July 10, 2015
Why combine mountain biking with yoga? After all, doesn’t a post-ride ‘cerveza’ do the same trick to boost your body into rest and relaxation mode? The beer might hit the spot, but as your muscles seize up, your body won’t be very pumped for a ride the next day. Yoga reboots your system. It provides mental and physical awareness that compliments the challenges you meet on the trail. It encourages you to be mindful of your breath during long climbs and shortens your recovery time after intense rides. The essence of yoga is to “strengthen and lengthen,” what every mountain biker needs after a day hunched over the handlebars.
Mountain biking and yoga go hand in hand, the activities mutually benefit each other. Mountain biking and yoga are highly personalized experiences; you need to be aware of your surroundings — your mind can wander during downward dog, just as much as it can be in the clouds during those long downhills. Both activities highlight the importance of the mental game.
- IMPROVES BALANCE
Yoga increases your ability to feel what your body is doing and mentally process self-awareness of your body in space. If you think that’s not important while racing down singletrack with branches and sweat in your eyes – think again.
- DEVELOPS MINDFULNESS
Not only does yoga create a deeper sense of awareness about your body, it also lifts your spirits. Serotonin (those happy chemicals) are released when practising yoga — anything that adds an extra smile before hitting the trail is fine by me.
- REDUCES RECOVERY TIME
A post-ride yoga session reduces tension in your limbs and lengthens your muscles to relax them faster. You will slowly learn where you hold tension after a ride and be able to focus on these areas, so you can get back on your bike faster.
Yoga is not just about stretching – it is a full body workout that helps you become physically and mentally stronger. The strength you gain by balancing in plank position will make those steep climbs on the trail even easier.
- ENCOURAGES YOU TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT
After a long ride it’s easy to throw your bike in the back of your car and hit the road – but practising yoga post-ride, can open a whole new world of appreciation of the small things you experienced on your ride. The beautiful greens of the forest, the squirrel you almost ran over or the new friends you made on the trail – take time to be grateful for these moments.
- INCREASES FLEXIBILITY
I know what you’re thinking, who needs to be flexible to bike? Flexibility isn’t just about throwing your leg behind your head; it’s about training your muscles to support a healthy body and is the backbone for moving efficiently. Conquering those tight switchbacks will become much easier when you have spent some time in downward dog.
- NON-COMPETITIVE ACTIVITY
I am a fan of competition, but sometimes it’s nice to remember that I mountain bike for me – it’s a passion. Yoga is very much the same — you practise it for you.
Yoga is about focusing on the present. Training your mind to be in the “here and now” will transform your performance on the trail to get in the zone and increase your flow.
- INJURY PREVENTION
Your muscles will thank you when you implement yoga into your pre-ride and post-ride routine. Practising yoga takes your muscles and joints through their full range of motion and it trains your body to maximize its potential and reach new limits – benefits which you will welcome on the trail.
- SENSE OF COMMUNITY
Yoga and mountain biking can be very individualized activities, but one thing is for sure – both activities offer a community of participants that are focused on fitness, fun and getting outside. Who knows, you may meet your next riding partner at your first yoga class.