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Mountain Bike Tips

Yoga for Mountain Bikers: Tips and Poses

Several people wearing mountain bike gear, standing in a field doing different yoga poses
Woman standing next to mountain bike in a field doing the dancer yoga pose

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.