Yoga and Cycling

tour de france

Here at Yoga Kula in Leeds we’re all excited about the Tour de France so we asked one of our students Andrew  Smith about his experiences with Yoga and Cycling.

How long have you be practising Yoga?
I started Yoga approximately 15 months ago alongside my cycling and triathlon training in order to improve flexibility and also look for a way to relax and de-stress after a hard day at work.

Which yoga style(s) do you practice and how often?
I started with the Yoga Kula Beginner’s course, which was a great introduction and quickly built my confidence. Now I practice once a week and vary the classes I attend based on work commitments and other training. I particularly enjoy Ashtanga, Vinyasa Flow and Hatha. Each class offers something different and I enjoy the varied styles and pace that each teacher offers.

AS1Has yoga helped you with your cycling in any way?
Although I started Yoga to mainly focus on flexibility I’ve found it has helped my cycling in numerous other areas. In addition to reducing injuries, it’s helped quickly build core strength. This has reduced neck and back pain on long training rides and helped with balance and bike handling. Building strength in my legs has led to more power being transferred to the pedals and therefore greater speed. But the big surprise was how much Yoga has improved my breathing and focus which has been invaluable when climbing the hills of the Yorkshire Dales and in those really tough, dark moments, when races push you to the limit and you want to give in!

Which poses/techniques help you the most?
For me personally I have very tight hamstrings and calf muscles for which there are lots of poses in the classes that have helped such as Downward Dog and the various seated forward bends.

Would you recommend yoga to other cyclists?
I’d certainly recommend Yoga to other cyclists. I’m sure everyone would benefit, in some way, whether it be additional flexibility, building of core strength or learning to focus the mind. If it’s good enough for Bradley Wiggins then it’s good enough for me!