Yoga for Mountain Bikers: Tips & Poses

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May 1st, 2019

We recently caught up with Sacred Rides guide Johanna Weintrager. Johanna has a contagious smile and enthusiastic energy, as well as an impressive and wide array of skills. She's an international mountain bike guide, yoga instructor, rock climber, sports nutrition consultant, former XC and DH racer and is always eager to share her passions. Read on for Johanna's top yoga poses that complement mountain bikers.

about johanna:

I started riding in North Vancouver around the dawn of the millennium after sea kayak guiding on the East coast. After a month of living in North Vancouver bikes made their way into my life, a natural calling since I lived at the base of Mt. Seymour, home of Boogieman, Ned's and other popular trails. I fell in love with the  gnarly shore trails, bridges, steep rock rolls, hucks to flats and the carnival of excitement that these features created. I spent most of my summer days exploring the  North Shore,  Whistler and Squamish. In the winter's I grabbed a bike light so I could bike year round. I then started coaching. Travelling and riding all the best trails in British Columbia. Sacred Rides found me in the mountains of Rossland, B.C. while I was coaching in 2007.  I eventually moved to Fernie, B.C. (home of Fernie Fat Tire that was later to become Sacred Rides) when I was offered to run the women's program.  I have now been guiding and coaching internationally for over 10 years.  It has been the most incredible way to spend the majority of my year! So many places, faces, laughter, trails and triumphs have been lived through myself and everyone who joins me on a trip! I have seen communities grow, trails get created and trails disappear. The cycle of it all. Over the past few years, I have travelled the world between guiding seasons and explored little corners and pockets of undiscovered joy.

 

Biking is a form of meditation, a time to be with yourself and your breath. To be in the moment and re-centre yourself. I laugh and giggle a lot when I ride. I am one of the lead guides in B.C. and Utah  for both co-ed and women's-only  rides and I  also helped develop the Pura Vida Yoga and Mountain Bike Retreat in Costa Rica and a yoga and mountain bike retreat in Mexico.  I'm excited to be joining our team in Peru this September 2019 for our Women's only  Inca Trail All Mountain ride in Peru!

 

Yoga is part of my being. I've been blessed to have done the Sacred Rides Patagonia, Nepal, California, and Costa Rica trips. I am a certified coach and have Yoga Alliance 500hr RYT with   a degree in Sports and Fitness Nutrition. I have been around to see Sacred Rides grow. I've experienced our guides from around the world do such an incredible job and show Riders  the best mountain bike trails, culture, accommodations and cuisine their country has to offer. With an open mind, eyes and two wheels below us we can explore the beauty this planet has to offer as well as keep the prana flowing!

 

Sat Chit Ananda Truth Consciousness Bliss

 

Join Johanna  on the following Sacred Rides:

Inca Trail All Mountain - Women-Only

Magnificent Mesas 

Rocky Mountain Bring-Your-Partner

 

yoga poses and tips for mountain bikers 

types of yoga:

There are numerous types of yoga that offer different benefits. It's important to choose the right type of yoga to complement your goals both on and off the bike. Note: you should never feel pain while practicing yoga. If you do experience pain, you may be doing the poses incorrectly or have a previous injury. Go slow, breathe and practice often.

1. yin yoga 

Slow-paced yoga where poses are held for 45 seconds to two minutes to stretch your connective tissues, become more elastic and improve your circulation. Yin Yoga is a great post-ride practice for relaxation, inner peace, spirituality, calming and fascia.

2. restorative yoga

Restorative yoga is focused around decreasing stress, relaxation and rejuvenation. This practice taps into your parasympathetic nervous system to help you truly relax and is a wonderful practice to help with injury recovery.

3. bikram and ashtanga yoga

Bikram and Ashtanga yoga are focused around building strength and focus - perfect for mountain bikers. Bikram  yoga is a series of 26 postures that are practiced in a heated room to help release toxins and strengthen the body, while Ashtanga yoga is a series that includes 71 plus a warm-up with Suranamaskara A & B (Sun Salutations) repeated 5 times.  

 

yoga poses:

YouTube is a wonderful resource to learn and practice yoga poses with the help of a qualified instructor. I have included videos from one of my favourite channels (Yoga with Adriene) to help you understand  poses and set you up for success.

1. suryanamaskara - "sun salutations"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Strengthens muscles, warms up the body, activates your breath, improves flexibility tones muscles and increases endurance.

2. uttanasana - "forward fold"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Stretches hamstrings, calves and hips, strengthens thighs and knees reduces fatigue and anxiety.

3. parasita padottanasana - "standing wide-leg forward fold"

Benefits of this pose: Stretches lower back, relieves mild backaches, strengthens and stretches legs and spine

3. parsvottanasana - "pyramid pose"

Benefits:  Strengthens your legs, stretches your spine and shoulders, improves posture and balance and improves digestion.

4. dandasana - "staff pose" 

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Strengthens back muscles, stretches shoulders and chest, improves posture.

5. paschimottanasana - "seated forward fold"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Stretches hamstrings, shoulders and hips, reduces fatigue and calms brain.

6. baddha konasana - "bound angle pose"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Stimulates the heart and improves circulation, stretches inner thighs, groin and knees.

7. junu sirsasana - "head to knee forward bend"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Stretches spine, shoulders, hamstrings and groin, strengthens back muscles.

 

8. salamba sarvangasana - "supported shoulder stand"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Stretches the shoulders and neck, tones legs and buttocks, reduces fatigue.

9. halasana - "plough pose"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Stretches shoulders and spine, therapeutic for backaches and calms the brain.

10. balasana - "childs pose"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Gently stretches hips, ankles and hips and relieves back and neck pain.

11. salabhasana - "locust pose"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers: Strengthens back, buttocks, arms and legs, stretches shoulders, chest, belly and thighs and improves posture.

12. ustrasana - "camel pose"

Benefits for Mountain Bikers:  Stretches the front body, ankles, thighs and groin, stretches the deep hip flexors and strengthens the back muscles.

13. gomukhasana - "cow face pose"

Benefits to Mountain Bikers: Stretches the ankles, hips, thighs, shoulders, armpits, triceps and chest. 

14. urdhva dhanuursana - "upward bow (wheel) pose"

Benefits to Mountain Bikers; Stretches chest and lungs, strengthens arms, wrists, buttocks, abdomen and spine.

 

mountain biking and yoga:

Yoga is a powerful tool for increasing your strength, balance, focus and flexibility on and off the trail. After a day of hunching over the handlebars you will appreciate the 'strengthening and lengthening' that yoga brings to your daily routine.   Learning how to control your breath, both when mountain biking and in your yoga practice,   can provide wonderful benefits  to calm your mind and control your focus.   Finish your yoga practice with breath work and meditation, take 100 deep breaths before and after  your next bike ride to calm your nervous system  and connect to your body. 

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