimicked Abi’s, although looking significantly more stiff and pained. Another suggestion would be to keep the pets out of the room, or they’ll join in, and put you to shame.

Find that 15 mins of peace and quiet per day, shut yourself away and have some “you” time whilst you take care of your body and mind.

Crow Position

From the Yoga 15 collection of tutorials, I found some key positions that really worked well for me.

Holds that require stretching of the legs, hamstrings and back, like the Cobra and the Downward Dog, were where I found most improvement with my flexibility over the 2 week course.

I enjoyed working my way up to some of the more advanced positions like the Crow because this is where I had to focus a lot of my balance and strength. However, I won’t dismiss the important of simply learning to breathe properly and in time with my body, which I think will come in handy when I’m toughing out a gruelling climb, or pumping my way through a trail.

Abi’s created a number of training plans and collections for a variety of sports such as snowboarding, surfer and climbing, with more to come in the future. She offers tailored training regimes in person, as well as online if there’s a specific issue you need help with.

I found Yoga 15 manageable and straightforward with very rewarding results, and I feel that with more time these rewards will show in my riding performance, and everyday lifestyle.

You many also enjoy:

Beginners Yoga Kit List

5 Reasons Why Cyclists Should do Yoga

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