I was watching a group of road cyclists out training this morning, what a great form of exercise! I have a long connection with cycling, my father was an Australian track champion and my God Father was an Olympic gold medalist. I was a fairly mediocre track cyclist as a teenager and have ridden bikes all my life although a bit out of practice of late.
As much as I love cycling on reflection I realize that its not a whole body experience like Yoga asana. The cyclists hamstrings and quads never rest, every pedal stroke shortens and tightens leg muscles. The very repetetive nature of cycling can lead to injury if not complimented with an appropriate cross training modality, Yoga asana is a perfect aid because of its impact on the whole body.
Cyclists tend to develop long and weak back muscles, weak abdominal muscles. Kyphosis and hyper extended necks due to their position on the bike. Basically they develop strong limbs and a weak torso. Some of the cyclists I work with struggle to hold basic strengthening asana for any period of time.
A properly structured Yoga asana program alleviates possible injuries caused by short and tight muscles through stretching the legs and hips. Strengthening torso muscles and the proper application of bandhas develops the explosive power required in cycling sprints. Practicing back bending asana help correct postural imbalances caused by being locked into a set position on the bike.
Regardless of the type of cycling practiced, track, road or mountain biking the one item common to all is focus. Competetive cyclists need to to be aware of their race tactics and winning visualisations, any road rider needs to be aware of the traffic and the mountain bikers are always checking out their terrain. Yoga offers various methods to aid focus and develop present moment awareness.
Yoga practice is a great adjunct to cycling. Whether your a serious competitor or cycling for fitness yoga will improve your riding, help aid your recovery and keep you injury free.
Peninsula Yoga develops yoga sessions specific to cycling and other sports.
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I had some great feedback last night after the 7 pm class. Once again the amazing healing power of Yoga amazes me. People had been in pain for years, undertaken treatment from various healers without success. The only relief they’ve received was from undertaking properly structured, balanced and intelligent Yoga movement programs @ Gnostic. You can transform your life by simply walking through the door and making the effort to move.
Yoga is a philosophy of action not theory. You need to participate, practice and make a commitment to yourself to reap the benefits.
General level class this afternoon at 5.30 pm, come and check out the new sequence.
One on one Yoga coaching is also available.
How do you assess the quality of your Yoga class? When your laying in savasana at the end of your class, how do you judge weather the class was good or bad? What criteria, if any do you apply to come to your opinion?
I’m genuinely interested in your answers.
I received some feedback last week. I do respect the person’s opinion but I think they may have misunderstood the purpose of Yoga. I was advised that a class the person attended was not physically strong enough. Considering citta vrittinirodah the level of physical exertion is of little consequence. I do appreciate that a physical challenge is essential in development but meditation in movement does not require torn muscles and physical exhaustion! An intelligent and properly structured asana/movement sequence is essential for wellness, ripping and tearing eventually will physically wreck you.
I did watch this particular person practice and what I saw was poor alignment, poor knowledge of bio-mechanics, little concept of proprioception and resistance to adjustment and modification. If this person continues to practice in this way injuries will follow.
Asana should be practiced with steadiness and comfort. The Yoga postures can be incredibly beneficial if practiced correctly but can be detrimental to your health if practiced incorrectly.
Regardless of where you practice when a competent teacher feels your ready to deepen your asana practice they will guide, support and nurture you to the next level. Your yoga class is designed (mine are) to bring body and mind together in the present moment. I will offer you a physical challenge but only when I feel your ready, likewise I will modify you or adjust you if I feel your over exerting.
Keep moving, keep practicing, let your body become open to deeper stronger movements, allow your mind to become clear and receptive to deepening awareness. Be gentle with yourself and don’t indulge the dreaded ego. Stay with Yoga and the possibilities are endless.