Cycling is a wondrous thing filled with excitement, exertion and a substantial amount of challenge. While this does offer an almost complete body workout, there is still room for improvement. When one considers the various options of what to combine with cycling, rarely does yoga come to mind. Despite what one might think, these do end up covering all of the bases and becoming a pretty solid pair. The idea here is that one tends to physical health while the other boosts this and adds an added benefit of tending to mental health.
The best of both worlds. When taking into account the two disciplines, we start to see the benefits that each brings to the table. Cycling, for one, engages the entirety of the body and substantially improves joint mobility. With the added bonuses of increased coordination, improved posture and all-around cardiovascular fitness, it’s hard not to consider cycling as a regular part of our day. Combine this with its inherent time-efficiency and fun factor due to the fact that we’re always on the move, and we see why so many people opt for cycling as their primary means of daily exercise.
On the other hand, we have the enlightening world of yoga. Although its popularity has decreased in recent times, yoga is still one of the leading activities people undergo either in the morning or in the evenings. When done in the morning, the breathing exercises combined with a general sense of calm ease the mind and help maintain focus throughout the day. Nightly sessions offer a relaxing experience to calm the body and mind before heading off to sleep. This helps with getting a good night’s sleep and zoning out of the majority of our problems for a time.
A tandem performance. Now, after taking into account what each discipline offers, we start to notice the benefit each could bring to the table. While the bike ride itself would be the strenuous part of the day, yoga could be used as a supplement immediately before and immediately after a trying ride to soothe ourselves and get in the right mindset. Just before a ride, we could combine the general practice of stretching with a couple of yoga techniques to get ourselves in just the right place before heading out. This will help zone out any “outside noise” and boost our performance. When we’re done, the same practices can be used to alleviate any troubles we might have and calm ourselves before continuing with the rest of our day.
Real-life example. A good example of such a practice are the classes being offered at YogaGlo. They have specifically designed training regimes targeted at complimenting everyday cycling by enhancing the menial task of stretching and helping riders get ready physically and mentally for extremely long rides ahead of them. They advocate an increase in flexibility, recovery time, circulation etc. The great thing about these is that they’re all in video form and are free to watch, giving anyone a shot at trying this combo out and seeing if it does anything for them.
Another example is the relatively new studio that opened up in New York a couple of years back. Based in Brooklyn, Syncstudio made a name for itself by hosting both cycling and yoga under one roof. They advocated the combination stating that cyclists are notorious for their tight hips less-than-ideal shoulders. Their approach utilizes a dance-based routine, even while on the bike itself, making people focus on the beat, almost forgetting that they’re on a bike. This practice has seen a great deal of success and has greatly risen in popularity since its debut in 2010.
Give it a shot. When everything has been said and done, it all comes down to you. Whatever your time schedule or financial situation may be, this will always remain a good option and offers a plethora of benefits that cannot be ignored. Bicycles come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and generally every online shop will have an option for anyone out there. Besides that, all you need is a yoga mat and a bit of patience and you’re set. Whichever routine we might opt for, it is imperative that we do each and every exercise correctly to avoid any injuries that could hinder our progress.
The gist. A seemingly-odd match actually turned out to be quite the combo, offering a plethora of benefits with little to no investment and pure fun factor that you just don’t get out of conventional gym environments. The trick is to find the right balance and the right regime that fits our needs and capabilities. This will ensure that each day is challenging enough to help us advance to the next level while not experiencing the burnout that comes along with these ambitions. Breathe in, breathe out—try it out.
Photo by Martin Barák