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Thursday, July 19, 2012
Yoga Teacher Training: Cyclists
By Gopi Rao
During Yoga teacher training, many interns daydream about working with athletes, but what about muscular imbalances caused by a sport? The fact is: A Yoga teacher will spend just as much time nurturing students with a musculoskeletal imbalance as he or she will with a couch potato.
Cycling is one of the most popular outdoor sports in the United States. Researchers say it lowers blood pressure and insulin levels, and women who bike frequently may even have a reduced chance of breast cancer.
There are, however, a few uncomfortable side effects of the exercise. Cyclists often lack flexibility and are more often prone to injuries caused by tight muscles. To counteract these issues, many are using Yogic exercise and build core strength as a result.
Not only can cycling be hard on the hips, but tight hamstrings and overly developed quadriceps often lead to misalignment in the lower spine, as well. Cycling demands stamina and determination, especially over tough terrain or for long distances. For hunched-over, aching cyclists intent on reaching their destinations, Yoga is the perfect remedy.
Six Ways Yoga Teachers Can Help Cyclists
• Body Balance
• Core Strength
Five Asanas for Cycling
• Bridge Pose opens the shoulders and stretches the hips and quadriceps. It also opens up the energy channels in the front of the body and improves posture, reversing the rounded back and closed shoulders that result from cycling.
• Triangle Pose helps to balance the SI joint, extends the spine, and makes the hamstrings more flexible. This pose targets muscles in the backs of the legs, an area that suffers repetitive stress when cycling.
• Pigeon Pose stretches the gluteal muscles and opens the hips, preventing injuries and increasing flexibility in the hips and knees.
• Seated-Forward Bends stretch the backs of the legs and strengthen core muscles. This posture makes the hamstrings more supple and can be adjusted to deepen or ease the stretch, as needed.
• Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose helps to eliminate inflammation by elevating the legs and allowing the blood to return to the body’s core. It also helps to calm the nervous system.
Any Yoga pose that stretches the legs, builds core strength, aligns the spine or supports the neck and shoulders can also relieve pain and prevent further damage. While the general practice of Yoga goes far beyond the specific benefits it offers any one group, its ability to enhance the mind-body connection, soothe the psyche, and increase overall well being make it a classic practice that transcends time and sport.
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