This last week I returned from an (informal) 3-day ‘yoga for cyclists’ retreat.
I say ‘informal retreat’ because we actually to visit an old school friend of husband’s and his gorgeous partner at a spectacular property in Dunoon, NSW. And I say ‘for cyclists’ because both husband and I have been riding bike recreationally and competitively for a number of years now.
Luckily for us, our delightful host couple have just recently returned from an extended stay in India, where they were living in a yoga ashram to undertake their yoga instructors course (hence ‘retreat’!).
It goes without saying that staying with them was blissful, gentle and wonderfully restorative.
Yoga for cyclists! Start the day right!
We were up at 5 am for an hour of meditation, then two hours of yoga followed by some more meditation – all before breakfast.
What a way to start each day!
Although I still did some reading for my PhD, I did not ride during this trip as I just wanted to invest in some quality rest and relaxing downtime. To this end, I was really just a love sponge for the amazing views, good company, scrumptious veggo food and stunning campfire-under-an-endless-night-sky vibes (*sigh*!).
Best of all, we did yoga every day – and I mean good yoga!
We did all the yoga poses you would get in classes, but also held some for considerably longer. Plus, we did a variety of yogic purification breathing techniques that I have not tried before – super interesting!
An additional bonus was that both our hosts team-taught each session, which was brilliant for the balance of yin/yang – male/female energies.
Given years of competitive and recreational mountain bike riding, this daily yoga practice really drove home how tight my thighs and hips were – and how important regular stretching is.
A month of yoga (for cyclists) challenge
Since returning, I have committed to a month’s yoga challenge – with a focus on unlocking and releasing the years of stored up cycling tension (it might take a while!). After my initial month trial ends, our two yoga hosts suggested to check out their ashram’s online yoga practice.
Their ashram, Akhanda has a number of yoga classes free online as well as a private youtube channel, which for $10 a month, you are able to access to a series of yoga sessions (5 x 30 mins per week, or 5 x 60 mins per week, etc.).
Overall impacts thus far?
I am feeling so much better for doing daily yoga and will definitely continue. I have really enjoyed the progress I have made in the last eight days and can feel the difference in my legs, hips and torso. I feel a lot stronger, more centred and have noticed a considerable improvement in the range of movement in my hips.
This month’s yoga for cyclists challenge serves as a timely reminder to slow down and to explore alternative approaches to getting stronger.
Maybe some days, if it is raining outside and you are not up for a ride, you can work in, instead of work out! (Oh no, dad!).
So if you have not done yoga lately, here is one of the better of many popular yoga classes designed specifically for cyclists to get started.
I hope you have fun and get as much satisfaction out of it as I am! Enjoy!