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Yoga for Cycling Fitness

Probably everyone has heard of yoga now, as it’s been one of the most popular and long-lasting fitness and wellness trends in the past decade and a half.  Yoga means different things to different people but the common denominator between everyone is that it is relaxing and stress-reducing.

Yoga is a practice (physical and mental) of slowing down, increasing mindfulness of thought and action, and calming the nervous system so that one can stay grounded and present when our lives feel a game of Frogger.  (Those of you who played videogames in the 80′s will know exactly what I’m talking about!)

There are plenty of myths about yoga that dissuade some from trying it.  “I’m not flexible enough” or “I’m too hyperactive to do yoga”.  Yoga is not about touching your toes or putting your feet behind your head like you did when you were an infant.  It’s about doing something with attention rather than rote habit.  If you can’t settle down enough to practice, then that’s when you need it the most!

One of our past guests who came on a self-guided bike tour to California, Julie Prochnow, owns a cycling and yoga studio in Grafton, Wisconsin called Cyga.  I interviewed her about the two forms of fitness and she says that both complement each other very well.  Cycling addresses cardiovascular and respiratory systems through intensive cardio exercise while yoga encourages movement in different planes and calms the nervous system after an intensive workout.

Some of her favorite yoga poses include:

-          Seated or Prone Spinal Twist – flushes the organs and maintains flexibility and mobility of the spine

-          Pigeon Pose – stretches the piriformis muscle and rotators of the hips

-          Standing forward bend – stretches the hamstrings

-           Side stretching – relieves the back, increases circulation to the spine, and stretches the muscles in between the ribs creating more space for   the lungs and for the breath to flow more freely

-           Legs up the wall pose to give the legs and circulatory system a break

legs-up-the-wall

To learn about these yoga poses and more, go to http://www.yogajournal.com/basics.

It’s not hard to incorporate a few of these simple and effective poses after a day of cycling.  They can rejuvenate your legs and keep your spine in optimal health for many more miles to come!   One of our favorite retreats on the Big Island of Hawaii – Hawaii Island Retreat – offers 3 day yoga and meditation retreats that you can combine with your cycling tour.  I can’t imagine a more fantastic vacation.  Sign me up!

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