Training, Nutrition, and Health

10 Ways Yoga Benefits Mountain Bikers

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.

    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.
    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.
    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.
    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. 
    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.
    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.
  8. FOCUS
    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.
    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.
    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.

Looking for a trip that combines the perfect blend of mountain biking and yoga, check out the links below:

Pura Vida Yoga and Moun­tain Bike Retreat — Cos­ta Rica

Rocky Moun­tain Bring Your Partner