Yoga as a Cyclist
As introverted extroverts, both Kurt and I have navigated pandemic life quite successfully ~ until December 2020 when some of our winter coping skills were not accessible (dining out, having good discussions over drinks at a cozy bar, fika-ing to our hearts content, going to art museums, theater and the orchestra for distraction and inspiration, and if we are lucky ~ warm weather travel escapes.). For us the first few months of 2021 will be the hardest part; if you are feeling the same, we hope to be here to offer up some tools and inspiration.
For years we have both practiced yoga (mainly hot yoga during the winter), but it wasn't until the pandemic that we had time to focus on our practice, turning it into a daily priority. (This is the third in our series this winter about mind body health).
In May of 2020, during the pandemic lockdown, we began our yoga practice ~ again. Yoga has been a journey for us, that started long before the pandemic. But our recent return to yoga has us committed to continuing our practice, long after the pandemic has gone.
In May 2020 we started doing yoga at home with Adriene. I had heard about her a year or so before the pandemic and had mentioned her to Kurt. But it wasn't until we were locked in at home that Kurt said he was going to start doing yoga and we started looking for an online yoga instructor that would compliment our cycling practice.
Starting yoga with Adriene felt a bit like coming full circle again. In high school I used to work out at home with Cindy, and began my journey into yoga at home with Rodney. It hadn't occurred to me in all the years since (over 20) that I would be interested in doing yoga at home. I have always enjoyed going to a studio and working through my practice in the supportive presence of others.
I also tried a few specific 'yoga for cyclist' options, but I kept going back to Adriene. [Above: Inge and I doing yoga for cyclists with Rapha].
We have practiced yoga on-and-off since our 20s, but because of time constraints from our jobs, frequent moves, frequent travel, and other interests, it seems like we could never get momentum going on a regular practice. Thank you pandemic for helping us refocus!
In May 2020, we started practicing yoga on Monday & Friday, quickly deciding to move it to 5 days a week. We are currently on a Monday-Thursday schedule, with DeAnn taking her Core-Strength Class on Friday Mornings (which is a whole other post!)
An unexpected benefit of our daily yoga practice is that the dogs love it too! It gives all of us something to look forward to first thing in the morning. Inge typically offers her zen meditation focus from her chair, while Solrig enjoys being part of the practice.
Taking it Outside
Taking our practice to the next level. We started brining our yoga mats along on our camping trips. We have always talked about doing yoga outside, but we have never done it. I suspect part of that is often the lack of privacy in the places we have lived and camped, but in retrospect it's too bad we let that hold us back.
There is nothing more glorious than doing yoga outside in a beautiful setting (well almost nothing, riding gravel bikes of course is the most glorious).
Pictured top: Yoga at Keyhole State Park, WY. Pictured center: Yoga at Flat Tops Wilderness, CO. Pictured Bottom: Yoga at Bighorn National Forest, WY. These are all places we traveled in 2020 to gravel bike; we made sure to incorporate yoga into our time off-the-bike.
As a cyclist, yoga compliments your time off-the bicycle. There are a myriad of benefits for a cyclist who practices yoga (including but not limited to):
- Stretching Muscles to reduce susceptibility to cycling injuries and correct/balance over compensation from being in one position (especially when you have been indoor cycling where you move even less on the bicycle).
- Opening up your hip joints. So important for cyclists!
- Working on Core Strength to provide better balance and efficiency on the bicycle, help reduce injury, and improve climbing.
- Focused breathing aiding in your ability to quiet your mind and body in moments of heightened stress on your bicycle.
- Yoga is a great caffeine-free way to wake up [but come on now... we are cyclist's after all so we love our caffeine too ~ coffee (D) and tea (Kurt) later].
- VERY Positive start to the day. Instead of focusing on anxiety and stress-inducing activities first thing in the morning (IG, the News...), we are here on our mats letting our minds empty so that we can be stronger for our days, and for others.
We have long believed that cycling, like yoga, is a continued practice that evolves and changes over time, that a practice helps you to meditate finding clarity in your mind, and that a good practice allows you to see the benefits of commitment over time (i.e. things that seemed SO hard in the beginning, all of the 'sudden' one day you realize you are better at and/or have begun to master). Additionally, the benefits of a practice (cycling and/or yoga, or whatever you do) enhance your ability to work through challenges at work, and in your life. A practice gives you a toolbox you can rely on accessing when you need it.
Namaste ~ DeAnn & Kurt
Our Weekly Schedule of Yoga with Adriene can be found here.